Professor Mingzhong Li

Job: Professor of Crystal Engineering & Drug Delivery

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: Leicester School of Pharmacy

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 257 7132

E: mli@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/pharmacy

 

Personal profile

Prof Li's research is focused on solving key challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry for improvements in production quality and reduction in manufacturing costs through utilising cutting edge analytical techniques to explore optimal formulations starting from a molecular level characterisation and up to bulk properties of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and excipients and application of real time process analysis techniques for process monitoring and control.

Prof Li's current research areas include using co-crystallisation approach to modification of APIs’ physical and chemical properties, development of online particle sizing techniques for control of crystallisation processes and development of online process models for control of fluidised bed granulation processes.

Research group affiliations

Pharmaceutical technologies group.

Publications and outputs 

  • Investigating Permeation Behavior of Flufenamic Acid Cocrystals Using a Dissolution and Permeation System
    Investigating Permeation Behavior of Flufenamic Acid Cocrystals Using a Dissolution and Permeation System Guo, Minshan; Wang, Ke; Qiao, Ning; Yardley, Vanessa; Li, M. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Insight into Flufenamic Acid Cocrystal Dissolution in the Presence of a Polymer in Solution: from Single Crystal to Powder Dissolution
    Insight into Flufenamic Acid Cocrystal Dissolution in the Presence of a Polymer in Solution: from Single Crystal to Powder Dissolution Guo, Minshan; Wang, Ke; Qiao, Ning; Fabian, Laszlo; Sadiq, Ghazala; Li, M. Effects of three polymers, polyethylene glycol (PEG), polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), and copolymer of vinylpyrrolidone/vinyl acetate (PVP-VA), on the dissolution behavior of the cocrystals of flufenamic acid with theophylline (FFA-TP CO) and nicotinamide (FFA-NIC CO) were investigated at multiple length scales. At the molecular level, the interactions of crystal surfaces with a polymer were analyzed by observing etching pattern changes using atomic force microscopy. At the macroscopic scale, dissolution rates of particular faces of a single crystal were determined by measurement of the physical retreat velocities of the faces using optical light microscopy. In the bulk experiments, the FFA concentration in a dissolution medium in the absence or presence of a polymer was measured under both sink and nonsink conditions. It has been found that the dissolution mechanisms of FFA-TP CO are controlled by the defect sites of the crystal surface and by precipitation of the parent drug FFA as individual crystals in the bulk fluid. In contrast, the dissolution mechanisms of FFA-NIC CO are controlled by surface layer removal and by a surface precipitation mechanism, where the parent drug FFA precipitates directly onto the surface of the dissolving cocrystals. Through controlling the dissolution environment by predissolving a polymer, PVP or PVP-VA, which can interact with the crystal surface to alter its dissolution properties, improved solubility, and dissolution rates of FFA-TP CO and FFA-NIC CO have been demonstrated. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Investigating the Effects of Loading Factors on the In Vitro Pharmaceutical Performance of Mesoporous Materials as Drug Carriers for Ibuprofen
    Investigating the Effects of Loading Factors on the In Vitro Pharmaceutical Performance of Mesoporous Materials as Drug Carriers for Ibuprofen Lai, Junmin; Lin, Wu; Scholes, Peter; Li, M. The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of the loading factors, i.e., the initial drug loading concentration and the ratio of the drug to carriers, on the in vitro pharmaceutical performance of drug-loaded mesoporous systems. Ibuprofen (IBU) was used as a model drug, and two non-ordered mesoporous materials of commercial silica Syloid® 244FP (S244FP) and Neusilin® US2 (NS2) were selected in the study. The IBU-loaded mesoporous samples were prepared by a solvent immersion method with a rotary evaporation drying technique and characterized by polarized light microscopy (PLM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Dissolution experiments were performed in simulated gastric media at 37 °C under non-sink conditions. The concentration of IBU in solution was determined by HPLC. The study showed that the dissolution rate of IBU can be improved significantly using the mesoporous S224FP carriers due to the conversion of crystalline IBU into the amorphous form. Both of the loading factors affected the IBU dissolution kinetics. Due to the molecular interaction between the IBU and NS2 carriers, the loading factors had little effects on the drug release kinetics with incomplete drug desorption recovery and insignificant dissolution enhancement. Care and extensive evaluation must therefore be taken when mesoporous materials are chosen as carrier delivery systems Open Access article
  • Three-Dimensional Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Study of the Gas-Particle Circulation Pattern Within a Fluidized Bed Granulator: By Full-Factorial Design of Fluidization Velocity and Particle Size
    Three-Dimensional Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Study of the Gas-Particle Circulation Pattern Within a Fluidized Bed Granulator: By Full-Factorial Design of Fluidization Velocity and Particle Size Liu, Huolong; Yoon, S.; Li, M. This is the authors accepted manuscript
  • Investigating the Influence of Polymers on Supersaturated Flufenamic Acid Cocrystal Solutions
    Investigating the Influence of Polymers on Supersaturated Flufenamic Acid Cocrystal Solutions Guo, Minshan; Wang, Ke; Hamill, Noel Anthony; Lorimer, Keith; Li, M. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Role of polymers in solution and tablet-based carbamazepine cocrystal formulations
    Role of polymers in solution and tablet-based carbamazepine cocrystal formulations Qiu, Shi; Lai, Jumin; Guo, Minshan; Wang, Ke; Lai, Xiaojun; Desai, Unmesh; Juma, Nazmin; Li, M.
  • Comparison of USP Paddle and Flow-Through Cell Dissolution Methods for Testing Ketoprofen and Acetaminophen from Fixed-Dose Combination Formulations
    Comparison of USP Paddle and Flow-Through Cell Dissolution Methods for Testing Ketoprofen and Acetaminophen from Fixed-Dose Combination Formulations Medina, Raul; Garcia, Claude A.; Hurtado, Marcela; Li, M.; Dominguez-Ramirez, A. M.
  • Simultaneous Rapid Determination of the Solubility and Diffusion Coefficients of a Poorly Water-Soluble Drug Based on a Novel UV Imaging System
    Simultaneous Rapid Determination of the Solubility and Diffusion Coefficients of a Poorly Water-Soluble Drug Based on a Novel UV Imaging System Lu, Yan; Li, M. The solubility and diffusion coefficient are two of the most important physicochemical properties of a drug compound. In practice, both have been measured separately, which is time consuming. This work utilizes a novel technique of UV imaging to determine the solubility and diffusion coefficients of poorly water-soluble drugs simultaneously. A 2-step optimal method is proposed to determine the solubility and diffusion coefficients of a poorly water-soluble pharmaceutical substance based on the Fick's second law of diffusion and UV imaging measurements. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method can be used to determine the solubility and diffusion coefficients of a drug with reasonable accuracy, indicating that UV imaging may provide a new opportunity to accurately measure the solubility and diffusion coefficients of a poorly water-soluble drug simultaneously and rapidly.
  • Iterative identification of output error model for industrial processes with time delay subject to colored noise
    Iterative identification of output error model for industrial processes with time delay subject to colored noise Dong, Shijian; Liu, Tao; Li, M.; Cao, Yi To deal with colored noise and unexpected load disturbance in identification of industrial processes with time delay, a bias-eliminated iterative least-squares (ILS) identification method is proposed in this paper to estimate the output error model parameters and time delay simultaneously. An extended observation vector is constructed to establish an ILS identification algorithm. Moreover, a variable forgetting factor is introduced to enhance the convergence rate of parameter estimation. For consistent estimation, an instrumental variable method is given to deal with the colored noise. The convergence and upper bound error of parameter estimation are analyzed. Two illustrative examples are used to show the effectiveness and merits of the proposed method.
  • Bi-goal evolution for many-objective optimization problems
    Bi-goal evolution for many-objective optimization problems Li, M.; Yang, Shengxiang; Liu, Xiaohui This paper presents a meta-objective optimization approach, called Bi-Goal Evolution (BiGE), to deal with multi-objective optimization problems with many objectives. In multi-objective optimization, it is generally observed that 1) the conflict between the proximity and diversity requirements is aggravated with the increase of the number of objectives and 2) the Pareto dominance loses its effectiveness for a high-dimensional space but works well on a low-dimensional space. Inspired by these two observations, BiGE converts a given multi-objective optimization problem into a bi-goal (objective) optimization problem regarding proximity and diversity, and then handles it using the Pareto dominance relation in this bi-goal domain. Implemented with estimation methods of individuals' performance and the classic Pareto nondominated sorting procedure, BiGE divides individuals into different nondominated layers and attempts to put well-converged and well-distributed individuals into the first few layers. From a series of extensive experiments on four groups of well-defined continuous and combinatorial optimization problems with 5, 10 and 15 objectives, BiGE has been found to be very competitive against five state-of-the-art algorithms in balancing proximity and diversity. The proposed approach is the first step towards a new way of addressing many-objective problems as well as indicating several important issues for future development of this type of algorithms. This article is available via Open Access on the publisher's website.

Click here for a full listing of Mingzhong Li's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Pharmaceutical co-crystallisation
  • Granulation processes modelling; control and
    optimisation
  • Pre-formation development: in vitro dissolution and stability tests,
    computer simulation of in vitro dissolution test
  • Crystallisation/Co-crystallisation
  • Particle sizing
  • In vitro dissolution tests
  • Process modelling, control and optimisation
  • Multiphase flow modelling and computation.

Areas of teaching

  • Formulation
  • Analytical techniques
  • Chemometrics
  • Process technology.

Qualifications

  • PhD
  • MSc
  • BSc.

Courses taught

  • Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science
  • MSc Pharmaceutical Quality by Design.

Membership of external committees

  • Committee member, British Association for Crystal Growth
  • Particle technology subject group in Institution of Chemical Engineers

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • British Association for Crystal Growth
  • Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Great Britain

Forthcoming events

  • A member of Conference Committee of “The 47th British Association for Crystal Growth annual conference, 27-29 June 2016, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • A member of Conference Committee of “The 46th British Association for Crystal Growth annual conference, 21-23 June 2015, Queen Mary, London UK
  • Chair on “Surface Dissolution Imaging Symposium”, De Montfort University, 12-13 June, 2012.

Conference attendance

  • The 47th British Association for Crystal Growth annual conference, 27-29 June 2016, University of Leeds, Leeds UK
  • The 46th British Association for Crystal Growth annual conference, 21-23 June 2015, Queen Mary, London UK

Consultancy work

  • Co-crystallisation
  • Pre-formulation/formulation
  • In vitro dissolution
  • Pharmaceutical process modelling and control
  • QbD.

Current research students

  • Miss Fatima Idris, 3rd-year PhD student, 1st supervisor
  • Miss Preya Kirubakaran, 3rd-year PhD student, 1st supervisor
  • Miss Manreet Kaur, 3rd-year PhD student, 1st supervisor
  • Miss Linzie Bolus, 2nd-year PhD student, 1st supervisor
  • Mr. Jay Makadia, 1st-year PhD student, 1st supervisor
  • Mr. Morteza Haghshenas, 1st-year PhD student, 1st supervisor
  • Mr. Chufan Liang, 1st-year PhD student, 1st supervisor

Externally funded research grants information

  • In-process particle sizing by refractive index measurement, EPSRC, 01/09/2008-31/08/2010, £196072, PI.
  • Network Travel Grant, EPSRC Directed Assembly Network, £600, 2013, PI
  • Building the International Leading Pharmaceutical Research Capacity for the Pharmaceutical Technologies Group at De Montfort University, Higher Education Innovation fund, £8000, 2013-2014, PI
  • European Pharmaceutical Cocrystal Collaboration Network for EU Grant Applications, Higher Education Innovation fund, £2900, 2015, PI
  • Equipment Capital, Higher Education Innovation fund, £72,878, 2016, PI.
  • Developing Patient Centric Oral Medicines for Neglected Tropical Disease, EPSRC, EP/R021198/1, £71,217, 1/4/2018-31/3/2019, Principal Investigator.
  • Development of Patentable Novel Antimalarial Medicines, Funded by HEIF (Higher Education Innovation fund), £14,924, 1/01/2018 -31/07/2018, Principal investigator.

Internally funded research project information

  • Pharmaceutical technologies group network, RIF, 1/01/2010-31/07/2010, £5000, PI.
  • Equipment Capital, HEIF4, 2010, £67,850, PI

Published patents

PCT/GB2009/002599, Determining the particle size distribution of a suspension, UK.

Former PhD students

  • Dr. Ning Qiao, PhD, 2014, 1st supervisor

PhD thesis: Investigation of Carbamazepine-Nicotinamide cocrystal solubility and dissolution by the UV imaging system

  • Dr. Huolong Liu, PhD, 2014, 1st supervisor

PhD thesis: Modeling and control of batch pulsed top-spray fluidized bed granulation

  • Dr. Shi Qiu, PhD, 2015, 1st supervisor

PhD thesis: Effect of polymers on Carbamazepine cocrystals phase transformation and release profiles

  • Dr. Minshan Guo, PhD, 2018, 1st supervisor

PhD thesis: Investigating the Dissolution and Permeation Properties of Flufenamica Acid Cocrystals

Former MSc project students

2018: Mr Chufan Liang, Mr. Chuhong Cheng, Mr. Weilin Tan, Mr. Mohammed Patel

2017: Miss Yasmine Alyassin; Mr. Saeed Gugu; Mr. Abdulrahman Nuhu; Mr. Aaron Gill; Mr. Rahman Ahmed

2016: Miss Jialu Situ; Miss Manreet Kaur; Miss Preyanthiny Kirubakaran; Mr. Jay Makadia

2015: Miss Junmin Lai; Mr. Balraj Rai; Miss Samya Khaled

2014: Miss Minshan Guo; Mr. Dillan Pattni; Mr. Xuechao Hou; Mr. Simron Rai

2012: Miss Fatma Ali; Miss  Ayobami Temitope Ajibola; Mr. Junaid Razaq; Mr. Rukhsar Tariq

Group news

    • July 2019: Congratulations go to our post graduate research student, Miss  Manree Kaur, 3rd year PhD student from the Pharmaceutical Technologies Group, who has been awarded the poster competitions  at the 50th annual meeting of the British Association of Crystal Growth (BACG) in London. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6556926232737398784/
    • April 2019: Welcome Mr Chufan Liang to join the group for PhD study.
    • March 2019: Congratulations go to Linzie to win 2nd Prize of Research Degree Students' Poster Competition
    • September 2018: Welcome Mr Morteza Haghshenas to join the group for PhD study.
    • August 2018: Congratulations to Minshan to pass her Viva with minor corrections.
    • August 2018: Congratulations to Minshan for publishing a paper entitled "Investigating Permeation Behaviour of Flufenamic Acid Cocrystals using A Dissolution and Permeation System" in Molecular Pharmaceutics: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.8b00670 
    • July 2018: Welcome Mr Jay Makadia to join the group for PhD study.
    • April 2018: Congratulation to Linzie for winning Research Degree Students' Poster Competition 3rd Prize.
    • March 2018: Congratulation to the group to be awarded an EPSRC project.
    • January 2018: Welcome Dr. Ke Wang to join the group as a Research Assistant.
    • November 2017: Dr. Li is Guest Editor for Special Issue "Pharmaceutical Crystallisation Science and Engineering" in Pharmaceutics.
    • October 2017: Congratulations to Minshan for publishing a paper entitled "Insight into Flufenamic Acid Cocrystal Dissolution in the Presence of a Polymer in Solution: from Single Crystal to Powder Dissolution" in Molecular Pharmaceutics: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.7b00712.
    • July 2017: Congratulations go to our post graduate research student, Miss  Preya Kirubakaran,1st year PhD student from the Pharmaceutical Technologies Group, who has been awarded the 1st place of the poster competitions  at the 48th annual meeting of the British Association of Crystal Growth (BACG) in Manchester, from 27th to 30th of June, with more 150 delegates from 14 countries
    • February 2017: Congratulations on Linzie Bolus's success on the award of a high flyer scholarship. 
    • June 2016: Congratulations go to Dr. Shi Qiu, who has been awarded "Doctoral Thesis Prize" for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences in the Doctoral Thesis Prize competition. Her thesis entitled: Effects of Polymers on Carbamazepine cocrystals phase transformation and release profiles.
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