Dr Harding is a postdoctoral researcher based in the School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering at UCD, looking at the use of additively manufactured platforms for use in continuous manufacturing and continuous purification. His undergraduate degree was in Chemistry. After working in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry in analytical chemistry and process analytical technology (PAT) he undertook a PhD at Loughborough University in the fields of additive manufacturing and flow chemistry, integrating online analytical methods for reaction optimisation. His main research interests are in continuous manufacturing/flow chemistry with integrated analysis for real time reaction understanding and control.
Research Interests (Lay Summary)
Additive manufacturing allows the production of parts that are expensive and difficult or even impossible to produce through ordinary manufacturing methods. This can allow customisable pieces that are tailored to allow easy integration of different synthetic and purification steps in a small footprint, at low cost and directly in the laboratory.
Continuous manufacturing/flow chemistry offers advantages of improved safety due to enhanced heat transfer as well as cost and throughput improvements when compared to batch manufacturing. It has further advantages for the integration of analytical methods directly into the process as it is generally performed using fully dissolved reagents.
Fully telescoped continuous manufacturing processes eliminate the need for crystallization, isolation and drying in-between synthetic steps that are often the slowest, most manually intensive and highly variable processes in pharmaceutical manufacturing. As such, fully telescoped manufacturing routes could significantly enhance process throughput.
Combining all these steps for a complete end-to-end route is difficult and requires complicated parts that are not always available. Additive manufacturing can allow them to be produced and, when coupled with computational approaches, enable bespoke parts with tailored mixing elements, analytical monitoring capability and other features for each application. Research in this area could allow for large scale manufacturing within a laboratory scale footprint.