NJIT Researchers Work to Improve Pharmaceutical with Nanoparticles

NJIT’s NJ Center for Engineered Particulates has developed into an important resource for researchers and industries in the rapidly expanding areas of nanoparticles and nanocomposites.

The center, directed by Rajesh Dave, distinguished professor of chemical engineering,  is equipped with state-of-the-art electron microscopy capable of characterizing particles at the nano and submicron levels, and researchers work in partnership with industry to develop tailored particulate materials with unique properties.

Tailored particulate materials can be developed that are designed to have unique properties. These microscopic powders can form a barrier between a particle and its environment but can also change the functionality or the properties of the original host particles producing composites with a wide array of improved physical or chemical properties, such as dispersability, flowability, wettability, sinterability, size uniformity, proper morphology, reduced tendency for segregation, as well as having tailored electrical, electromagnetic, optical, thermal or other properties. Particulate products generate one trillion dollars annually in the US economy, in such industries as pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics, ceramics, defense, electronics and specialty chemicals.

He also leads the NJIT research team for the NSF-supported Engineering Research Center for Structured Organic Composites, a collaboration among the university, Rutgers University, Purdue University and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez which focuses on nanoscale particulates designed to produce better medicines and improve the ways in which drugs are manufactured. The team is developing pharmaceuticals with higher drug loadings and improved quality, as well as nano-sized drugs that are more water soluble, and can be administered as edible films.

The center supports a number of doctoral students who are working on pharmaceutical research:

Lauren Beach Lauren Beach is studying the flow properties of pharmaceutical powders to optimize manufacturing of solid dosage forms, such as pills and tablets. Using the dry particle coating technique developed at NJIT, she attaches nanoparticles to the surface of larger host particles to improve flow and handling properties, critical factors in both manufacturing and formulation of pharmaceuticals. Techniques such as near-infrared spectroscopy and positron emission particle tracking are used to measure results and to evaluate different methods used during the coating process.
Danny Danny To researches fluid-bed coating, a process which makes solid particles behave like liquids. He then coats the particles so that they behave differently -- in a way that leads to superior powders and drugs.
Maxx Maxx Capece is researching new methods to process fine active pharmaceutical ingredients and novel ways of characterizing them. His research could lead to the next generation of advanced dosage forms.
Xi Han Xi Han experiments with dry powders. In her research, she adds a layer of nano-particles to drug powders that make them smaller and leads to a better flow.  The nano-layers also improve the drug’s delivery and packing.  Her research could lead to drug particles with enhanced properties.
Chinmay Chinmay Ghoroi, a post-doctoral researcher, is developing tools to characterize and better understand drug powders. He studies how to improve the powder’s bulk density and how they flow.  Both are vital to the manufacture of drugs.
Laila Laila Jallo coats powders with nano-silica and nano-titania.  She uses magnetic equipment to improve and study the flow of the powders and see how they adhere to each other.  Her research could lead to new and superior drug development methods.