Welcome, Joanna and Arun!

Last week, I welcomed Joanna and Arun into my research team. Joanna and Arun are fourth-year MPharm students who will be working on microneedle devices for drug delivery and biomarker detection. They are the first project students to join my team since the big move to Newcastle University last year, and I look forward to working with them.

Perspective: The future of skin biosensing and bioanalysis

I recently published a perspective article with Professor Syed Moein Moghimi in Precision Nanomedicine (the official journal of the European Foundation for Clinical Nanomedicine). In it, we offered our views and analysis on emerging techniques for sensing and analysing biomolecules in the skin, focusing on the capabilities and promises nanotechnology brings to the scene.

The article is open access.

In press: Nanoparticles designed to adhere to or penetrate mucosal tissue

Our paper on surface-functionalised nanoparticles and their ability to adhere to or penetrate mucous membranes has been accepted and published online. I congratulate my co-authors on this well-deserved outcome, and hereby present the paper to my readers:

MWays TM, Lau WM, Ng KW, Khutoryanskiy VV (2018) Synthesis of thiolated, PEGylated and POZylated silica nanoparticles and evaluation of their retention on rat intestinal mucosa in vitro. European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 122:230-238.

The article is available for free from Elsevier until 29 August 2018. To access the free full text, please follow this link:


In the paper, we demonstrated that nanoparticles whose surfaces were functionalised differently attained the ability to either adhere to or penetrate the mucus layer in the small intestines of the rat. We postulate that the same can be true in humans. This has important applications in oral drug delivery, where the nanoparticles can be tailored to target drug delivery to the gut differently, depending on the desired drug release profile.

The work was led by Professor Vitaliy Khutoryanskiy, of the University of Reading.

Hot off the press: high-throughput skin burn wound model for infection control

Graphical summary

A paper I co-authored with the team led by Dr Brian Jones (University of Bath) has just been published in the journal Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. This is an open-access publication and you can grab a copy by following this link.

The paper describes a burn wound model that enables high-throughput evaluation of wound control measures. It is based on ex vivo (i.e. freshly excised) porcine skin that is both anatomically relevant and biologically responsive, and therefore superior to most in vitro models currently available.

I am glad to have contributed to this paper, and am pleased to introduce it to my readers.

Image credit

Editorial: Penetration enhancement of topical formulations

I have been working with the MDPI editorial office to guest edit the Penetration Enhancement of Topical Formulations special issue in the open-access journal, Pharmaceutics.

The collaboration has now concluded and I have written an editorial for that issue, which has now been published:

Ng, K.W. Penetration Enhancement of Topical Formulations. Pharmaceutics 2018, 10, 51

I thank the MDPI editorial office for the opportunity to be part of this effort. Special thanks go to MDPI editorial staffers, Felicia and Liane, who co-ordinated much of the work. It has been a most valuable experience for me, and I look forward to more future collaborations.

Back in production

I’m pleased to announce that, 2 months after the big move to Newcastle University @UniofNewcastle, the 4D Laboratory is back in production!

Today, the first batch of polymeric microneedle arrays rolled off the production line based in the School of Pharmacy @NCL_Pharmacy. The batch includes some new microneedle designs which we have not reported on before (until now, I guess). These microneedle arrays will now be used in some exciting new projects, which hopefully I will be able to share with you in the not-so-distant future. For now, please savour these teaser images:

Microneedle array: conventional design

Microneedle array: new design

New beginning

Some of you may already know that I recently moved to Newcastle University. In fact, I wrote a blog post about this on my first day in the new job. In that post, I promised that I would migrate the Dermal Drug Delivery & Diagnostics (4D) Laboratory blog to a new server.

The migration has begun today. This blog post represents the start of that migration.

Given my busy schedule early in the academic year, the migration is going to be a slow process if I get my priorities right. While this blog takes shape, the impatient may head to my university staff profile for much of the same information.

For a while, there’s going to be two blogs on the Internet dedicated to the 4D Laboratory — this one, and the previous one hosted by University of Brighton. I do not know when the previous one will be wiped off the Internet (frankly, I’m surprised that it is still available), but hopefully the site will be rebooted here before that happens.

Stay tuned!