• Room 0G.020 - Pharmacy & MCI

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Open to PhD applications in the field of drug delivery, biomaterials, sensor development, SMART materials, and medical device enhancement. Polymer and small-molecule synthesis, materials characterisation, biological and microbiological performance are all areas of expertise in our research.

1993 …2024

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Professor Colin McCoy leads three themes within Biomaterials and Drug Delivery in the School of Pharmacy;polymeric medical devices, photoactive biomaterials and sensor development. Following completion of his PhD in Chemistry, which included a publication in Nature, he undertook two years of postdoctoral research with Nobel Laureate Professor Jean-Marie Lehn, at the Collège de France. He was awarded a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 1999, which he held for 8 years in the School of Pharmacy, and was appointed Senior Lecturer in 2006, Reader in 2009 and Professor in 2012.

His expertise is in the design of triggered drug delivery systems, the development of infection-resistant biomaterials and the design of sensor technologies for drugs and biologically-relevant species. His research has attracted in excess of £5M of funding, and he is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and 6 patents. His work has received media attention from sources such as the BBC World Service, New Scientist, The Sunday Times, Chemistry in Britain and Chemistry and Engineering News.

Professor McCoy has given lectures at numerous international and national conferences. He compiled a policy document for the Royal Society by invitation and sat on an advisory panel to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Science Minister for the development of UK Government policy on spending on science. He is an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology and former member of the International Steering Committee for the Handbook of Pharmaceutical Excipients. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Chemistry and Advance HE, formerly the Higher Education Academy. 

Research Statement


The major focus of Professor McCoy's research involves development of biomaterials which are resistant to infection. In particular, his research exploits triggered drug delivery using light, heat, chemical or electrical stimuli to either modulate the properties of materials or directly release appropriate bioactive molecules. A further area of research is in the development of new materials for detecting and monitoring species such as drugs, explosives and biological anions. To achieve this, he uses diverse approaches including surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy and delayed lanthanide luminescence. This work is carried out with collaborators in the UK, Ireland, Europe and the USA.


His research is both fundamental and applied, with funders including EPSRC (6 major grants awarded since appointment), the Royal Society and global medical device companies.


He is author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and patents in journals including Nature, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Pharmaceutical Research, Bioconjugate Chemistry and Chemistry of Materials, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and serves on the editorial board of Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

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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