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Sunali Bhatnagar

St Anne's College

CDT Postgraduate Studentship in Healthcare Innovation (RCUK Digital Economy Programme grant number EP/G036861/1)

Current Research

Development of an Ultrasound Facilitated Vaccine Delivery System

Currently, the delivery of vaccinations has an associated risk of disease transmission along with the pain of the injection. Non-invasive transdermal delivery offers a painless risk-free alternative. For vaccinations, the presence of immunogenic Langerhans cells in the epidermis means that antigen molecules do not need to penetrate to the capillaries to trigger an immune response. Therefore, topical administration of vaccine laden gel is a promising technology. Due to the size and nature of vaccine molecules, ultrasound-assistance is required in order to permeabilise the surface of the skin for increased transport. The addition of cavitation nuclei to the gel facilitates acoustic inertial cavitation activity, which can enhance both permeability of the skin and transport of vaccine molecules within it when exposed to ultrasound. My work focuses on the formulation, development and characterisation of this innovative gel, with a view to eventual formulation in a patch. This patch would then, in conjunction with a suitable hand-held ultrasound transducer, be used to deliver vaccinations without the risks associated with current methods.