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UCL School of Pharmacy

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Dr Dario Carugo

Dr Dario Carugo

Lecturer

Pharmaceutics

UCL School of Pharmacy

Joined UCL
24th Aug 2020

Research summary

Dario’s research focuses in three complementary areas:

(1) Ultrasound-mediated Therapies. The non-specific action of systemic therapeutic agents frequently results in reduced treatment effectiveness and further detriment to patient health. Ultrasound responsive micro- and nano-carriers provide a dynamic means of drug delivery, with high temporal and spatial specificity, whilst limiting adverse systemic side-effects. In our group, we engineer ultrasound-responsive drug carriers for application in the treatment of bone fractures or as bioactive adjuvants in the treatment of bacterial biofilms in chronic wounds. We also develop bio-physical models to investigate the efficacy of these agents under conditions that mimic their end-point application.  

 

(2) Interventional Medicine. When assessing the efficacy of new therapeutic agents and medical devices, it is important that real-life conditions are replicated accurately before in vivo testing. In our group, we develop biomimetic and fluidic models to evaluate the pharmacokinetics and flow behaviour of therapeutic agents, including chemo-embolic microparticles and sclerosing foams. We also design computational and experimental models to investigate the role of flow dynamics on the formation of crystalline biofilms in endourological devices (i.e. ureteric stents and catheters).

(3) Scalable and Cost-Effective Flow Reactors. Microfluidic reactor technology has emerged as a valuable tool for organic and inorganic synthesis. There are however challenges that may limit widespread adoption of microfluidic reactors, including high manufacturing costs, limited lifetime, and low production rates. To overcome these limitations, we develop microfluidic platforms with improved cost-effectiveness, ease of use, and utility in non-specialised environments. We use numerical and experimental methods to design and manufacture a range of reactor technologies, including up-scaled (millifluidic) reactors, ultrasound-activated (sonofluidic) mixers, and reactors-in-a-centrifuge. We employ these devices to produce inorganic nanoparticles and drug delivery systems, including liposomes, niosomes, polymeric micelles, and ultrasound contrast agents.

Biography

Dario holds BSc and MSc degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano (Italy), where he specialised in Biological Fluid Dynamics & Bio-Machines. In 2012, he obtained a PhD in Bioengineering Sciences at the University of Southampton, where he worked on the development of microfluidic-based models to investigate the physico-chemical behaviour of intravascular therapeutic agents. He subsequently worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southampton (funded by an EPSRC Doctoral Prize) and at the University of Oxford (BUBBL group, Institute of Biomedical Engineering). In this period, he developed acoustofluidic devices to investigate the bio-physical behaviour and therapeutic efficacy of ultrasound-responsive drug delivery vehicles. In Oxford, he also held a Junior Research Fellowship in Engineering at Jesus College. In 2016, he was awarded a New Frontiers Fellowship by the University of Southampton (Department of Mechanical Engineering), where he founded the Micro & Nano Therapies (MiNaTher.) research group. In Southampton, he was subsequently appointed to a lecturership in 2018. In 2020, he joined the UCL School of Pharmacy (Department of Pharmaceutics) as a Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology and Nanofabrication. Dario is an editorial board member for the journals Biomedical Microdevices, Scientific Reports, and Micromachines.

Publications