David Woolfson


1986 …2016
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Personal profile


Professor David Woolfson holds the Chair in Pharmaceutics (Drug Delivery). He is a graduate in Pharmacy from Queen's and is a registered pharmacist. Prof. Woolfson founded the McClay Research Centre for Pharmaceutical Sciences, from initial concept through to raising of the necessary funding. Starting as a lecturer in pharmaceutical analysis, he was appointed Reader in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1991 and to the Chair in Pharmaceutics in 1995. He is Head of the School of Pharmacy at Queen's.

Prof. Woolfson became a member of the British Pharmacopoeia Commission (BPC) in 1997 and was appointed as Chair of the BPC in 2006. The Commission is responsible under the UK Medicines Act for the annual publication of the British Pharmacopoeia., which sets legally enforceable quality standards for medicinal chemicals, drugs and formulated products. He has extensive experience of work in the European Pharmacopoeia Commission (EPC) as leader of the UK delegation and formerly UK Expert on Formulated Medicinal Products. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of CRC Books Inc. and formerly of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Partnership for Microbicides. He has published 3 books, approximately 300 scientific publications, holds several patents on drug delivery systems and biomaterials and has given numerous invited conference presentations.

Research Statement

Prof. Woolfson's research interests are in polymeric drug delivery systems for transdermal and intravaginal applications, bioadhesion and biomaterials. The emphasis is on facilitated controlled drug delivery through challenging polymeric systems, where physicochemical aspects (drug molecular size, solubility or stability, polymer system tortuosity and relative hydrophobicity) present difficulties to efficient drug release. The current focus is on novel polymeric systems for transdermal delivery, vaginal delivery of HIV microbicides and the development of vaginally deliveryed HIV mucosal vaccines. Key achievements include the invention of the marketed percutaneous local anaesthetic product Ametop, and contributions to the development of several other pharmaceuticals, including the vaginal ring HRT product Femring. The research programmes are funded from a range of sources including UK Research Councils, major charities such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, the International Partnership for Microbicides and other charities for the prevention of HIV, and the Pharmaceutical Industry. Prof. Woolfson's career research grants to date total £17M.

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Projects 2002 2015

Research Output 1986 2016

15 Citations (Scopus)

A facile system to evaluate in vitro drug release from dissolving microneedle arrays

Larrañeta, E., Stewart, S., Fallows, S. J., Birkhäuer, L. L., McCrudden, M. T. C., Woolfson, A. D. & Donnelly, R. F., 30 Jan 2016, In : International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 497, 1-2, p. 62-69 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Quality Control
Transdermal Patch
121 Citations (Scopus)
Open Access
Materials science
Patient monitoring
Drug delivery
30 Citations (Scopus)
Open Access
36 Citations (Scopus)

Considerations in the sterile manufacture of polymeric microneedle arrays

McCrudden, M. T. C., Zaid Alkilani, A., Courtenay, A., McCrudden, C. M., McCloskey, B., Walker, C., Alshraiedeh, N., Lutton, R. E. M., Gilmore, B. F., Woolfson, A. D. & Donnelly, R. F., Feb 2015, In : Drug Delivery and Translational Research. 5, 1, p. 3-14 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pharmaceutical Preparations
26 Citations (Scopus)
Open Access
Dosage Forms
Drug Delivery Systems
Research Personnel


Elected Fellow

David Woolfson (Recipient), 1989

Prize: Election to learned society

Elected Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society NI

David Woolfson (Recipient), 2009

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

Activities 1999 2010

Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (External organisation)

David Woolfson (Member)

Activity: Membership typesMembership of peer review panel or committee

CRC Press (External organisation)

David Woolfson (Member)

Activity: Membership typesMembership of peer review panel or committee

China Medical University

David Woolfson (Visitor)
2010 → …

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation

External Assessor for Academic Promotions Board

David Woolfson (Examiner)

Activity: Examination typesOther examination

Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (External organisation)

David Woolfson (Member)

Activity: Membership typesMembership of external research organisation


Protecting Women from HIV AIDS: Dapivirine Vaginal Ring HIV Microbicide

David Woolfson (Participant), Karl Malcolm (Participant), Stephen McCullagh (Participant), Martin Catney (Participant)

Impact: Health Impact