Research User Engagement
The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is heavily involved in delivering the wider benefits of our research to the UK economy and society, through funding, licensing and spinout companies. We also have influenced policy and healthcare matters.
Microneedle devices have the potential to replace conventional needle and syringes for delivering drugs and vaccines in a minimally invasive, pain-free and self-administrable manner.
Since 2000, Dr Birchall has been working with colleagues within The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to design, manufacture and pre-clinically and clinically test microneedles. Strategic collaborations with international experts in the engineering, pharmaceutical, clinical and immunological sciences have resulted in major grant successes and publications co-authored with world-leading institutions and public bodies (including Yale, Stanford, Emory, GeorgiaTech and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CDC).
Dr Birchall is a Lead Investigator on an NIH-funded grant programme testing microneedle devices for immunisation against pandemic influenza (collaborative grant award of $3.62M) and a partner on an EU-funded clinical-phase programme using microneedles to deliver antigen-specific immunotherapy against type 1 diabetes (collaborative grant award of €6M).
A leading international profile in this area led to Dr Birchall being invited to act as a Temporary Advisor to The World Health Organisation to asses the role of microneedles for vaccination in the developing world and selection as one of 12 international Key Opinion Leaders to contribute to a report commissioned by PATH and WHO on the potential impact of intra-dermal vaccine delivery for low and middle income countries.
Dr Birchall is also co-founder of the International Conference on Microneedles series; playing a principal role in establishing and growing the international microneedle research community (340 delegates from over 30 countries attended our first two conferences). We have also been leaders in public engagement in microneedle research through publishing novel data on public and healthcare practitioner opinions on microneedle technology to the scientific community and disseminating our research to the wider community through national media broadcasts and print (including BBC, Independent, Daily Mail and Sunday Times). The technological advances developed at Cardiff University have led to the filing of two patent applications.