A scientist from Queen’s University Belfast has been named as the 2012 GlaxoSmithKline Emerging Scientist.
Dr Ryan Donnelly’s research on microneedle-based systems for drug delivery — without causing pain or bleeding — beat competition from around the world to scoop the award.
The accolade is presented annually to scientists from across the globe who have demonstrated a substantial advancement in the application of scientific knowledge within the pharmaceutical sciences through published work over the last five years.
Dr Donnelly’s work could be particularly important in enhancing medical care for premature babies by administering pain-free care.
Speaking about his research, Dr Donnelly said: “If you look at a microneedle patch with the naked eye, you can see that it is slightly rough. If you run your finger across it, it feels like |Velcro. However, when properly applied, the microneedles puncture the outer layer of the skin without causing pain or bleeding.
“These tiny needles then swell, allowing controlled administration of even large medicines like insulin, as well as vaccines. Skin fluid can also be collected and we believe that analysis of this fluid will enable frequent, accurate, pain-free monitoring of the levels of medicines in the body.”