The School of Pharmacy Facilities
Facilities, include purpose-built practice and medicines management suites, plus access to iSED, our online objective, skills and diagnostic development tool; created here at DMU. Students have hands on experience in our well-equipped specialist organic and analytical chemistry (HPLC, GC, FTIR, UV/ fluorescence spectroscopy, atomic absorption spectroscopy), sterile products manufacture (training clean room and changing facility with fully commissioned isolators), microbiology, pharmaceutics and pharmacology laboratories.
Pharmacy practice and medicines management suites
Pharmacists have a large role in consultation, negotiation and public health integration.
These skills are taught in our four practice areas which all have CCTV so live consultations can be viewed and feedback can be offered. We also use iSED and an iPad based system to provide individual feedback to students on their counselling skills. During role play practice sessions and examinations (OSCEs) you will carry out tasks that might include:
- explaining to a patient how to use their eye drops or inhaler
- Responding to symptoms - taking a patient history and deciding if someone needs to be referred to their GP for treatment or if they can be supplied an over the counter product instead
- Advice about stopping smoking or weight management
During law and ethics sessions you will use Turning Point (a ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ style voting system) to discuss and debate issues in an anonymous, safe and supportive environment.
Our practice suites are also used for:
Dispensing - learning how to label and dispense medicines and what extra checks and value added advice can be given in different circumstances.
Medicines use reviews - consultations to review how a patient is taking their medicine and discuss side effects.
The organic chemistry lab is used for pharmaceutical chemistry and natural product chemistry classes.
In year 1 you will look at analysing medicines for instance, determining the amount of iron in ferrous sulphate tablets and relating this to treating anaemia.
You will also synthesise and purify a possible drug molecule. This will give you experience in organic chemistry techniques and give you the opportunity to observe reactions discussed in lectures.
In third year you will have practical sessions where you will see how drugs can be identified and extracted from plants.
Some final year project students work in this lab making possible new drugs especially drugs which might have anti-cancer or antimicrobial activity.
Compounding is the formulation of drugs into a form that can be taken, absorbed and excreted by the patient. It is important that students can understand the processes involved and hands on experience is provided in a number of specialist laboratories.
Examples of the importance of compounding include: paracetamol tablets for adults (don’t disintegrate before use, easy to swallow), Calpol paracetamol suspension for children (masking the bitter taste to make it palatable, making sure the suspension delivers the same dose of paracetamol at the start of the bottle as at the end).
Students have hands on experience in the laboratory of a wide variety of analytical techniques that are used testing medicines to ensure a medicine contains the right amount and type of drugs.
HPLC - analysis of commercial Anadin tablets looking at the % accuracy of the aspirin and caffeine content.
Gas chromatography - Unknown vapour rub formulation given to students, have to determine how much of it is salicylates against a calibration curve.
FTIR – determine which bonds are present in a compound and use this information to identify the drug. Could be used to identify counterfeit medicines.
Atomic absorption - Look for pure elements (zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium) in an eye preparation.
Sterile products/ microbiology
Pharmacists need an understanding of infectious disease and how to prevent it. This includes learning about a range of infections and what treatments can be given to patients. Students also learn about preventing infections during manufacture and how to produce sterile products, that are given intravenously or via the eye.
Practicals include how to identify an unknown bacteria in a patient sample (upstairs in microbiology) In this suite students learn how to safely add drugs to an infusion bag, make up a syringe driver for a patient in chronic pain and how to make a bottle of eye drops. The suite is a clean room training environment with fully functional isolators that mimic facilities in hospitals and industry that are managed by pharmacists.
Pharmacists need to know about human physiology - how does the body work and what changes can happen due to disease (e.g. arthritis or cancer). Pharmacology give an understanding how drugs work in the body and their action of different body systems.
It is vital that pharmacists are able to understand and communicate this knowledge to a wide range of people (patients, other pharmacists and healthcare professionals). Students learn how and why drugs work on the body.
Examples of practicals include:
- Electro cardio gram (ECG), how the heart is controlled by electrical impulses.
- Lung function tests – large numbers of asthmatic patients, help them to understand and control their condition, e.g. how to use an inhaler correctly.
Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science (BSc)
This intensive and comprehensive course provides you with hands on as well as theoretical knowledge of the specialised and advanced skills and techniques required for the design, formulation, manufacture, quality assurance, regulatory activities and marketing of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. You will be introduced to the principles behind the formulation of medicines in our pharmaceutics laboratories providing customised environments for solid, semi-solid and liquid dosage forms. Other specialist laboratories include analytical chemistry (HPLC, GC, FTIR, UV/ fluorescence spectroscopy, atomic absorption spectroscopy), organic chemistry and sterile products manufacture (training clean room and changing facility with fully commissioned isolators).
Pharmaceutical Formulation and Manufacturing
Pharmaceutical and cosmetic scientists need to understand drug's physical, chemical, and mechanical properties to design medicines and personal care products. Our laboratories are designed to support students in their learning to develop these skills for careers within industrial research and design, laboratories and manufacturing, regulatory affairs and technical sales etc.
We introduce the fundamentals of how medicines are manufactured with a series of compounding laboratories. Compounding is the formulation of drugs into a form, including liquid, solid, and semisolid dosage forms, that can be taken, absorbed and excreted by the patient. It is important that students can understand the processes involved and a hand on experience is provided in a number of specialist laboratories. Our pharmaceutical manufacturing laboratories are equipped with a range of blenders, granulators, capsule manufacturing stations and both single and rotary tablet presses.
Examples of the importance of formulation include: paracetamol tablets for adults (don’t disintegrate before use, easy to swallow), Capol paracetamol suspension for children (masking the bitter taste to make it palatable, making sure the suspension delivers the same dose of paracetamol at the start of the bottle as at the end). Both contain the same drug, but are produced as very different medicines for different patients. Cosmetic product examples include lipstick, mascara and a range of different moisturising products.
We also have advanced process analytical technologies to look at “continuous powder flow” processes for developing new process control strategies.
Sterile products/ microbiology
Developers of drugs and cosmetics need an understanding of infectious disease and how to prevent it. This includes learning about a range of infections and what treatments can be given to patients. Students also learn about preventing infections during manufacture and how to produce sterile products, that are given intravenously or via the eye.
Practical’s include how to identify an unknown bacteria in a patient sample (upstairs in microbiology) In this suite students learn how to safely add drugs to an infusion bag, make up a syringe driver for a patient in chronic pain and how to make a bottle of eye drops. The suite is a clean room training environment with fully functional isolators that mimic facilities in industry.
Students have hands on experience in the laboratory of a wide variety of analytical techniques that are used to design, qualify and test medicines and cosmetic products. Laboratory scientist to ensure a medicine or cosmetic contains the right amount and type of drugs and/or ingredients.
HPLC - A technique used to separate, identify, and quantify active ingredients and inactive components (excipients) in drugs and cosmetics.
Gas chromatography - Analysis of drugs delivered as vapours i.e. asthma. Cosmetic products relay often of fragrance so this technique is used to analyse perfumes and oils.
FTIR - determine fundamental molecular vibrations of a compound and use this information to identify the drug. This technique, and others, can be used to identify counterfeit medicines and cosmetics.
Atomic absorption - Look for pure elements (zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium) in an eye preparation. The technique can also identify poisonous heavy metal contamination in cosmetics and drugs i.e., cadmium, lead and arsenic.
Many of the techniques described above culminate in the final year where students undertake an individual project, under the supervision of an academic member of staff. These techniques are also fundamental to students who successfully apply for a placement at the end of their second year. This placement opportunity in our course gives students twelve months in a company, organised by our dedicated placements unit and placement tutor. During the placements the students receive a wage form the company and pay a much reduced tuition fee to the university.
Forensic Science (BSc)
Our facilities include a Physical evidence/criminalistics laboratory which is equipped with specialist items for microscopy including a comparison macroscope and comparison microscopes, polarising light microscopes and other specialised microscopes with digital image capture capability, equipment for document analysis such as a video-spectral comparator (VSC), a Raman spectrometer, and electrostatic detection apparatus (ESDA) and chemical enhancement of fingermarks including a superglue fuming chamber.
This laboratory is used throughout the course to teach and practice the analysis of a wide range of physical evidence types from documents through to firearms, fibres and fingerprints.
Our forensic biology equipment includes capillary electrophoresis, real-time PCR, PCR and gel electrophoresis and imaging systems for documentation and analysis of DNA evidence. Again these pieces of equipment will be used throughout the duration of the course to analyse DNA evidence which forms a major part of the material covered by the course. The forensic biology practical classes also cover a range of other relevant evidence/analyses such as anatomy, forensic anthropology, blood pattern analysis, hairs and fibres and immunology.
Forensic science students also spend considerable time in our analytical chemistry laboratory equipped with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography (GC), infra-red spectrometry (FT-IR), atomic absorption spectroscopy (AA), UV-vis spectrophotometers and other specialised equipment. The main emphasis of the work in this lab is on the identification of unknown substances by separation of components by chromatography and identification of those components, effectively generating a molecular fingerprint. This might be of such diverse evidence types as drugs, soils, accelerants or counterfeit products.
There are also opportunities to use more advanced equipment, such as our scanning electron microscope or NMR, when you conduct your independent project module in the final year.
As well as these excellent lab facilities we have a well-equipped crime scene house which is a terraced house on the edge of the University campus where you will have opportunities throughout your degree to undergo realistic training in crime scene processing and evidence recovery; procedure vital to the whole of forensic science. The crime house permits us to challenge students with a wide range of scenarios covering volume and serious crime and we also have a car for investigating vehicle crime.
Quality by design for the Pharmaceutical Industry (MSc)
In recent years, De Montfort University (DMU) has launched an innovative partnership with leading industrial companies, many of whom have contributed directly to our courses. We work with a multi-disciplinary team with a fully integrated approach.
Students have access to our continuous pharmaceutical development lab that has been supported by industrial partners such as GSK, AZ, Pfizer, BMS, BASF, Ashland, UMETRICS, JMP, Leistritz, Colvistec.
Continuous manufacturing using quality by Design approach is the future of the pharmaceutical industry. Our students also work in the other pharmaceutics laboratories designing, testing and manufacturing their own solid and liquid dosage formulations.
Our MSc concentrates on Quality by Design: "a systematic approach to development that begins with pre-defined objectives, emphasises product, process understanding and process control, based on sound science and quality risk management."
It is a holistic approach to pharmaceutical product development intended to modernise pharmaceutical manufacture.
Pharmaceutical Biotechnology MSc
With a high practical content, the course reviews the process from start to finish (from pre-clinical studies, to clinic, through to marketing), preparing you for work in an industrial or academic setting and giving you an opportunity to gain employment in the global biopharmaceutical field.
- Benefit from a combination of unique academic expertise across three faculties: Health and Life Sciences, Technology, and Business and Law. This enables you to share one core module with students on a Master of Business Administration (MBA), broadening understanding around the importance of business in this area
- Our reputation of more than 104 years’ pharmacy teaching ensures we produce graduates of the highest calibre
“I came to DMU because the facilities here are excellent and it offered me the opportunity to learn about these therapies and will help me achieve my dream of developing new technologies and innovations that could influence governmental regulations and healthcare systems back home. ”
T Karikari, PhD student
“The course was designed in such way that it is suitable not only for fresh undergraduates but also experienced working people like me. All laboratories were equipped with latest equipment which enables students to learn and apply new technology in field of biopharmaceuticals. I would definitely choose DMU again because of the dedicated lecturers”
I Krishnan, Biotech Manager
Clinical Skills and Medicines Management Suites
Pharmacists on our Postgraduate Courses are practising pharmacists working in various patient facing roles such as Pharmacists in General Practice, Primary Care Pharmacists, Mental Health, Prison, Secondary Care and Community Pharmacy.
In our clinical skills and medicines management suites, they have access to simulated patients and a wide range of facilities to practice their diagnostic, near patient testing skills such as blood pressure monitoring, peak flow measurements, blood sugar testing to name just a few, and consultation skills.
Here they can practice their diagnostic and consultation skills in a variety of different situations.
Consultations are also recorded in these suites so that they can be reviewed and feedback offered.
These suites are also used for examination purposes during OSCEs.