Additive manufacturing of biodegradable drug delivery implants


Healthcare-acquired infections (HCAI) can develop as a result of healthcare interventions such as medical or surgical treatment, or from the interactions with healthcare staff and facilities. The ability to treat these infections is becoming increasingly problematic as the overuse of antibiotics to date has caused common pathogenic microorganisms to develop mechanisms for antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The rapid spread of these drug resistant microorganisms has caused traditional antimicrobial agents to become less effective. Chronic infections require long term therapeutic solutions and drug delivery devices that can be implanted or used as patches have the potential to reduce to deliver the dose of the drug in a sustained and controlled manner over extended periods, while eliminating the risk of patient non-compliance in taking oral medications.  Moreover, these site-specific implantation techniques can circumvent systemic toxicity issues and result in a higher concentration of drug at the target site.

There are several implantable drug delivery devices on the market today, however these are manufactured using non-biodegradable polymers which would need surgical removal once the reservoir is exhausted.  The use of biodegradable polymers would bypass the requirement for surgical removal.  Additive manufacturing processes such as 3D printing and electrospinning are promising in the development of highly controlled formulations which can be individualised to specific patients.

The aim of this studentship is to develop antimicrobial biodegradable implanted devices for infection control applications.  We will use drugs that are alternatives to antibotics, to avoid the rise in drug resistant bacteria.  The project will explore manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing and electrospinning to fabricate these drug delivery devices. 

This is a highly interdisciplinary project that sits at the interface between materials sciences and microbiology. The student will have the opportunity to attend University-run courses in relevant subject areas, as well as to interact with students and postdoctoral researchers from a wide range of scientific backgrounds.  Extensive training will be provided throughout the project as part of internationally renowned research teams.  The studentship will provide the candidate with a wide range of skills in basic science and translation that will strategically position them for a career in several different sectors. 






Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Self-funded project




  • Nitric Oxide-Releasing Titanium Surfaces for Antimicrobial Bone-Integrating Orthopaedic Implants M Li,  J Aveyard, G Fleming, JM Curran, F McBride, R Raval, and RA D’Sa ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces2020, 12, 20, 22433–22443


  1. Effect of Polymer Demixed Nanotopographies on Bacterial Adhesion and Biofilm Formation G Fleming, J Aveyard, JL Fothergill, F McBride, R Raval, RA D’Sa Polymers 2019, 11 (12), 1921
  2. Antimicrobial nitric oxide releasing contact lens gels for the treatment of microbial keratitis JL Aveyard, RC Deller, R Lace, RL Williams, SB Kaye, KN Kolegraff, J Curran and RA D’Sa ACS Mater and Interf. 2019, 11, 41, 37491-37501
  3. Nitric Oxide Releasing Polymeric Coatings for the Prevention of Biofilm Formation G Fleming, J Aveyard, JL Fothergill, F McBride, R Raval, RA D’Sa Polymers 2017, 9 (11), 601
  4. Modified Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles with Dual Synergetic Antibacterial Effect M Michailidis, IB Sorzabal, EA. Adamidou, J Aveyard, D Grigoriev, R Raval, RA D’Sa and D Shchukin ACS Mater and Interf. 2017, 9, 44, 38364–38372