• Room 02.021 - Pharmacy & MCI

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Open to PhD applications in the field of responsive drug delivery, polymer formulation, bacterial-surface interactions and functional coating technologies.


Research output per year

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Personal profile


Dr. Nicola Irwin graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a Master of Pharmacy degree (First Class Honours) in 2009. Following a pre-registration training year in community pharmacy, she returned to the School of Pharmacy and completed a PhD in the area of infection-resistant medical device development under the supervision of Professor Colin McCoy and Professor Sean Gorman. In 2013, Dr. Irwin was appointed as a Research Fellow on an Invest NI-funded Proof of Concept programme to develop lubricious catheter coatings for intermittent self-catheterisation devices. Traction generated from this project led to her being successfully awarded a personal Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2015. Dr. Irwin was appointed to her current position of Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Materials Science in the School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast, in April 2016.


Dr. Irwin is a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.

Research Interests

Dr. Irwin’s current research interests are focused on the development of advanced surface technologies to combat the major issues associated with employment of medical devices, namely their ease of use and susceptibility to infection. To inform the development of infection-prevention strategies, a major focus of her research is involved with investigation of the mechanisms controlling bacterial adhesion to surfaces and subsequent biofilm formation.

Her research has been featured in the national press (BBC News and The Telegraph), published in peer-reviewed journals and filed as a patent.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Nicola Irwin is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Research Output

An infection-responsive approach to reduce bacterial adhesion in urinary biomaterials

McCoy, C. P., Irwin, N. J., Brady, C., Jones, D. S., Carson, L., Andrews, G. P. & Gorman, S. P., 2016, In : Molecular Pharmaceutics. 13, 8, p. 2817–2822 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 15 Citations (Scopus)
    235 Downloads (Pure)
    4 Citations (Scopus)
  • 13 Citations (Scopus)
  • 18 Citations (Scopus)

    Lignin/poly(butylene succinate) composites with antioxidant and antibacterial properties for potential biomedical applications

    Domínguez-Robles, J., Larrañeta, E., Fong, M. L., Martin, N. K., Irwin, N. J., Mutjé, P., Tarrés, Q. & Delgado-Aguilar, M., 15 Feb 2020, In : International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 145, p. 92-99

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    54 Downloads (Pure)


    Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard Award

    Nicola Irwin (Recipient), 01 May 2019

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

    Artwork accepted for cover of Chemistry - A European Journal

    Nicola Irwin (Recipient), 28 Nov 2019

    Prize: Other distinction

  • Enterprise Fellow

    Nicola Irwin (Recipient), 31 Mar 2015

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

    Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

    Nicola Irwin (Recipient), 30 Jun 2017

    Prize: Other distinction

    Vice-Chancellor's Early Career Researcher Prize

    Nicola Irwin (Recipient), 09 Dec 2019

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


    Lead for CQC Exchange Programme

    Nicola Irwin (Organiser), Shu Li (Organiser)
    13 Jan 202019 Feb 2020

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

    Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces (Journal)

    Nicola Irwin (Peer reviewer)
    15 Jan 2020 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

    China Medical University – Queen’s University Belfast Joint College

    Nicola Irwin (Visiting lecturer)
    25 Nov 201929 Nov 2019

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

    Queen's University Belfast (Organisational unit)

    Nicola Irwin (Member)
    07 Oct 2019 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of peer review panel or committee

    Jerash University

    Nicola Irwin (Visiting researcher)
    10 Sep 2019

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external academic institution

    Press / Media

    QRadio Interview

    Nicola Irwin


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    BBC News article

    Nicola Irwin


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Self-lubricating condom designed to reduce infections

    Nicola Irwin


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment