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M.Sc./Postgraduate Diploma in Pharmaceutical Sciences

Course Code: DPTPH-PANA-2F09
Duration: One year, Full-time
Closing Date: 28 June 2024
Next Intake: September 2024
Application: Applications for this course should be made online through this link
Course Coordinators: Dr. Maria Jose Santos-Martinez and Dr. Eduardo Ruiz-Hernandez
Email: Eduardo Ruiz-Hermandez
Graduate Studies Homepage: Graduate Studies Office

The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Trinity is the leading research School of Pharmacy in Ireland. This M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences programme is the only such degree offered in Ireland by a specialist School of Pharmacy centre.

Contributing Principal Investigators in the School have outstanding track records in basic pharmaceutical sciences but they are also widely involved in industrial and commercial activities, in consultancy and in product development. Successful university spin outs from the School include Solvotrin Therapeutics Ltd. ( and Trino Therapeutics Ltd. ( They also actively contribute to the recently established and Science Foundation Ireland co-funded Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceuticals Centre (

The M.Sc./ Pharmaceutical Sciences is an integrated multidisciplinary programme addressing fundamental and applied aspects of drug and drug product discovery, regulation, development, production and analysis with particular emphasis on the regulatory environment in which the Pharmaceutical Industry operates. The objective of the programme is to equip science graduates with knowledge and skills in the pharmaceutical sciences. It will help prepare candidates for careers in pharmaceutical research relevant to academic and manufacturing sectors. It is also expected that the course will help to stimulate interest in the pharmaceutical sciences and associated product and service innovation opportunities. The course was established in 1999 in consultation with stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry. Its graduates have enjoyed successful careers in manufacturing, in R&D and in regulatory affairs.

Excellence in Teaching and Learning

The M.Sc./Diploma in Pharmaceutical Sciences is delivered by highly experienced academics from the leading School of Pharmacy in Ireland and is supported by a panel of visiting lecturers from other academic institutions, pharmaceutical industry and regulatory bodies. The programme consists of 10 compulsory taught modules and, for the M.Sc. degree, a research dissertation.

Regulatory Aspects and Industrial Pharmacy - Prof. John Gilmer
This module deals with the organization of a pharmaceutical manufacturing site, the quality regime for pharmaceutical production and its regulation, professional roles within the pharmaceutical business and how the context in which pharmaceutical product and service innovation takes place.  

Natural Product Analysis and Regulation - Assoc. Prof. Fabio Boylan
This module introduces natural products (analysis and regulation) and their importance in pharmaceutical sciences.

Spectroscopic Methods for Drug Analysis - Assoc. Prof. Astrid Sasse
This module is concerned with the theory and applications of spectroscopic methods to pharmaceutical analysis including drug product qualification and drug discovery and development.

Molecular Pharmaceutics and Advanced Drug Delivery - Assoc. Prof. Lidia Tajber
This module is concerned with advanced drug delivery, with factors influencing drug absorption and distribution and related in vitro methods for predicting and explaining drug absorption from the intestinal tract.

Biopharmaceutical Sciences - Prof. John Gilmer & Assoc. Prof. Carlos Medina
This module is concerned with the properties of biopharmaceuticals, their stability issues, methods of characterisations and analytical aspects, biosimilar products as well as formulation and secondary processing of large therapeutic molecules.   

Pharmaceutical and Medical Nanotechnology - Assoc. Prof. Maria Jose Santos-Martinez
This module deals with the potential applications of nanotechnology to the practice of medicine (diagnosis, treatment and follow up of human disease), the relevance of toxicological studies related to the use/exposure of nanomaterials and Regulatory Policies of nanomaterials.

Drug Discovery and Development - Assoc. Prof. Carlos Medina
This module provides an overview of the drug discovery and development process and a detailed knowledge of the principles and concepts of pharmacology.

Biotechnology - Prof. Lorraine O’Driscoll
This module covers the characteristics of gene structure and expression, gene products and their properties, genetic engineering, and methods of upstream and downstream processes in biotechnological manufacturing.

Formulation Development and Evaluation - Assoc. Prof. Lidia Tajber
This module provides knowledge and understanding of present physical methods used in preformulation as well as formulation and processing of liquid, semi-solid and solid pharmaceutical preparations.

Professional Skills in Pharmaceutical Sciences - Asst. Prof. Niamh O'Boyle
This module is concerned with the practice and development of competencies in laboratory techniques, research skills, statistical methods, analytical validation and effective communication in the pharmaceutical sciences in preparation for a career in the industry.

Entry Requirements and International Students

Applicants are accepted, subject to the availability of places (18 places are offered each year), from holders of honors degrees in a relevant Science discipline e.g. Pharmacy, Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Pharmacology. Equivalent primary and/or postgraduate qualifications are considered, particularly with relevant professional experience. Applications will be evaluated by the Course Coordinators in consultation with the Course Committee and Dean of Graduate Studies as appropriate.

Only complete applications (CV, full academic transcript, two references and at least one of these must be academic, English Language Competency) will be reviewed. We welcome applications from international students (

Class of 2023

Fees and Applications

Applicants should consult the current Postgraduate Prospectus of Trinity College Dublin for information on fees.
Prospective applicants are invited to discuss their intentions with the course coordinators: Dr Maria Jose Santos-Martinez ( & Dr Eduardo Ruiz-Hernandez ( before submitting their application, further details can be supplied at this time.

Contributor Biographies

Prof. John Gilmer is a professor in pharmaceutical chemistry in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the current Head of the School. John completed his PhD in molecular recognition in 1995. He moved into commercial pharmaceutical R&D and from there in 1998 to a lectureship position in TCD. John has a wide range of interests in drug development including drug targeting and bile acid medicinal chemistry. John has numerous patent filings and has published widely in pharmaceutical sciences. He is a cofounder of Solvotrin Therapeutics which is developing new prodrug and related delivery technologies. John leads the module on regulatory affairs and industrial pharmacy.

Asst. Prof. Niamh O’Boyle, MPSI, is a qualified pharmacist and holds a PhD degree from TCD. She subsequently was awarded a postdoctoral scholarship at University of Göteborg in Sweden to investigate the allergenic activity of epoxides and epoxy resins and then was awarded a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of Biochemistry & Immunology, TCD, working on ‘Cancer, Tubulin and Free Radicals: New Therapy’. Following a period as assistant lecturer at the School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Dublin Institute of Technology, she was appointed as Assistant Professor in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 2017.

Prof. Lorraine O’Driscoll FTCD FRSB MRIA, holds a B.Sc. (Hons.), Pharmacology; M.Sc., Clinical Pharmacology; Ph.D., Biotechnology. Lorraine gained postdoctoral experience in the University of Miami and Harvard University and managed biotechnology/biomedical research studies for industry (incl MedaNova Ltd.; Berlex, San Francisco; Archport Ltd./Diosynth, the Netherlands) before returning to academia. Lorraine leads two EU Commission funded research Consortia on biomedicine; is P.I. on 5 cancer clinical trials; holds a number of patents & disclosures and has developing and delivering tailored lecture & practical courses for academia (e.g. FEBS), semi-state bodies (e.g. IDA) and industry (e.g. Wyeth, Warner-Lambert, Elan, Roche). She is Research Lead of Trinity St. James’s Cancer Institute (an OECI accredited Cancer Centre); she sits on the Steering Committee of the All-Island Cancer Research Initiative (AICRI); the Scientific Advisory Board of Midatech, UK; and EVLifeCycle, The Netherland; Lorraine is European Representative on the Board of Directors on ISEV.

Dr. Lidia Tajber is a pharmacist by qualification, holds a PhD in Pharmaceutics from TCD and is Associate Professor in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology. Prior to her appointment as lecturer in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology in 2007, she completed postdoctoral studies on the use of spray drying in the production of nanoporpus microparticles. She is currently involved in the SFI Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceuticals Centre and COST Action “Mechanochemistry for Sustainable Industry” and an H2020 RISE project “ORBIS”. Her research topics include preformulation studies with a focus on characterisation of amorphous, polymorphic, salt and cocrystalline forms, supersaturable drug forms, mechanochemical synthesis and anticrystal engineering (pharmaceutical ionic liquids).

Assoc. Prof. Martin Henman, BPharm, MA, PhD, MPSI., is Associate Professor of the Practice of Pharmacy and co-ordinator of the Centre for the Practice of Pharmacy in the School. He is examining medication use in TILDA - The Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing and also medicines use and standards in people with intellectual disability. In 2006, he received a Provost’s Teaching Award for the excellence of his teaching and contribution to learning in Trinity College. Dr Henman is a founder member of the research group, Pharmaceutical Care Network Europe and is a consultant to the Council of Europe, identifying and developing indicators of pharmaceutical practice.

Assoc. Prof. Astrid Sasse is a certified pharmacist who obtained her PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Analysis from the Free University Berlin, Germany. She conducted post-doctoral studies funded by a Marie-Curie Fellowship (FP5) at INSERM in Paris, France on the identification of a human histamine H3 receptor subtype and genetic linkage of SNPs on histamine H3 and H4 receptors to schizophrenia. As a senior staff scientist at the Max-Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Goettingen, Germany she determined corticotropin-releasing factor receptor binding by ex vivo autoradiography, before joining the International Centre for Neurotherapeutics (ICNT) at DCU in 2004 where she was involved in the development of neurotoxins derived from botulinum toxin by protein engineering methods. In October 2008, she was appointed as Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at TCD. Dr. Sasse’s background provides her with expertise in many areas of Pharmaceutical Sciences, such as a vast knowledge of Organic Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Analysis, Spectroscopy (UV-VIS, FT-IT, NMR, EI-MS), Molecular Biology, Receptor Binding Studies, Functional Assays as well as Protein Engineering and Analysis.

Assoc. Prof. John J. Walsh has particular expertise in the areas of natural product biosynthesis, isolation and analysis of herbal medicinal preparations. He is also actively engaged in the design, synthesis, characterisation and evaluation of potential novel therapies for the treatment of malaria, cancer and allergic conditions. Funding for his research has been secured from Enterprise Ireland, Cancer Research Ireland, the Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology and the Higher Education Authority. He has supervised multiple PhD and MSc students to completion and employs a multidisciplinary approach to his research and teaching straddling both the chemical and biological sciences.

Assoc. Prof. Carlos Medina is a gastroenterologist and his research interest is focused on molecular biology of different gastrointestinal disorders, particularly inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). His primary research objective is the identification and characterisation of different molecular targets involved in IBD. The secondary research objective is to design new effective therapeutic strategies for IBD. He is also interested in novel nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems relevant to the therapy of IBD.

Prof. Carsten Ehrhardt graduated with a degree in Pharmacy from the University of Hamburg, and he received his Ph.D. in Biopharmaceutics from Saarland University. He holds visiting professorships at the University of Southern California and the University Claude Bernard Lyon. His research investigates transport mechanisms at the respiratory epithelial barrier and also includes the development of advanced drug delivery systems for pulmonary administration.

Assoc. Prof. Maria Santos-Martinez is a Spanish medical doctor, specialist in Respiratory Medicine. She started her training as basic researcher in Houston-Texas (USA) in 2004. In 2006 she moved to TCD and defended her PhD in 2009. She has been an Assistant Professor (Ussher) in Nanopharmaceutical Drug Discovery from 2010. Her research interests are focused on platelet biology, cancer, nanotoxicology (particularly on nanoparticle-cell and nanoparticle-platelet interactions) and applications of nanotechnology to study the interactions of nanoparticles developed for drug delivery with their targets and the potential barriers that they have to overcome to exert their action.

Assoc. Prof. Eduardo Ruiz-Hernandez is an Associate Professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Principal Investigator in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI), awarded a prestigious Starting ERC in the field of tumor nanodiagnostics. With more than 15 years’ experience in the research of advanced biomaterials for the diagnosis and treatment of several diseases (mainly cancer), he has participated in 26 highly multi-disciplinary collaborative projects funded by a variety of sources (EU FP6/FP7/H2020, BBSRC, Science Foundation Ireland, CTMM The Netherlands, CIBER-BBN) across 7 countries in diverse scientific fields including Nanomedicine, materials chemistry, drug/gene delivery and tissue engineering. In recent work, the research group investigated the properties of stimuli-responsive nanosystems with applications in advanced drug delivery and biosensing (eg. rapid detection of viral diseases).

Assoc. Prof. Fabio Boylan, Associate Professor in Pharmacognosy, is a pharmacist with particular interest in the areas of ethnopharmacology (encompassing natural product isolation and analysis of herbal medicinal preparations and the validation of their pharmacological activities) and chemotaxonomic analysis. Transdisciplinarity is applied to his approach to teaching and researching. Dr. Boylan is closely engaged in Global initiatives in the area of pharmacognosy having current projects running in conjunction with institutions in Brazil, Serbia, Kazakhstan, among others. Several MSc. And Ph.D. students from those countries as well as Ireland were supervised by Dr. Boylan to completion.