UCL School of Pharmacy


Dr Atheer Awad named in Forbes Under 30 list

20 May 2022

One of the fourteen people from the UCL community named on the Top 30 under 30 list is Dr Atheer Awad, Research Fellow in the UCL School of Pharmacy. Atheer was named in the Science category for her work in 3D printing.

Alongside colleagues in the School of Pharmacy’s Basit Lab, and collaborators in the UCL spinout FabRx, she uses 3D printing to rethink how drugs are manufactured to account for individual patients' needs. Using computer-aided design software, she has created 3D medicines with Braille patterns and different shapes to help visually impaired patients, as well as personalised dosages, such as combining multiple medications within pellets, to simplify administration.

Dr Atheer Awad

Atheer's work has been focused on creating personalised medications for specific patients groups using various 3D printing technologies. For instance, she design and developed 3D printed tablets, termed Printlets, for blind and visually impaired patients. The Printlets had Braille or Moon patterns on their surfaces, enabling patients to identify their medications even when taken out of their original packages.

She has also worked on developing flexible dosage forms in the form of 3D printed pellets, termed MiniPrintlets, which can be used for easy administration to patients from different age groups, including paediatric or elderly patients, or those with swallowing difficulties (e.g., dysphasia patients).

Despite being small, the MiniPrintlets could contain multiple drugs where each drug can be programmed to exhibit its therapeutic activity individually and at a different rate. This is very useful in the case of patients suffering from several chronic diseases, simplifying medication intake and making it easier for them to adhere to the treatment regime.

Currently, Atheer is working on developing novel 3D printed treatments as part of the INTERREG 2 Seas Mers Zeeën project for site specific drug delivery. In particular, she is focusing on the local delivery of therapeutic agents to the colon for the treatment of irritable bowel disease (IBD) in safer and more efficacious way, avoiding unwanted systemic side effects or invasive interventions.

Atheer said: “I am really honoured and humbled by this recognition. I wouldn’t have achieved any of this if it wasn’t for the great support and care I have been surrounded by the Basit Research Group, my UCL family and my loved ones at home."

Professor Abdul Basit added: “ I am delighted that Atheer has achieved such esteemed recognition being part of this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30. It is a reflection of her hard work, passion and vision for the future of personalised medicines.”

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