PhD Studentship Available

“The crystallisation of polymorphic forms – understanding the mechanism”

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Application deadline: 1 June 2012


Crystallisation from solution is a major process by which chemical companies transform synthetic products into solid forms suitable for formulation into commercial products. It is well known in the literature that impurities can have wide ranging effects on crystallisation, from delaying the onset of nucleation to modifying the particle morphology and changing the crystalline form. Impurities can be introduced from many areas e.g. variation in manufacturing process, solvent stabilisers. During API development, it is common to change the route of synthesis to become more efficient, this can change the levels or change the nature of the impurities present, which can in turn control which polymorph is observed. This may be different to that previously thought to be the thermodynamically preferred polymorph and hence give rise to significant problems of product consistency and reproducibility.

Within pharma companies impurities have been implicated in several polymorphic control problems on active compounds. These are typically rectified by controlling the purity profile, either by column chromatography or other slurry based rework procedure. What has yet to be understood, however, is the mechanism by which the different polymorphs are stabilised by impurities; in particular, the deconvolution of effects of impurities on nucleation of a particular polymorph from the effects on crystal growth. Once understood, this mechanism may be better controlled by modifying parameters in the crystallisation process such as seed point and supersaturation control, reducing the need for time consuming extra reworks or chromatography.

The student will learn and apply modern techniques of solid state and solution chemistry to this problem – X-ray diffraction, FTIR, Raman and UV/vis spectroscopy, calorimetry and high throughput experimentation. The work is supported by a leading UK pharma company.

Funding Notes

Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 Honours MChem/MEng in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering.

Funding for this project covers tuition fees in full at the home rate and annual stipend in excess of the EPSRC minimum (currently £13,590) for the duration of the 3.5 year project, starting 1st October 2012.

Postdoctoral Research Associate Position Available

We have got a fixed term Postdoctoral Research Associate position in a research council-funded Smart Laboratory Automation pilot project available.

An excellent first degree in a relevant science or engineering discipline (e.g. Analytical Science, Electrical/Electronic Engineering, Computer Science, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics) is required. The successful candidate will work under the supervision of Dr Sven Schroeder on the implementation of automated laboratory workflows, as part of a smart chemical laboratory concept with electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) that is piloted within the EPSRC Dial-a-Molecule Grand Challenges network.

The successful candidate must have experience in computer programming and the installation of operating systems and applications software for scientific instruments, data acquisition hardware and associated software drivers. You will also be a self motivated individual with strong problem-solving ability and willingness to work both independently and in collaboration.

The successful candidate will work closely together with other Research Associates in our laboratory. The project requires liaison through project meetings with partner groups at the University of Southampton. At the end of the project the candidate will write an academic publication for a high impact journal. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to the safe management of the laboratory environment.

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr SLM Schroeder:


The University of Manchester values a diverse workforce and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.

Further particulars

Closing date: 17/01/2012
Reference: E&PS-00546
Faculty / Organisational unit : Engineering & Physical Sciences
Salary : £29,099 to £35,788
Employment type : Fixed Term
Duration: Fixed term until 30 June 2012
Hours per week : Full time
Location : Sackville Street
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Research Associate in Smart Laboratory Automation

Our Formulation System on YouTube

Watch Matt’s movie showing the operation of our automated formulation system with rheology measurements.

Automated Formulation System with Rheometer on YouTube