One key area of work is "micro encapsulation," which allows active ingredients in products such as drugs, agrochemicals, foods, cleaning products and toiletries to be better targeted.
"Think about chemotherapy. It kills cancer cells but it also kills off a lot of good tissue. If we can encapsulate those active ingredients on the micro-scale, so that they are only released on the cancer cells, we could give you a lot less drug and be better at targeting the cancer. We might also be reducing the cost of the drug because we need a lot less active ingredient," Professor Biggs said.
Other applications include micro capsules that slowly leak active ingredients in pesticides, protecting a plant over an extended period, or micro-packages that preserve active ingredients in cleaning products so that they remain effective after months in the supply chain.
"A Malteser is an 'encapsulated' piece of honeycomb. Our honeycomb might be a drug, an agrochemical, something in your shampoo or an additive to your engine lubricant," Professor Biggs said.
The CDT will involve academics from the University's School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering, School of Chemistry, School of Design, School of Food Science and Nutrition and Leeds University Business School.
Research students are expected to be recruited from backgrounds including chemistry, physics, material engineering, product engineering and product design.
The first cohort of 10 PhD students will start work in October.
|Contact: Chris Bunting|
University of Leeds