School of Pharmacy
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Stephanie Allen

Professor of Pharmaceutical Biophysics, Director of Teaching & Learning, Faculty of Science

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Biography

After graduating from the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Nottingham (July 1993, Pharmacy - first class honours), I returned to the School for postgraduate study (October 1994). Supervised by Professor's M.C. Davies, S.J.B. Tendler, and Dr C.J. Roberts, my Ph.D studies aimed to develop methods for the measurement of single antigen-antibody interactions using atomic force microscopy. These studies helped pioneer the field of single biomolecule force spectroscopy in the UK, and we were amongst the first research groups, internationally, to publish research in this area. At the post-doctoral level (October 1997-Dec 1998) I was able to further develop this area of research for the spatial mapping of biomolecular interactions on immunoassay substrates, and for preliminary investigations of more complex biomolecular systems, including polymeric systems for tissue-engineering/drug-delivery. With fellow researchers I also developed our own instrumentation for high-resolution force measurement as commercial instruments for such experiments were not then available. This research enabled me to secure the 'Pfizer Lectureship in Pharmaceutical Sciences' post in the School of Pharmacy (from Jan 1999). I was promoted to Associate Professor and Reader in 2006 and to Professor of Pharmaceutical Biophysics in August 2016. Based within the multidisciplinary Molecular Therapeutics and Formulation (MTF) research division, I currently lead the experimental single molecule biophysics research area.

My research is driven by a desire to understand how biological processes work to the molecular level. I have a particular focus in exploring how this can be exploited for the development of new therapeutic approaches or new materials/devices for use within the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector (my industrial collaborators include/have included AstraZeneca, MedImmune, Novozymes, Janssen, Pfizer and Boots). My work involves the application and development of a range of advanced biophysical tools, such as atomic force microscopy (AFM) and optical tweezers, supported by more established approaches that include surface plasmon resonance (SPR), dynamic light scattering (DLS), rheology, size-exclusion chromatography and fluorescence spectroscopy.

Honours & Distinctions

Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (from 2018)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) (Recognised 2016)

GPhC registered Pharmacist (From Jan 2010 (since GPhC established))

Glaxo-SmithKline International Achievement Award 2003 (Joint winner)

Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (1994-2018)

Teaching Summary

I am Director of Teaching and Learning (DoTL) within the School of Pharmacy. Since becoming DoTL (2012), I have overseen the implementation of our new clinically integrated Pharmacy (MPharm) degree… read more

Research Summary

My research is driven by a desire to understand how biological processes work to the molecular level. I have a particular focus in exploring how this can be exploited for the development of new… read more

Recent Publications

I am Director of Teaching and Learning (DoTL) within the School of Pharmacy. Since becoming DoTL (2012), I have overseen the implementation of our new clinically integrated Pharmacy (MPharm) degree (launched Sept 2012 in UNUK and UNMC (2+2 version)), requiring careful management of the transition between the old and new curricula. The first cohort from this new 4 year MPharm graduated in 2016. I also have led several additional educational innovations including the launch of the UK's first 5 year MPharm degree, which integrates the mandatory clinical pre-registration element (shortlisted for a 2014 Guardian University award (Teaching Excellence Category)) and the establishment of the first UK-China joint Pharmacy course with Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TUTCM) (shortlisted for a 2017 Times Higher Education Award (International Collaboration of the Year)). 33 students commenced this latter course in Sept 2015, with 28 joining us in Nottingham in Sept 2017 to complete their BSc International Pharmacy studies. The first cohort of students graduated from the 5 Year MPharm in July 2017, and from the BSc International Pharmacy in July 2019.

Other courses launched during my DoTL tenure include our MSc Drug Discovery and Pharmaceutical Sciences (launched Sept 2012 and accredited by the RSC in 2017) and a MSci Pharmaceutical Sciences (launched Sept 2017); a 2 year version of our MSc Drug Discovery was also launched in Sept 2018. Since 2016 we have also run a 3 week summer school for students from TUTCM (student numbers have increased each year from 40 in 2016 to 60 in 2019).

Through our curriculum initiatives, I have made a leading and strategic contribution to maintaining the School's reputation as a pioneer in Pharmacy education. The quality of our Pharmacy education is clearly evident in current league table and NSS performances (8th in the 2019 QS World Rankings; 94% 'Overall Satisfaction' NSS Score in 2019). The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) have also recognized the high quality of both our new MPharm curricula; our accreditation status for both remains at the highest level (no conditions or recommendations) and the 5 year version was the first of its kind in the UK to gain full accreditation status (in 2017)).

Current Research

My research is driven by a desire to understand how biological processes work to the molecular level. I have a particular focus in exploring how this can be exploited for the development of new therapeutic approaches or new materials/devices for use within the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector (my industrial collaborators include/have included AstraZeneca, MedImmune, Novozymes, Janssen, Pfizer and Boots). My work involves the application and development of a range of advanced biophysical tools, such as atomic force microscopy (AFM) and optical tweezers, supported by more established approaches that include surface plasmon resonance (SPR), dynamic light scattering (DLS), rheology, size-exclusion chromatography and fluorescence spectroscopy.

My research activities have resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed research articles in international scientific journals, and many invitations (national and international) to present at conferences and give seminars at academic institutions including the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, California Institute of Technology (CalTech)) and University of Munich.

Supervision and Collaborative Studies: I have supervised more than 50 PhD students to the completion of their studies; 21 as principal supervisor (PI) and 29 as co-supervisor (CI). Through externally funded research projects (ca. £9M total; £2.2M (PI), £6.8M (CI)) I have also supervised/managed more than 15 postdoctoral members of staff.

External Committees and Panels: Recent appointments include as a member of the BBSRC ALERT equipment panels (2013, 2014 and 2018) and a member of the BBSRC Exploring New Ways of Working portfolio analysis group (since 2012). Through active membership of the BBSRC's Bioprocessing Research Industry Club (BRIC), I was elected as an initial member of the management board for the BioProNET, bioprocessing network (a BBSRC NIBB (Network in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy), co-sponsored by the EPSRC). As an initial member I was involved in writing the application to fund this project (£1.3M PI Mark Smales (Kent)) and I was a member of the management board until Autumn 2016. Within the American Vacuum Society (AVS), the premier international society for Surface and Interface Science, I was an elected executive committee member of the Biomaterial Interfaces Division (BID) (2015-2017) and was the BID Program-Chair for the 2016 International Symposium (AVS 63 Nashville). I am currently a member of the Royal Microscopy Society's Scanning Probe Microscopy Section Committee (from 2016).

School of Pharmacy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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