• Room 03.022 - Pharmacy & MCI

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Open to PhD applications in the field of peptide-based materials (hydrogels and nanotubes), sustained and targeted drug delivery (long-acting drug delivery systems to improve patient adherence to medicines), biomaterials and antimicrobial peptides.


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Personal profile

Research Focus

Our Biofunctional Nanomaterials group research the design, development and formulation of self-assembling hydrogel platforms for healthcare applications based on the building blocks of life, mainly peptides and peptide-like molecules.

Our peptides have the ability to form hydrogel structures when triggered specific physiological stimuli (e.g. pH, temperature, enzymes). They have huge potential within the fields of drug delivery and biomaterials with the group's focus primarily on the development of sustained release drug delivery systems e.g. long-acting injectables, antimicrobial biomaterials and drug delivery systems with the ability to cross biological barriers (e.g. blood-brain barrier, outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria). 

Using peptides provides a unique ability to tailor the peptide sequence to desired functional properties biocompatibility, biodegradability, mechanical strength, drug release and functionality.

Our work is funded (£1.5 M) by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wellcome Trust, the Royal Society, Innovate UK, the Society for Applied Microbiology, the Biochemical Society and Intertrade Ireland alongside successful applications to Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL, Grenoble) and and the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) for neutron scattering beam time.

Our most recent work relates to the development of an injectable in situ forming peptide hydrogel implant for sustained drug delivery. EPSRC, MRC and Wellcome Trust support has allowed this to be developed primarily for use in HIV/AIDs and combined contraception but this system is also showing promise for use in conditions with medication adherence and drug delivery issues (e.g. ocular use, cancer). 

Recently our HIV-contraceptive drug delivery research was selected by the EPSRC as a case study within their Developing New Therapies Grand Challenge:

Gel-forming injections target reduction in HIV/AIDS infections


This technology has also been highlighted by the media and news outlets, most recently within The Irish Times and Advanced Science News:

Irish Times Research Insights

Advanced Science News: A long-lasting drug delivery system to treat HIV


Our group's work also relates to the development of self-assembling peptide-based hydrogel materials for use against infection. Our work on the use of ultrashort self-assembling peptide gels against resistant biofilm forms of hospital superbugs attracted interest from national and international media outlets including BBC, RTE and UTV television and radio, The Belfast Telegraph, The Irish Times, WTOP radio Washington D.C and abc News.


BBC News: Queen's University Belfast scientists create 'superbug gel'

Belfast Telegraph

abc News

Dr. Laverty is a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, the European Peptide Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry and is a member of the EPSRC, UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships/UKRI Talent and European Science Foundation Peer Review Colleges.

He is also an Associate Editor for the journal Royal Society Open Science.


Garry Laverty graduated with a First Class Honours Masters degree (MPHARM) from the School of Pharmacy at Queen's University Belfast in 2005.  After successful completion of his pre-registration training Garry commenced a PhD in Pharmaceutics related to the activity of peptides against the biofilm forms of medical device related pathogens. 

In 2010 Garry began employment within the biotechnology industry. He was responsible for the creation and development of innovative veterinary products working closely with the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast. Garry has also undertaken a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice at University College Dublin. His work with small to medium enterprise allows him to fulfil his role as an Intertrade Ireland FUSION Graduate Ambassador.

Garry maintains his close links to Community Pharmacy and the Pharmaceutical Industry and is an external examiner at Trinity College Dublin.

In October 2012, Garry was appointed to the position of Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Science and Practice at the School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast.

Garry acts as a student Disability Adviser and sits on the Queen's University Belfast Staff Forum as representative for the School of Pharmacy. 


Master's of Pharmacy Degree (MPHARM):

Level 2: Pharmaceutical Technology (PMY 2006)

Pharmaceutical Statistics

Co-ordinator of Industrial Stakeholder's Workshops

Level 4: Preparation for Practice (PMY 4002): Co-ordinator of Industrial component and Entrepreneurial Workshops

Level 4: Project Module (PMY 4005)


BSc Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biotechnology:

Level 1: Mathematical and Statistical Skills (PMY 1020)

Level 2: Industrial Pharmaceutics (PMY 2020)

Pharmaceutical Formulation (PMY 2025)

Module lead on Pharmaceutical Formulation practical

Level 3:  Quality Assurance and Regulatory Aspects of Pharmaceutical Manufacture (PMY3031)

Pharmaceutical Science Research Project (PMY 3022)

Pharmaceutical Innovation (PMY/PMC 3031)


Visting Lecturer China Queen's College (Shenyang, China)


MSc Industrial Pharmaceutics:

Research Methods and Data Management (PMY 8110)

Characterisation Methods for Pharmaceutical Products (PMY 8112): Rheological Testing

Research Project (PMY 8116)


MSc Pharmaceutical Analysis:

Quality Assurance/Control in the Pharmaceutical Industry (PMY 7092)

Chemical, Biochemical and Spectroscopic Analytical Methods (CHM 7003)


School of Pharmacy Project Tutor for the British Council’s Study USA Programme 


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
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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