PhD Student

Prof. dr. ir. Ingmar Nopens - Ghent University
Prof. dr. Thomas De Beer - Ghent University

Research background

Traditionally, production of pharmaceuticals is realized using batch processing steps which can be fairly inefficient, time-consuming and poorly upscalable. Recent clarification by the regulatory authorities as well as the industry have accelerated the search for new manufacturing technologies. Consequently, a transition towards continuous manufacturing which includes real-time process monitoring and closed-loop control, has gained tremendous attention over the past few years. This because of the economic, environmental, safety and product-related advantages of a continuous manufacturing line. Driven by this change in mind-set, an innovative continuous from powder-to-tablet line (ConsiGmaTM-25, ColletteTM, GEA Pharma Systems) was developed for secondary manufacturing of pharmaceutical tablets.

Research objective

Previous and current studies at this research group are mainly focusing on the development of advanced measurement tools, which allow for real-time monitoring, and first principle models to ensure an improved understanding of the different phenomena occurring during processing. The objective is to improve the current models for prediction of granule size distributions in the twin-screw wet granulator using population balance models.

Research methodology

The main part of the research revolves around population balance modelling. This theory allows the temporal and spatial prediction of particle size distribution dynamics undergoing certain mechanisms such as aggregation and breakage. A part of the research is more focused on industrial application: calibration and validation of PBM models on relevant formulations, whereas other parts of the work are more theoretical: indentifiability and optimal experimental design for population balance models.

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