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Professor James Birchall

Professor James Birchall

Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Deputy Head of School

School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


  • PhD: Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University (1998)
  • MRPharmS: Professional registration (1994)
  • Pharmacy degree (BPharm): First Class Honours, Bath University (1993)

Career profile

  • August 2014 - Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences.
  • July 2013 - Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University.
  • Aug 2010 - June 2013  Reader in Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University.
  • Aug 2007 - July 2010  Senior Lecturer in Drug Delivery, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University.
  • Feb 2001 - July 2007 Lecturer in Drug Delivery, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University.
  • Mar 2006 - Present Honorary Senior Lecturer and Research Pharmacist, Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust.
  • Jul 2005 - Aug 2005  Visiting Researcher, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Feb 2000 - Feb 2001 Teaching Fellow, Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University.
  • Mar 1998 - Feb 2000 Research Associate, Drug Delivery Research Group, Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University.
  • Aug 1994 - Present Locum Pharmacist, Various locations.
  • Aug 1993 - Jul 1994 Pre-Registration Pharmacist, Abbott Laboratories Ltd., Kent; St. Georges Hospital, London.

Committees and reviewing

Research and Engagement Committee




















  • PH1121  Molecule to patient
  • PH1122  The role of the pharmacist in professional practice
  • PH1123  Structure and function of cells and microbes
  • PH2113  Diseases and drugs I
  • PH3110  Optimisation of pharmaceutical care
  • PH3113  Diseases and drugs II
  • PH3114  Design, formulation and quality assurance of medicinal products
  • PH4116  Pharmacy research or scholarship project
  • PH4117  Pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacy practice and the population
  • PH4118  Pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacy practice and the patient

Research interests

Enhanced delivery of therapeutic macromolecules to the skin via microfabricated microneedles

The skin epidermis represents an appropriate target for the delivery of low molecular weight drugs, vaccines, biopharmaceuticals and gene based therapies. The skin, however, is characterised by poor permeability. Microfabricated microneedle arrays are designed to pierce the stratum corneum skin barrier layer in a minimally invasive and pain-free manner to provide transient pathways for the delivery of macromolecules to the underlying skin epidermis.

Delivery of formations via pulmonary routes

Although non-viral gene vectors are capable of mediating gene transfer both in vitro and in vivo following nebulisation, the delivery efficiency of conventional nebuliser systems is greatly reduced due to the restrictions of the device and the physico-chemical characteristics of the particles at elevated concentrations in the nebuliser reservoir.  While newer nebuliser technologies are under development, pressurised metered-dose inhalers (pMDIs) and dry powder inhalers (DPIs) may provide more viable alternatives for delivering therapeutically active macromolecules, particularly genes, to the lung.



  • Dr Alexander Anstey (Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust)
  • Dr Chris Gateley (Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust)


Key expertise

  • Ex vivo human skin organ culture
  • Light and electron microscopy
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Pharmaceutical formulation
  • Cell transfection and gene expression analysis

Research funding

Over £10 million in external grant funding from a broad range of sources including Research Councils (BBSRC and EPSRC postgraduate and postdoctoral funding), the pharmaceutical industry, government bodies and charities.

Current supervision

Emma Baczowski

Emma Baczkowski

Research student

Peter Hansal

Peter Hansal

Research student

Adnan Al-Dalaty

Research student