UCL Faculty of Life Sciences


Diane Burgess, PhD

Diane completed her PhD within the London School of Pharmacy in 1984, and is a Distinguished Professor and Pfizer Distinguished Chair of Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Connecticut.

Diane Burgess
What inspired you to study at UCL?

I wanted to go to a top School of Pharmacy in the UK and the London School of Pharmacy was definitley one of the very top schools. I also wanted the experience of studying and living in London! 

What attracted you to this degree?

Initially I studied Pharmacy as I was keen on Chemistry, and Pharmacy was a good career option. As I got into my Pharmacy degree I realised that I was very excited and curious about the scientific research aspect as my career option. Accordingly, I wanted to continue my studies and do a PhD degree. I graduated from the School of Pharmacy with my PhD degree in the Faculty of Medicine, as the School of Pharmacy was then an independent School, but came under the Faculty of Medicine.

What did you enjoy most about studying in London?

I loved the small school aspect of The London School of Pharmacy, which felt like a family. I also loved the culture of being in London and enjoying city life as a student, getting student tickets to great west end plays and seeing fantastics art exhibitions.  

What is your favourite memory of UCL?

There are many. The School of Pharmacy junior common room events on Friday nights, a group of us going swimming in the UCL swimming pool, when my research experiments finally starting working! Great friendships with students, staff and faculty.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students?

Study hard but also enjoy your time. It's a great time to make lasting friendships. Enjoy the city. They say your students days are the best days of your life... it doesn't always fell like that at the time, but later you will think back and yes they are really great times that should be savored.

What is you current job title and company name

Distinguished Professor and Pfizer Distinguished Chair of Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Connecticut, USA

Please provide a brief summary of your core duties and the skills you use

Research and teaching on pharmaceutical sciences. As well as teaching and research, managing a research group is a large part of what I do. 

Briefly describe your journey, from graduating to where you are now

After graduating, I did a postdoctoral fellowship, initially at the University of Amsterdam and then at Nottingham, UK. I then moved to the US to the University of North Carolina as an Assistant Research Professor in 1995, and from there to the University of Illinois at Chicago 1996 as an Assistant Professor, and was promoted to an Associate Professor. I was then recruited to the University of Connecticut and joined in 1993, promoted to Full Professor in 1999 and to Distinguished Professor in 2009. It become the Pfizer Distinguished Chair of Pharmaceutical Technology in 2018. I also started my own company, DIANT Pharma, in 2019 with Dr. Antonio Costa. DIANT Pharma is a pharmaceutical engineering company that specialised in continuous manufacturing of complex parenteral drug products (such  as the lipid nanoparticles that are used for the Covid 19 vaccines). 

How do you think UCL has helped you in your career to date?

Without my Ph.D. I could not have had the career I have had. Graduating from UCL has certainly helped me to achieve and given me confidence in all that I do.