• Room 01.008 - Pharmacy & MCI

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Open to PhD applications in the field of microneedles/microarray patches, minimally-invasive patient monitoring/diagnosis, transdermal drug delivery, including biomolecules, vaccine delivery, photodynamic therapy, nanomedicine delivery, HIV treatment and prevention, delivery of therapeutics for tropical diseases and rare conditions.


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Ryan Donnelly graduated with a BSc (1st Class) in Pharmacy from Queen's University Belfast in 1999. Following a year of Pre-Registration training spent in Community Pharmacy, he returned to the School of Pharmacy to undertake a PhD in Pharmaceutics. He graduated in 2003 and, after a short period of post-doctoral research, was appointed to a Lectureship in Pharmaceutics in January 2004. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2009, Reader in 2011 and, in 2013, to a Chair in Pharmaceutical Technology.

Professor Donnelly's research is centred on design and physicochemical characterisation of advanced polymeric drug delivery systems for transdermal and topical drug delivery, with a strong emphasis on improving therapeutic outcomes for patients. His bioadhesive patch design was used in successful photodynamic therapy of over 100 patients with neoplastic and dysplastic gynaecological conditions and the patent subsequently out-licensed.

Currently, Professor Donnelly's research is focussed on novel polymeric microneedle arrays for transdermal administration of "difficult-to-deliver" drugs and intradermal delivery of vaccines and photosensitisers. His work is funded by BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, The Wellcome Trust, The Royal Society and the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries.

He has authored over 600 peer-reviewed publications, including several granted patents, 6 textbooks and approximately 260 full papers. He has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international conferences. Professor Donnelly is the Europe/Africa Editor of Drug Delivery & Translational Research and a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of Journal of Controlled Release, Micromachines and Expert Review of Medical Devices and is a Visiting Scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Cancer Research, where he is an Associate Member of the Radiation Biology Group. He is a Board Member of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Communications Chair of the Controlled Release Society. His work has attracted numerous awards, including the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences Innovative Science Award in 2020, the Controlled Release Society Young Investigator Award in 2016, BBSRC Innovator of the Year in 2013, the GSK Emerging Scientist Award in 2012 and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Science Award in 2011.

Click on the links below to watch videos about Professor Donnelly's research:












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 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production


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