Alejandro Paredes

Dr

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20162021

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Particulars

Alejandro J. Paredes graduated as a Pharmacist in 2011, and as a PhD in 2016 from the National University of Córdoba, Argentina, where he also taught pharmaceutical sciences for 7 years. As a postdoctoral researcher, he visited the University of the Basque Country (Spain), the University of Pavia (Italy), and worked at Queen's University Belfast, being involved within leading groups in gene therapy, wound healing, and microneedles, respectively.

During his doctoral work, he focused on the development of novel nanocrystalline formulations of the antiparasitic drug albendazole. With a strong emphasis on optimizing the manufacturing process, he combined high-pressure homogenisation and spray-drying to obtain re-dispersible powdered formulations for oral administration. Further in vivo characterisation of the systems included the pharmacokinetic and efficacy evaluation in mice and dogs.

His postdoctoral work in Argentina aimed at the formulation of drug nanocrystals by media milling. During this period, they designed and built a novel device to produce nanosuspensions, eventually leading to the development of several new research lines in human and veterinary medicine, as well as in agricultural sciences. In March 2019, together with his former PhD supervisor and other partners, they founded the spin-off company NanoDisp® with the aim of developing new nanocrystal-based products. As a result of his work at National University of Cordoba, several scientific publications were made and 2 patents filled in the Argentinian Intellectual Property Office. 

Microencapsulation of drugs and essential oils has also been an important part of Dr Paredes’ work, participating in several collaborations with food scientists. Aiming to different goals, these projects dealt with the microencapsulation of various active compounds using the spray-drying technique.

As a postdoctoral researcher, he visited the laboratory of Prof Jose Luis Pedraz in the University of the Basque Country, Spain where he developed novel non-viral vectors based on nanodiamonds for efficient gene delivery. Funded with a CICOPS scholarship, he also visited the laboratory of Prof. Carla Caramella, a worldwide leading researcher in wound healing, where they studied the preparation of electrospun nanofibers loaded with natural antioxidant substances.

From September 2019, Dr Paredes worked as a Research Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast under the supervision of Prof Ryan F. Donnelly, where they developed cutting edge academic and industrial projects aimed at the transdermal delivery of various therapeutic agents using microneedle patches. In January of 2021, Alejandro was appointed as a Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast.

Research Focus

Dr Paredes’ main research topic is the formulation of nanocrystals for the delivery of poorly soluble drugs through different administration routes. Alejandro has been always involved in multidisciplinary international teams, working with veterinarians, parasitologists, agriculture engineers, food scientists, industrial designers, chemists, and other pharmacists. In these teams, common approaches of pharmaceutical technology such as microencapsulation, particle size reduction, coating or controlled release were applied in the development of specially tailored formulations.

The poor solubility of drugs is a major problem for scientists working in academic and industrial research laboratories, since most of the drugs already approved, and a large part of new chemical entities being developed have poor water solubility. In this scenario, the formulation of nanocrystals has become one of the most preferred strategies for improving the biopharmaceutical behaviour of such hydrophobic molecules. When compared to other nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems, nanocrystals have a series of distinctive advantages, such as long-term stability, solvent-free and neutral pH manufacture, and more importantly, a higher drug loading capacity, since they are formed by 100% of the active, without the need of carrier excipients. This together with the industrial interest that nanocrystals have gained in the last decade, make this platform an attractive alternative for the development of novel products with increased therapeutic profiles.

Currently, Dr Paredes co-supervises several PhD projects together with Prof Ryan F. Donnelly on the transdermal delivery of nanocrystals using microneedles. Refinement of nanocrystals manufacturing techniques and processing parameters in order to obtain customised nanocrystals with specific particle sizes and surface properties are a central part of Dr Paredes´ work. These novel platforms could help the drug accumulate in target tissues helping to address key unmet therapeutic needs in a variety of diseases.

Dr Paredes is a member of the Controlled Release Society, the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UK) and the Society for Applied Microbiology (UK).

Teaching

Dr Paredes has been teaching Pharmaceutical Technology (2012-2019) with a tenured position at the National University of Cordoba (UNC), Argentina, and currently as a Lecturer at Queen´s University Belfast. Moreover, he has been an invited speaker and co-organiser at several postgraduate courses and seminars. Throughout this time he supervised and co-supervised several pre-graduate and post-graduate students.

As an educator in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dr Paredes has been working under the premise that most of the employment opportunities for future graduates in the various fields of pharmaceutical sciences will require a good understanding of the composition, technology and working mechanism behind a certain dosage form.  Ultimately, this holistic training will create Pharmacists with strong technical knowledge but also with a focus on patients' health improvement.

Between 2012 and 2019, Dr Paredes held a tenured position of Assistant Professor at UNC, with most of his teaching being focused on the module Pharmaceutical Technology II (4th level of the Pharmacy course). There, he participated in the design, demonstration and evaluation of practical activities on semisolid and solid formulations, cosmetics, suppositories, and long-acting formulations.

As a Lecturer in the School of Pharmacy, he participates in a number of modules of the MPharm and BSc courses, teaching oral drug delivery for PMY3176/3276, polymer science and solid state for PMY1015/102, and solid dosage forms for PMY2006 and PMY2020.  

Achievements

Alejandro Paredes was awarded a competitive PhD scholarship from the Argentinean National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) in 2012. During his doctoral studies, he was successful in several applications for traveling funding in national and international calls:

ICTMM 2012 scholarship. To attend the XVIII International Congress for Tropical Medicine and Malaria - XLVIII Congress of the Brazilian Society for Tropical Medicine in Río de Janeiro, Brazil.

- Ibero-American University Association of Postgraduates (AUIP) scholarship for a 2-month research visit to the University of Seville, Spain.

Escala Docente scholarship from Asociación de Universidades Grupo Montevideo (AUGM) for a 1-month scientific visit to the University of La República, Montevideo, Uruguay. 

- Cooperation South-South (Fo-Ar) bilateral project between Argentina-Cuba 2016-2017, which involved 8 scientific missions between both countries. The Fo-Ar initiative is a competitive call funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Argentina. The group was also successful in the call 2017-2018.    

After his PhD graduation, he received a Postdoctoral Fellowship from CONICET, including funding to make a 6-month research visit to the University of the Basque Country, Spain (2018). 

In 2019 he was awarded a CICOPS Fellowship from the University of Pavia, Italy, where he was a visiting researcher for 4 months.

In September 2019 he was appointed as a Research Fellow at Queen's University Belfast, and in January 2021 appointed as a Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Regarding scientific publications, Dr Paredes has published a total of 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals and participated as an inventor in 2 patents. Moreover, he has presented > 20 peer-reviewed abstracts in national and international conferences. Alejandro is also a peer-reviewer for internationally recognized Journals.

Expertise related to UN SDGs

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

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