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Dr. Laurence Fitzhenry

Title:

Lecturer and Researcher, Department of Science; Prinicipal Investigator Ocular Therapeutics Research Group (OTRG)

School/ Department:

School of Science & Computing - Dept of Science

Room Name/ Num:

312 1969 - Main Building

Campus:

Main Campus

My Blog/Website:

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My Biography

Dr Laurence Fitzhenry is a Lecturer in Chemistry at the Department of Science, WIT and Principal Investigator of the Ocular Therapeutics Research Group (OTRG) at the PMBRC.

He received a BSc (Hons) Degree in Applied Chemistry with Quality Management (first class honours) and a PhD in polymer and analytical chemistry from WIT in 2007 and 2011, respectively. The subject of his IRCSET-funded PhD thesis was molecularly imprinted polymers for the controlled release and selective sensing of pharmaceutical actives. Dr Fitzhenry conducted his postdoctoral research at the PMBRC from October 2011 to January 2013 on the development of contact lenses for the controlled release of pharmaceutical actives. He subsequently became an Enterprise Ireland-funded Technology Leader at the PMBRC where, as well as continuing his research activities, he worked on various projects for industry partners including, Eirgen, Bausch & Lomb, Xeolas, Waters, Pinewood and Heraeus Metal Processing, until he became an academic staff member in September 2014.

Dr Fitzhenry is currently supervising six postgraduate students, having previously supervised three PhD candidates to completion, as well as mentoring six postdoctoral researchers. He has presented at national and international conferences, filed four invention disclosures and submitted 3 patent applications. He has secured over €5 million in research funding to date from Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Research Council and European funding initiatives. His commercialisation research has resulted in a spin out company from WIT, OcuDel, which develops advanced drug delivery technologies. He is currently a participant on Phase 2 of the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development programme that focusses on further developing this start-up company

Research

Research interests

  • Chemistry
  • Polymer chemistry
  • Drug delivery and formulation
  • Biocompatible materials
  • Materials science
  • Functional materials
  • Molecularly imprinted polymers
  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Intelligent polymers
  • Medical devices
  • Commercialisation and entrepreneurship

 

 

Research Networks

Title

Role

Funding body

Ocular Research By Integrated Training And Learning – ORBITAL

Coordinator  & WIT PI

EU H2020 R&I, MSCA-ITN – No. 813440

3D-NEONET – Drug Discovery and Delivery Network for Oncology and Eye Therapeutics

PI in WIT

EU H2020 R&I, MSCA-RISE - No. 7374907

Research projects

Title

Role

Funding body

Mentored researchers

Ocular Drug Delivery Using Smart Nanomaterials – OcuDel (ongoing)

PI

Enterprise Ireland - CF

Two postdoctoral researchers

Development of prototype contact lens for the treatment of a wide range of acute and chronic ocular inflamatory conditions (completed)

Co-PI

Science Foundation Ireland - TIDA

Two postdoctoral researchers

Extraction of high value components from co-processing streams (completed)

Co-PI

Enterprise Ireland

Two postdoctoral researchers

Postgraduate students

Student

Thesis

Degree type

Expected year of completion

Dan Nguyen

Development of nanoparticle-loaded contact lenses for the treatment of diseases of the eye.

PhD

2021

Mahduri Dandamudi

Novel Nanomaterials for Ocular Drug Delivery

PhD

2022

Sarn-ii Baru

Antimicrobial Nanocomposites for Biofilm and Encrustation Prevention in Medical Applications

PhD

2021

 Saoirse Casey-Power

 Nano-enhanced contact lenses for the controlled release of ocular therapeutics

PhD

2023

 Sreeraj Manikandan

Investigating the role of glatiramer in the treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

PhD

2023

Butsabarat Klahan

Innovative nanomaterials for drug delivery to the eye

PhD

2023

Alysha Chua

An Investigation of the Bioactivity of Cyanobacterial Exometabolites in Plant Stress Tolerance

PhD

2019 (completed)

Nireeksha Karode

Supercritical fluid assisted cleaning of medical polymers for microstructural homogenization and mechanical performance enhancement

PhD

2018 (completed)

David Phelan

Developing contact lenses for controlled ocular drug delivery

PhD

2015 (completed)

Grant history

  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions European Training Network – ORBITAL (Ocular Research By Integrated Teaching And Learning) – Coordinator and consortium lead (2018) €4,066,000
  • WIT President’s  PhD Scholarship Programme: Laurence Fitzhenry, Rani, S, Coffey, L., Logan, A., Kaja, S., Kent, D. The role of Glatiramer in the treatment of AMD (2018) €66,000
  • WIT President’s PhD Scholarship Programme: Laurence Fitzhenry, Lee Coffey, Sangeeta Kumari & Gautam Behl, Novel Nanomaterials for Ocular Drug Delivery (2017) €66,000
  • Enterprise Ireland H2020 CPPSS: Laurence Fitzhenry Ocular Drug Delivery Network for the Treatment of Posterior Segment Diseases  (2017) - €5,025 – coordination support
  • Enterprise Ireland H2020 CPPSS: Laurence Fitzhenry Ocular Drug Delivery Network for the Treatment of Posterior Segment Diseases  (2016) - €3,261 – coordination support
  • Enterprise Ireland - Commercialisation Fund: Laurence Fitzhenry, Peter McLoughlin, Orla O’Donovan, Niall O’Reilly, David Kent, Ocular drug delivery using smart polymeric nanoparticles – OCUDEL (2015) - €425,683
  • Enterprise Ireland - Commercial Case Feasibility: Laurence Fitzhenry, Selective separation of preservatives from eye drops for toxicity mitigation (2015) - €14,490
  • IRC - New Foundations Award: Laurence Fitzhenry, OcuNet – Development of a US-Ireland Ocular Drug Delivery Network (2015) - €5,956
  • Enterprise Ireland - Innovation Partnership Program: Laurence Fitzhenry, Mike Kinsella, Niall O’Reilly & Peter McLoughlin, Confidential (2014) - €210,683
  • Science Foundation Ireland - Technology Innovation Development Award: Peter McLoughlin, Laurence Fitzhenry & Niall O’Reilly, Development of a prototype contact lens for the treatment of a wide range of acute and chronic ocular inflammatory conditions  (2013) - €129,646
  • Enterprise Ireland - Commercial Case Feasiblity: Laurence Fitzhenry Biocompatible Polymeric Nanoparticles for Ocular Delivery of Highly Hydrophilic Drugs (2014) - €14,490
  • Enterprise Ireland - Commercial Case Feasibility: Laurence Fitzhenry  Polymerisable Squaramide Receptors for Anion Binding and Sensing (2014) - €14,490
  • IOTI - Postgradute Scholarship Initiative (WD/2013/26): Laurence Fitzhenry, Austin Coffey & Philip Walsh, Supercritical Fluid Assisted Cleaning of Medical Polymers For Micro-Structural Homogenization and Mechanical Performance Enhancement (2013) - €16,000
  • IRCSET - PhD Scholarship: Laurence Fitzhenry, Development of Molecularly Imprinted Polymers for Corticosteroids (2007) - €72,000

Teaching

Department of Science, WIT (2009-2020)

MSc in Analytical Science with Quality Management

Development and delivery of the following modules and subjects:

Advanced Chromatographic Techniques – GC columns and detectors
Advanced Spectroscopic Techniques – Infrared Spectroscopy
Advance Materials Characterisation – Particle size analysis and solid state NMR

BSc in Applied Chemistry/Biology/Pharmaceutical Science

Spectroscopic Techniques

Advanced Photochemistry

Inorganic Chemistry
Chromatographic Method Development and Validation
Laboratory Data Analysis
Supervision of 16 final year undergraduate projects

ICT for scientists
Chromatographic Techniques
Introductory Chemistry (practical)

Student Life and Learning, WIT (additional tuition) (2007-2011)

Additional tuition delivered:

Chemistry for Land Scientists
Organic Chemistry
Physics

Other

Awards and honours

Year Title Awarding body
2007 EMBARK PhD Scholarship: “The use of Molecularly Imprinted Polymers for Ocular Drug Delivery” IRCSET
2010 Best Overall Poster Award, WIT Research Day 2010 WIT
2007 Award for Chemistry, awarded in final year of BSc for highest overall chemistry results Merck / WIT
2007 Advanced Scholar Award WIT
2005 First Place in Annual Eurachem Analytical Measurement Competition Eurachem

 

Commercialisation activities

I have been the Principal Investigator for three commercial case feasibility studies, funded by Enterprise Ireland. Two of these have focussed on ocular therapeutics, which led to an SFI-funded Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA). This project focussed on the development of a prototype contact lens and demonstrated the release of a potent anti-inflammatory for up to 22 days from the prototype lens.

An Enterprise Ireland-funded Commercialisation Fund followed, which resulted in the development of three nano-formulations, each the subject of a patent application now at PCT stage. The success of this EI-CF led to a spin out company, OcuDel Ltd, which I co-founded in August, 2019. I am a director and CEO of this innovation-led company that develops drug delivery technologies for the treatment of ocular conditions. To further develop this company, I have completed the EI New Frontiers Phase 1 Entrepreneur Development Programme, and after a competitive selection process, I am now a participant of New Frontiers Phase 2.

 

Other activities

Expert reviewer for Microchimica Acta, Chromatographia, Journal of Separation Science, Journal of Chromatography B/Colloids and Surfaced B/Drug Delivery and Translational Rearch/International Journal of Pharmaceutics

Publications

Book chapters

Iqbal, J., Behl, G., Walker, G., Edin, C., Kumar, P., O’Reilly, N., Bhatia, R., Fitzhenry, L., Arora, T. “Nanoparticulate drug delivery systems for the oral administration of macromolecular drugs” in Nanoparticles in Pharmacotherpay, Elsevier, 2019

Kumari, S., Fitzhenry, L. and Singh, R.P., “Graphene Oxide for Biomedical and Therapeutic Applications” in Graphene Oxide – Advances in Research and Applications, Nova Science Publishers, 2018

Manesiotis, P., Fitzhenry, L., Theodoridis, G., and Jandera, P. “Applications of MI-SPE in food analysis” in Comprehensive Sampling and Sample Preparation, Vol. 4, Elsevier, Amsterdam 2012

 

Journal articles

Chua, A., Fitzhenry, L. and Daly, C.T. “Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff: Programmed Cell Death as a Marker of Stress Tolerance in Agriculturally Important Cereals” Frontiers in Plant Science 2019 10 (1539)

Karode, N.S., Poudel, A., Fitzhenry, L. Matthews, S., Reddington, R., Walsh, P.R. and Coffey, A. “Crystallisation Behaviour of Pebax-Graphene Composite Matrix with and without SCO2 Assisted Polymer Processing Technique” Crystal Growth and Design 2018 18 (7)

Behl, G., Kumar, P, Sikka, M. Fitzhenry, L., Chhikara, A. “PEG-coumarin nanoaggregates as π-π stacking derived small molecule lipophile containing self-assemblies for drug delivery” Journal of Biomaterials Science 2018 29 (4)

Behl, G., Iqbal, J., O’Reilly, N., McLoughlin, P.  and Fitzhenry, L. “Synthesis and Characterisation of Poly(2-hydroxyethylmethacrylate) Contact Lenses Containing Chitosan Nanoparticles as an Ocular Delivery System for Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate” Pharmaceutical Research 2016 33: 1638 - 1648

Karode, N.S., Fitzhenry, L. Matthews, S., Walsh, P.R. and Coffey, A. “Enhancement of the Mechanical Properties of PEBAX Graphene Nanocomposite Using Supercritical Fluid Assisted Extrusion Polymer Processing Technique” in Smart Materials and Advanced Research, Vol. 883, 2017, Materials Science Forum

Karode, N.S., Poudel, A., Fitzhenry, L. Matthews, S., Walsh, P.R. and Coffey, A “Evaluation of interfacial region of microphase-separated SEBS using modulated differential scanning calorimetry and dynamic mechanical thermal analysis” Polymer Testing 2017 62: 268 – 277

Poudel, A., Karode, N.S., Fitzhenry, L., Kennedy, J., Matthews, S., Walsh, P.R., Thomas, K. and Coffey, A. “Investigation of the Thermal, Mechanical, Electriacl and Morphological Preoperties of Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Assisted Extrusion of Microphase-Separated Poly(styrene-ethylene/buylene-stryrene)” Journal of Supercritical Fluids 2017 130: 1-9

Karode, N.S., Fitzhenry, L. Matthews, S., Walsh, P.R. and Coffey, A. “Enhancement of the Mechanical Properties of PEBAX Graphene Nanocomposite Using Supercritical Fluid Assisted Extrusion Polymer Processing Technique” in Smart Materials and Advanced Research, Vol. 883, 2017, Materials Science Forum

Choudhury, S., Fitzhenry, L., White, B. and Connolly, D. “Polystyrene-co-Divinylbenzene PolyHIPE Monoliths in 1.0 mm Column Formats for Liquid Chromatography”, Materials 2016, 9:212

Fitzhenry, L., Manesiotis, P., Duggan, P. and McLoughlin, P. “Molecularly Imprinted Polymers for Corticosteroids: Impact of polymer format on recognition behavior” Microchimica Acta 2013 180:1421-1431

 

Patent applications filed:

  • Kumari, S. and Fitzhenry, L. “Artificial Tears” PCT Filing, November, 2019
  • Kumari, S. Behl, G. and Fitzhenry, L. “Lipids for Ocular Delivery” PCT filing, December 2018
  • Behl, G., Kumari, S. and Fitzhenry, L. “Microemulsion for Ocular Delivery”  PCT filing, December 2018

 

Oral Presentations

Fitzhenry, L. “Targeting Ocular Disease Using a Drug Delivery Approach”, Munster Ophthalmic Meeting, Limerick, 2019

Behl, G., Kumari, S., Kent, D., O’Donovan, O., O’Reilly, N., McLoughlin, P. and Fitzhenry, L. “Enhanced Ocular Delivery using Nanomaterials, ICO, Galway, 2019

Behl, G., Kumari, S., Kent, D., O’Donovan, O., O’Reilly, N., McLoughlin, P. and Fitzhenry, L. Biocompatible Nanomaterials for the Treatment of Dry Eye Disease, ISER, Belfast, 2018

 Behl, G., Kumari, S., Kent, D., O’Donovan, O., O’Reilly, N., McLoughlin, P. and Fitzhenry, L. “Towards Enhanced Ocular Delivery Using Biocompatible Nanomaterials” New Frontiers in Ocular Therapeutics, UCD, Dublin, 2018

Fitzhenry, L., Manesiotis, P., Duggan, P. and McLoughlin, P. “Molecularly Imprinted Polymers for Corticosteroids” GSS-MIP, Belfast, 2013

Conference Proceedings

Phelan, D., Fitzhenry, L., Coffey, A. and McLoughlin, P. “Development of Contact Lenses for Ocular Drug Delivery” GSS-MIP, Belfast, 2013

Phelan, D., Fitzhenry, L., Coffey, A. and McLoughlin, P. “Development of Contact Lenses for Ocular Drug Delivery” Bioengineering Ireland, 2013

Phelan, D., Fitzhenry, L., Coffey, A. and McLoughlin, P. “Development of Contact Lenses for Ocular Drug Delivery” Eurotech 2013, Lyon, France, 2013

Fitzhenry, L., Manesiotis, P., Duggan, P. and McLoughlin, P. “Molecularly Imprinting Challenging Templates” Mediplas, London, 2012

Fitzhenry, L., Manesiotis, P., Duggan, P. and McLoughlin, P. “Developing Molecularly Imprinted Polymers for Corticosteroids” Materials Ireland, Dublin, 2010

 

Selected Posters

Behl, G., Kumari, S., Kent, D., O’Donovan, O., O’Reilly, N., McLoughlin, P. and Fitzhenry, L. “Enhanced Ocular Delivery Using Biocompatible Nanomaterials” ARVO, Vancouver, 2019

Behl, G., Kumari, S., Iqbal, J., O’Reilly, N., McLoughlin, P. and Fitzhenry, L. “Chitosan-alginate nanoparticles for topical ophthalmic application”, Retina, Dublin, 2017

Fitzhenry, L., Manesiotis, P., Duggan, P. and McLoughlin, P. “Molecularly Imprinted Polymers for Corticosteroids: Impact of polymer format on recognition behavior” MIP2012, Paris, France, 2012

Fitzhenry, L., Manesiotis, P., Duggan, P. and McLoughlin, P. “Molecularly Imprinted Polymers for Corticosteroids: Impact of polymer format on recognition behavior” MIP2012, Paris, France, 2012

Fitzhenry, L., Manesiotis, P., Duggan, P. and McLoughlin, P. “Molecularly Imprinted Polymers for Challenging Templates I: Bulk Polymerisation” MIP2010, New Orleans, USA, 2010

Fitzhenry, L., Manesiotis, P., Duggan, P. and McLoughlin, P. “Molecularly Imprinted Polymers for Challenging Templates II: Precipitation Polymerisation” MIP2010, New Orleans, USA, 2010

Fitzhenry, L., Manesiotis, P., McLoughlin, P. and Duggan, P. “Smart Polymers for the targeted delivery and Selective Sensing of Corticosteroids” WIT Research Day,  2010

Fitzhenry, L., McLoughlin, P., Karim. K., Hedin-Dahlstrom, J., Allendar, C. and Duggan, P. “Rational Design for Budesonide Imprinted Polymers employing computational and NMR methods” MIP2008, Kobe, Japan, 2008

Phelan, D., Fitzhenry, L., Coffey, A. and McLoughlin, P. “Development of Contact Lenses for Ocular Drug Delivery” GSS-MIP, Belfast, Northern Ireland,  2013