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Thomas D. Roper, Ph.D. - VCU College of Engineering. Biotech Eight, 4th floor, Room 420, Richmond, VA, US

Thomas D. Roper, Ph.D.

Director, Pharmaceutical Engineering| Engineering Foundation Professor, Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering | VCU College of Engineering

Biotech Eight, 4th floor, Room 420, Richmond, VA, UNITED STATES

Dr. Roper specializes in efforts to bring engineering and science closer to patients who utilize medicines via novel technologies.






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Dr. Thomas Roper is a professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Pharmaceutical Engineering program for the School of Engineering. He is the principal investigator for the Pharmaceuticals on Demand project at VCU, and collaborator on the Medicines for All initiative. His research interests are in the miniaturization of manufacturing footprints, including continuous chemistry and formulation technologies. Bringing science, technology, medicine and education close to the point of use is a major theme for his research efforts. Roper was previously with GSK Pharmaceuticals for 22 years where his past positions included “Head of API Chemistry and Analysis US” and “Global Head of Exploratory Development Sciences”.

Industry Expertise (6)


Writing and Editing

Health and Wellness




Areas of Expertise (9)

Metabolic Engineering and Biocatalysis

3D Printing of Dose Forms

Long Acting Therapy Development

Nanomaterials and Particle Sciences

Continuous Chemical Reaction Engineering

Cost Effective Therapeutic Treatments for the Developing World

Drug Development

Drug Discovery

Pharmaceutical Innovation

Accomplishments (1)

NIH Postdoctoral Fellow (professional)

2013 Harvard University

Education (3)

Harvard University: Postdoctoral Associate, Organic Chemistry 1993

Postdoctoral Associate in the laboratories of Professor E.J. Corey

University of Virginia: Ph.D., Organic Chemistry 1992

Virginia Commonwealth University: B.Sc., Chemistry 1986

Media Appearances (6)

Who shrank the drug factory? Briefcase-sized labs could transform medicine

Nature  online


A team of engineers at MIT immediately took the lead on a small-molecule system, one that was later handed off to the lab of synthetic organic chemist Thomas Roper at VCU. To Roper, who moved there after 22 years at drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, the DARPA contract was an opportunity to force radical change in a typically conservative industry.

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VCU will open nation’s first pharmaceutical engineering doctorate program

Commonwealth Times  print


Thomas Roper, a co-director of the program from the College of Engineering, has high hopes for the students coming out of this program. “We want them to be at the forefront of pharmaceutical engineering research, and really be able to apply engineering principles to future medicines that may be developed,” Roper said.

Two college faculty leaders standing in front of glass window with bottles displayed. of

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University in Virginia starts first US pharma engineering PhD

Cleanroom Technology  online


Thomas D Roper (L) and Sandro R da Rocha (R). Directors of the Center for Pharmaceutical Engineering at VCU.

Codirectors of new Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Pharmaceutical Engineering and Sciences.

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VCU launches Center for Pharmaceutical Engineering and Sciences

Virginia Business  online


The Center for Pharmaceutical Engineering and Sciences is a collaboration between the university’s School of Pharmacy and College of Engineering. Pharmaceutical engineering and sciences cover all aspects of the drug production process—from preclinical studies to manufacturing, formulation and packaging. “The idea is to translate this new knowledge and discoveries into real products,” says Sandro R.P. da Rocha, a professor in the School of Pharmacy. He has been named co-director of the center with Thomas D. Roper, who teaches in the College of Engineering.

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Innovative CIT Awards Projects Moving Forward

Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics Systems  online


For the second project, VCU professor Thomas Roper of the Department of Chemical and Life Sciences Engineering and his team are developing a secure automated refrigeration system for temperature-sensitive medications. Dr. Roper has finished preliminary engineering studies for his project, and is starting to determine the project’s commercial viability. “I’m grateful to CIT – they were great to deal with when we submitted our application, and have been very helpful to us in understanding how to best succeed with this project,” he said.

Dayanjan Wijesinghe (left) and Thomas Roper

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VCU steps up in state push for research collaboration with eye for commerce

Richmond Times-Dispatch  print


One, led by Thomas D. Roper, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Life Sciences Engineering, is developing a system of secure automated refrigeration units to store temperature-sensitive medications in portable compartments for quick access by hospital nursing staff.

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