• 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 output per year

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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, 5 textbooks and approximately 160 full papers. He has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international conferences. Professor Donnelly is the Editor-in-Chief of Recent Patents on Drug Delivery & Formulation and a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of Micromachines, Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, Expert Review of Medical Devices and Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences and is a Visiting Scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Cancer Research, where he is an Associate Member of the Radiation Biology Group. His work has attracted numerous awards, including 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:












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Research Output

Open Access
  • 7 Downloads (Pure)

    A novel transdermal protein delivery strategy via electrohydrodynamic coating of PLGA microparticles onto microneedles

    Angkawinitwong, U., Courtenay, A. J., Rodgers, A., Larraneta, E., McCarthy, H. O., Brocchini, S., Donnelly, R. F. & Williams, G. R., 18 Feb 2020, In : ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Cellulose Nanofibers and Other Biopolymers for Biomedical Applications. A Review

    Moohan, J., Stewart, S. A., Espinosa, E., Rosal, A., Rodríguez, A., Larrañeta, E., Donnelly, R. F. & Domínguez-Robles, J., Jan 2020, In : Applied Sciences. 10, 1, 25 p., 65.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

    Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    58 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    16 Downloads (Pure)


    • 2 Participation in conference
    • 1 Editorial activity
    • 1 Oral presentation
    • 1 Public lecture/debate/seminar

    Science vs. Microbes

    Johanne Barry (Invited speaker), , Sara Cordeiro (Chair), , Emma McAlister (Organiser), , Ryan Donnelly (Invited speaker), , Brendan Gilmore (Invited speaker), & Aaron Brady (Invited speaker)

    20 Feb 2020

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic lecture/debate/seminar

    International Journal of Pharmaceutics (Journal)

    Ryan Donnelly (Guest editor), , Dimitrios Lamprou (Guest editor), & Eneko Larrañeta (Guest editor)

    22 May 202031 Mar 2021

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

    Controlled Release Society

    Thakur Raghu Raj Singh (Participant), , Samer Adwan (Participant), & Ryan Donnelly (Participant)

    21 Jul 201824 Jul 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


    Thakur Raghu Raj Singh (Participant), , Ryan Donnelly (Participant), & Samer Adwan (Participant)

    11 Apr 201813 Apr 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Fractional Er:YAG Laser as a Novel Method for Enhancing Ocular Drug Permeation

    Samer Adwan (Speaker), , Thakur Raghu Raj Singh (Advisor), & Ryan Donnelly (Advisor)

    2017 → …

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation