Introducing the Oxytocin research team

Dr Michelle McIntosh, Mr Pete Lambert, Dr Richard Prankerd, Associate Professor David Morton, Professor Carl Kirkpatrick, Dr Rob Bischof, Dr Tri-Hung Nguyen, Victoria OliverGemma Nassta, Tomás Sou, Jibriil Ibrahim and Julie Furlong.

Project Leader: Dr Michelle McIntosh

Michelle was awarded her BPharm(Hons) in 1996 and PhD (Pharmaceutics) in 2000 from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Her PhD research, supervised by Profs Chris Porter and Bill Charman, studied the association of hydrophobic drugs with plasma lipoproteins. Michelle then undertook a post-doctoral fellowship in The Center for Drug Delivery Research (CDDR), University of Kansas, under the guidance of Prof Roger Rajewski, where she gained experience in the development of parenteral formulations of poorly water soluble drugs, particularly anaesthetic agents using prodrug technologies and modified cyclodextrins. During her tenure at the CDDR, Michelle developed expertise in analytical chemistry, PK/PD assessments and modeling, controlled release oral formulations, and targeted delivery technologies. She contributed to the IND filings leading to FDA approval of fospropofol (marketed as Lusedra®) and a number of Captisol-enabled products that are either approved or under clinical evaluation. In 2006, Michelle was recruited back to the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University to lead a major research program in pulmonary drug delivery. This program has evolved to focus on developing inhaled delivery systems as an alternative to injectable medicines for low resource settings.

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 Michelle McIntosh

Senior Project Manager: Mr Pete Lambert

Pete is a UK registered pharmacist having been awarded his BSc (Hons) from Liverpool School of Pharmacy in 1990. He started his industrial career with Ciba Pharmaceuticals (now Novartis) as an inhalation scientist working on the formulation and process development of the Foradil® (formoterol) Dry Powder Inhaler. Continuing his work in respiratory delivery, Pete moved to Astra AB (now AstraZeneca) as part of the development team reformulating metered dose inhalers with non-CFC propellants. Subsequently, Pete joined Britannia Pharmaceuticals, initially as a project manager developing a novel dry powder platform technology for nasal delivery, progressing to the role of Director of Development with responsibility for a broad development portfolio. Following the takeover of Britannia, he volunteered in South Africa leading medical assistance projects in HIV/AIDS-affected communities in Kwa-Zulu Natal before moving to Australia in 2010. Since his arrival Pete has worked as the Director of Development at Medicines Development (an industry consultancy) before joining the oxytocin project team in June 2012.

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 Pete Lambert

Project Expert: Dr Richard Prankerd

Richard was awarded the degrees of BPharm (1974), MPharm (Distinction) (1977) and PhD (Pharmaceutical Chemistry) (1985) at Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand. His PhD research, supervised by Dr Rob McKeown, studied the importance of physicochemical properties to the biological properties of pharmacologically active substances. Richard then undertook a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Kansas, under the guidance of Prof Val Stella, where he gained experience in the development of parenteral formulations of poorly stable and poorly water soluble cytotoxic drugs, as well as doing prodrug studies. During his time at the University of Kansas, funded by a contract with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), he continued the development of broad expertise in physicochemical measurement, spectroscopic and bioanalytical techniques, as well as beginning studies in molecular modeling. He contributed to the reporting structure of the NCI contract which resulted in renewal of that contract. Richard then served in faculty appointments at the College of Pharmacy, University of Florida (1987-1992) and in the Department of Pharmacy, University of Queensland (1992-2000). In these appointments, further development of these quantitative techniques resulted. At the end of 2000, Richard was recruited to the then Victorian College of Pharmacy (now Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences), Monash University, to continue teaching and research activity in physicochemical, thermodynamic and formulation science studies. In 2007, Richard completed publication of a large critical compilation of drug acid-base properties, the first of its kind.

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 Dr Richard Prankerd

Project Expert: Associate Professor David Morton

David gained his BSc and PhD in chemistry from Bristol University.  From 1990, he started working in the UK nuclear safety industry initially studying aerosol generation, transport and leakage behaviour in the context of nuclear accidents.  He then re-applied this aerosol knowledge into developing new techniques for generating aerosol-based micro- and nano-particles for use in advanced materials applications.  In 1997, David joined the Centre for Drug Formulation Studies at the University of Bath to manage their industry-funded inhaler product development programmes, which resulted in several products now commercially marketed. In 1999, this group became the drug delivery company Vectura Group plc, where David was Head of Pulmonary Research, and was responsible for developing Vectura's inhalation technology platforms. In 2007, David left the UK to take up a position at Monash University, with specific research interests in particle formulation engineering, drug delivery and particle surface modification.  Most recently, he has led the creation of a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline: a $3.3m Centre of Pharmaceutical Innovation and Industrialisation, which is seen as unique and a model for future industry-research institute collaborations.  

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 A/Prof David Morton

Project Expert: Professor Carl Kirkpatrick

Carl received his PhD from the University of Otago (New Zealand) in the area of aminoglycoside pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics. Prior to being awarded his PhD, Carl worked as a clinical pharmacist in the area of intensive care and clinical pharmacology. Carl's research interests include: population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modelling, dosing monitoring and Bayesian optimisation (antimicrobials, chemotherapeutic agents and anticoagulants), optimisation of dosing in renal dysfunction, pharmacokinetics and dosing in obesity, drugs in breast milk, and the quality use of medicines. The goal of Carl's research is to optimise pharmacotherapy which should lead to improved patient outcomes. Carl is actively involved with a number of professional societies, including leading roles within the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT) and the Population Approach Group Australia and New Zealand (PAGANZ). He also sits on the Pharmaceutical Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Prescription medicines which makes recommendations to on the pharmaceutical chemistry, quality control, bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of prescription medicines proposed for registration in Australia.

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 Carl Kirkpatrick


Project Expert: Dr Rob Bischof

Rob obtained his PhD at The University of Melbourne in 1994. He then undertook post-doctoral studies in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology (Melbourne) and at the Centre for Inflammation Research at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he developed an interest in the role of cytokines in inflammatory diseases. In 1998, Rob obtained NH&MRC support to investigate the inflammatory mechanisms of allergic disease and developed a novel large animal model of experimental allergic asthma. He was involved in and directed a number of commercially funded projects, and in 2004 was awarded an NH&MRC Industry Fellowship to develop novel approaches for the treatment of allergic asthma. In 2006 he relocated to Monash University and currently heads the Allergy and Asthma group. A major focus for the Allergy and Asthma group includes developing a better understanding of the pathophysiology of airway disease, and in the application of large animal models for pulmonary delivery studies.

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 Rob Bischof

Post-Doctoral Scientist: Dr Tri-Hung Nguyen

Tri-Hung was awarded a Bachelor of Formulation Science (Hons) in 2004 and completed his PhD in Pharmaceutical Science at Monash University in 2009. Tri-Hung's thesis explored the use of lipid-based liquid crystals as sustained delivery systems for drugs exhibiting poor aqueous solubility where his work has led to awards from the Controlled Release Society and the Australasian Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and resulted in numerous publications. In assessing the performance of these systems during his postgraduate studies Tri-Hung gained extensive experience in formulation, bioanalytical techniques and conducting in vivo studies. Since commencing his postdoctoral fellowship at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Science has been able to apply his expertise in assessing the PK/PD of drugs administered via different routes and across a range of in vivo models. As the in vivo study coordinator on the oxytocin team Tri-Hung is currently involved in the pre-clinical PK/PD assessment of oxytocin powder formulations in an ovine model and has seen first-hand the potential for inhaled oxytocin to be used to improve maternal health in the developing world.

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 Dr Tri-Hung Nguyen

Post-Doctoral Scientist: Dr Victoria Oliver

Victoria (Tori) Oliver completed a Bachelor of Medicinal Chemistry degree at Monash in 2005 and undertook honours at MIPS under the supervision of Dr John Haynes in 2007. She commenced her PhD in 2008 investigating how steroid hormones regulate calcium levels in prostate cells. Her thesis led to two publications in peer reviewed journals and several presentations at both local and international conferences where she received several best poster and oral presentation awards. She joined the Oxytocin team in July 2012 and is looking forward to working on a project that will dramatically improve healthcare in developing countries.

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 Dr Victoria Oliver

PhD Candidate: Gemma Nassta

Gemma Nassta completed the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science in 2009 at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia before beginning her Honours degree in 2010 where her research work on oxytocin begun through investigating aerosolisation properties of dry powder formulations. Her research on oxytocin continues as Gemma began a PhD in 2011, which focuses on understanding the degradation behaviours of this nonapeptide in the solid-state and therefore on developing a stable dry powder formulation of oxytocin.

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 Gemma Nassta

PhD Candidate: Tomás Sou

Tomas is a registered pharmacist in Australia having been awarded his BPharm(Hons) in 2007 and Graduate Certificate in Pharmacy Practice in 2011 from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. His current PhD research, supervised by Dr Michelle McIntosh, Assoc Prof David Morton and Dr Lisa Kaminskas, investigates the development of a well-characterised inhalable dry powder formulation for pulmonary delivery of macromolecules.

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 Tomas Sou

PhD Candidate: Jibriil Ibrahim

Jibriil Ibrahim completed a BSc at Monash University in 2010, studying Physiology and Developmental Biology, before joining the Oxytocin group as a Masters student in 2011. In 2012 he transitioned into a PhD, focusing on pulmonary drug delivery and its impact on respiratory function under the supervision of Dr Michelle McIntosh and Dr Rob Bischof.

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 Jibriil Ibrahim

Analyst: Julie Furlong

Julie is a highly skilled analyst with extensive experience across a range of specialized analytical techniques. Julie has particular expertise in analytical method development and problem solving and these skills will be used across the project. Her initial focus will be on developing stability-indicating analytical methodologies to support the proposed stability program and assays to enable dosimetric aerodynamic characterization techniques.

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