Group Profile

Our research focuses on polymeric materials, organic nanotechnologies and nanomedicine.

We aim to develop novel technologies that address real-world industrial challenges and unmet clinical needs. Through a mixture of fundamental studies and the application of new science, the group creates new understanding, develops new materials and investigates applications across a diverse range of scale-able end-uses. Our therapeutic studies specifically target improved drug delivery and dose optimisation for infectious diseases. New materials chemistry developed in the group has led to start-up/spin-out companies, engagement with global charities/multi-national companies and human trials of the world's first oral nanomedicines for HIV .

Our polymer synthesis techniques include: conventional free radical polymerisation, ambient anionic polymerisation, step-growth polymerisation, ring opening polymerisation, controlled radical polymerisation (ATRP, RAFT), and various new branched vinyl copolymerisations. Materials introduced through our research include new complex polymer architectures (eg new dendrimers, branched copolymer emulsifiers, hyperbranched-polydendrons) and organic nanoparticle dispersions. Our colloidal science includes novel emulsions, nanoprecipitations, organic nanoparticles and active/triggered particles. These are enabled by novel liquid manipulation/ processing, emulsion templated freeze drying, emulsion spray drying and the new materials developed during our synthetic activities. 

We have three themes that interact across the group:

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Selected recent publications

Semi-solid prodrug nanoparticles for long-acting delivery of water-soluble antiretroviral drugs within combination HIV therapies
J J Hobson, A Al-khouja,  P Curley,  D Meyers,  C Flexner, M Siccardi, A Owen, C Freel Meyers,  S P Rannard, Nature Commun.,  2019, 10, 1​413

Expanding the monomer scope of linear and branched vinyl polymerisations via copper-catalysed reversible-deactivation radical polymerisation of hydrophobic methacrylates using anhydrous alcohol solvents.

S Flynn, A B Dwyer, P Chambon, S Rannard Polymer Chem. 2019, 10, 5103 - 5115

Long-acting injectable atovaquone nanomedicines for malaria prophylaxis.

R. P. Bakshi, L. Tatham, A. C. Savage, A. K. Tripathi, G. Mlambo, M. M. Ippolito, E. Nenortas, S. P. Rannard, A. Owen, T. A. Shapiro, Nature Commun., 2018, 9, 315

Accelerated oral nanomedicine discovery from miniaturised screening to clinical production exemplified by paediatric HIV nanotherapies

M. Giardiello, N. J. Liptrott, T. O. McDonald, D. Moss, M. Siccardi, P. Martin, D. Smith, R. Gurjar, S. P. Rannard and A. Owen Nat. Commun. 2016, 7, 13184