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Ali Al-Khattawi - Aston University. Birmingham, , GB

Ali Al-Khattawi

Lecturer in Pharmaceutics | Aston University


Dr Al-Khattawi's research interests are on the development of innovative particle design and fabrication strategies.






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Dr Al-Khattawi joined Aston University as a Lecturer in Pharmaceutics in 2016. His research interests are centred on the development of innovative particle design and fabrication strategies that can contribute to the future precision manufacturing of pharmaceutical products.

Ali has expertise in pharmaceutical particle engineering gained throughout several industrially focused projects. His group has expertise in pharmaceutical spray drying for solubility enhancement, control of particle structure, meso and macro-porous carriers for drug delivery as well as other novel particle manufacturing and characterization techniques. They also support the industry on a regular basis through the development of new technical solutions.

Areas of Expertise (4)


Pharmaceutical Products

Pharmaceutical Particle Engineering

Fabrication Strategies

Accomplishments (2)

International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council (IPEC) Research Excellence Award


Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) – Process Technology Group Award, Sheffield


Education (4)

Aston University - Aston Pharmacy School: PhD, Pharmaceutics / Drug Delivery 2014

Aston University - Centre for Learning Innovation and Professional Practice (CLIPP): Postgraduate Teaching Certificate 2013

Kingston University - School of Pharmacy and Chemistry: MS, Pharmaceutical Sciences 2010

University of Baghdad - School of Pharmacy: BS, Pharmacy 2007

Articles (3)

Delivery of Poorly Soluble Drugs via Mesoporous Silica: Impact of Drug Overloading on Release and Thermal Profiles


2019 Among the many methods available for solubility enhancement, mesoporous carriers are generating significant industrial interest. Owing to the spatial confinement of drug molecules within the mesopore network, low solubility crystalline drugs can be converted into their amorphous counterparts, which exhibit higher solubility. This work aims to understand the impact of drug overloading, i.e., above theoretical monolayer surface coverage, within mesoporous silica on the release behaviour and the thermal properties of loaded drugs. The study also looks at the inclusion of hypromellose acetate succinate (HPMCAS) to improve amorphisation. Various techniques including DSC, TGA, SEM, assay and dissolution were employed to investigate critical formulation factors of drug-loaded mesoporous silica prepared at drug loads of 100–300% of monolayer surface coverage, i.e., monolayer, double layer and triple layer coverage. A significant improvement in the dissolution of both Felodipine and Furosemide was obtained (96.4% and 96.2%, respectively). However, incomplete drug release was also observed at low drug load in both drugs, possibly due to a reversible adsorption to mesoporous silica. The addition of a polymeric precipitation inhibitor HPMCAS to mesoporous silica did not promote amorphisation. In fact, a partial coating of HPMCAS was observed on the exterior surface of mesoporous silica particles, which resulted in slower release for both drugs.

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Quality by Design (QbD) based process optimisation to develop functionalised particles with modified release properties using novel dry particle coating technique


2018 Quality by Design (QbD), a current trend employed to develop and optimise various critical pharmaceutical processes, is a systematic approach based on the ethos that quality should be designed into the product itself, not just end tested after manufacture. The present work details a step-wise application of QbD principles to optimise process parameters for production of particles with modified functionalities, using dry particle coating technology. Initial risk assessment identified speed, air pressure, processing time and batch size (independent factors) as having high-to-medium impact on the dry coating process. A design of experiments (DOE) using MODDE software employed a D-optimal design to determine the effect of variations in these factors on identified responses (content uniformity, dissolution rate, particle size and intensity of Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) C = O spectrum). Results showed that batch size had the most significant effect on dissolution rate, particle size and FTIR; with an increase in batch size enhancing dissolution rate, decreasing particle size (depicting absence of coated particles) and increasing the FTIR intensity. While content uniformity was affected by various interaction terms, with speed and batch size having the highest negative effect. Optimal design space for producing functionalised particles with optimal properties required maximum air pressure (40psi), low batch size (6g), speed between 850 to 1500 rpm and processing times between 15 to 60 minutes. The validity and predictive ability of the revised model demonstrated reliability for all experiments. Overall, QbD was demonstrated to provide an expedient and cost effective tool for developing and optimising processes in the pharmaceutical industry.

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Understanding the compaction behaviour of Low-substituted HPC: Macro, micro and nano-metric evaluations

Pharmaceutical Development and Technology

2017 The fast development in materials science has resulted in the emergence of new pharmaceutical materials with superior physical and mechanical properties. Low-substituted hydroxypropyl cellulose is an ether derivative of cellulose and is praised for its multi-functionality as a binder, disintegrant, film coating agent and as a suitable material for medical dressings. Nevertheless, very little is known about the compaction behaviour of this polymer. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the compaction and disintegration behaviour of four grades of L-HPC namely; LH32, LH21, LH11 and LHB1. The macrometric properties of the four powders were studied and the compaction behaviour was evaluated using the out-of-die method. LH11 and LH22 showed poor flow properties as the powders were dominated by fibrous particles with high aspect ratios, which reduced the powder flow. LH32 showed a weak compressibility profile and demonstrated a large elastic region, making it harder for this polymer to deform plastically. These findings are supported by AFM which revealed the high roughness of LH32 powder (100.09±18.84 nm), resulting in small area of contact, but promoting mechanical interlocking. On the contrary, LH21 and LH11 powders had smooth surfaces which enabled larger contact area and higher adhesion forces of 21.01±11.35 nN and 9.50±5.78 nN respectively. This promoted bond formation during compression as LH21 and LH11 powders had low strength yield.

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