Harnessing the power of emerging technologies like 3D printing has enormous potential for healthcare. Atheer Awad’s vision for her research is very clear: “3D printing will pave the way for a future where medications are customised, accessible and effective for every individual,” she says.
“It has the potential to improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs and revolutionise the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.”
Atheer received her Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy at the Applied Science University, Jordan, in 2015. She then pursued a Master of Science degree in 2016, before going on to complete a PhD in pharmaceutics at University College London in 2020, where her work focused on the use of 3D printing to create dosage forms and medicated devices for special patient groups.
Atheer has published extensively, with more than 25 high-quality papers (h-index 18) and her expertise in personalised and transformative medicines is currently being directed towards application in site-specific drug. She has been invited to deliver more than 20 presentations, including research talks and posters, at national and international conferences. She has also received multiple awards and honours, the most notable being Clarivate’s ‘Highly Cited Researcher’ and Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ (Europe – Science and Healthcare), both in 2022.
Atheer’s research is aimed to solve tangible, real-world problems where innovative technology is applied in practice for the benefits of patients and describes how 3D printing has been used to solve medicines accessibility problems faced by visually impaired patients.
“We were able to create 3D printed tablets, or what we call ‘printlets’ that incorporate brail or moon patterns on their surface,” she says. “So these tactile features allow visually impaired patients to independently identify and distinguish different medications, even when taken out of their original packages, empowering them to manage their own healthcare effectively,” Atheer explains. “We also designed these printlets to disintegrate in the mouth within a few seconds, allowing the patients to take them without the need for water.”
Atheer’s current focus is on bringing her vision for personalised medicine to life and is establishing a research group at the University of Hertfordshire and expanding her work into other areas related to healthcare technology, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and 3D modelling.
For aspiring pharmacy researchers, she has the following words of advice: “Don’t be scared to challenge the boundaries of science or the norms within pharmacy and pharmaceutical practice, try to be brave, be challenging and be creative.”
“Twenty-three publications in Q1 journals with impressive h-index and citation count. Very strong examples of creativity, independence and innovation presented.”
Awad A, Hollis E, Goyanes A et al. 3D printed multi-drug-loaded suppositories for acute severe ulcerative colitis. Int J Pharm 2023. In press. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpx.2023.100165
Abdalla Y, Elbadawi M, Ji M et al. Machine learning using multi-modal data predicts the production of selective laser sintered 3D printed drug products. Int J Pharm 2023;633:122628. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2023.122628
McCoubrey LE, Favaron A, Awad A et al. Colonic drug delivery: Formulating the next generation of colon-targeted therapeutics. J Control Release 2023;353:1107–1126. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2022.12.029
Awad A, Goyanes A, Basit AW et al. A review on the state-of-the-art enabling manufacturing processes for precision medicine. J Manuf Sci Eng 2023;145(1):010802. doi: 10.1177/20417314231187113
Rodriguez-Pombo L, Awad A, Basit AW et al. Innovations in chewable formulations: the novelty and applications of 3D printing in drug product design. Pharmaceutics 2022;14(8):1732. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics14081732
Trenfield SJ, Awad A, McCoubrey LE et al. Advancing pharmacy and healthcare with virtual digital technologies. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2022;182:114098. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2021.114098
Awad A, Madla CM, McCoubrey LE et al. Clinical translation of advanced colonic drug delivery technologies. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2022;181:114076. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2021.114076
Awad A, Trenfield SJ, Pollard TD et al. Connected healthcare: Improving patient care using digital health technologies. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2021;178:113958. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2021.113958
Xu X, Seijo-Rabina A, Awad A et al. Smartphone-enabled 3D printing of medicines. Int J Pharm 2021;609:121199. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2021.121199
Awad A, Fina F, Goyanes A et al. Advances in powder bed fusion 3D printing in drug delivery and healthcare. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2021;174:406–424. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2021.04.025
Awad A, Fina F, Goyanes A et al. 3D printing: Principles and pharmaceutical applications of selective laser sintering. Int J Pharm 2020;586:119594. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2020.119594
Awad A, Yao A, Trenfield SJ et al. 3D printed tablets (printlets) with braille and moon patterns for visually impaired patients. Pharmaceutics 2020;12(2):172. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics12020172
Xu X, Awad A, Martinez PR et al. Vat photopolymerization 3D printing for advanced drug delivery and medical device applications. J Control Release 2021;329:743–757. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2020.10.008
Ong JJ, Awad A, Martorana A et al. 3D printed opioid medicines with alcohol-resistant and abuse-deterrent properties. Int J Pharm 2020;579:119169. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2020.119169
Awad A, Fina F, Trenfield SJ et al. 3D printed pellets (miniprintlets): a novel, multi-drug, controlled release platform technology. Pharmaceutics 2019;11(4):148. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics11040148
Robles-Martinez P, Xu X, Trenfield SJ et al. 3D printing of a multi-layered polypill containing six drugs using a novel stereolithographic method. Pharmaceutics 2019;11(6):274. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics11060274
Trenfield SJ, Awad A, Madla CM et al. Shaping the future: recent advances of 3D printing in drug delivery and healthcare. Expert Opin Drug Deliv 2019;16(10):1081–1094. doi: 10.1080/17425247.2019.1660318
Trenfield SJ, Tan HX, Awad A et al. Track-and-trace: Novel anti-counterfeit measures for 3D printed personalized drug products using smart material inks. Int J Pharm 2019;567:118443. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2019.06.034
Awad A, Trenfield SJ, Gaisford S & Basit AW. 3D printed medicines: A new branch of digital healthcare. Int J Pharm 2018;548(1):586–596. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2018.07.024
Fina F, Goyanes A, Madla CM et al. 3D printing of drug-loaded gyroid lattices using selective laser sintering. Int J Pharm 2018;547(1-2):44–52. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2018.05.044
Awad A, Trenfield SJ, Goyanes A et al. Reshaping drug development using 3D printing. Drug Discov Today 2018;23(8):1547–1555. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2018.05.025
Trenfield SJ, Awad A, Goyanes A et al. 3D printing pharmaceuticals: drug development to frontline care. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2018;39(5):440–451. doi: 10.1016/j.tips.2018.02.006
Goyanes A, FernÃndez-Ferreiro A, Majeed A et al. PET/CT imaging of 3D printed devices in the gastrointestinal tract of rodents. Int J Pharm 2018;536:158–164. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2017.11.055
Submitted: Awad, A et al. 3D printing of rectal products containing a monoclonal antibody. Int J Pharm 2023