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MEng Materials Science and Engineering with Polymers

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Drug Delivery & Biosensors

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS31802
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 6
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


Materials for drug delivery and biosensors both consider the interaction between synthetic substances and biological or biologically active molecules.


The unit aims to:

  • Provide the students with a working knowledge of how contemporary polymeric materials are used and fabricated as biomaterials for the treatment of disease and disability; and
  • Provide an introduction to the theory, methods and regulatory aspects related to the use of biosensors for analyte detection.

Learning outcomes

A greater depth of the learning outcomes will be covered in the following sections:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Intellectual skills
  • Practical skills
  • Transferable skills and personal qualities

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures (live and pre-recorded), coursework, recommended textbooks, web resources, past exam papers, electronic supporting information (Blackboard).

Knowledge and understanding

  • Know the most widely used classes of polymers used for the fabrication of biomedical materials.
  • Understand the reasons for the use of polymers to achieve controlled delivery of drugs in relation to polymer degradation mechanisms.
  • Understand the polymer chemistry and structure-property relationships for each of the types of polymer studied.
  • Describe the origins of selectivity in various biosensors.
  • Describe the theory and operation of biosensors.

Intellectual skills

  • Relate polymer structure and properties to their performance in vitro and in vivo.
  • Recognise the main benefits of microspheres and nanoparticles in drug delivery applications.
  • Mathematically relate spectroscopic or electrochemical changes to the presence of or concentration of an analyte.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Summarise key points of a scientific paper coherently and succinctly

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%

Feedback methods

Written and verbal

Recommended reading

  • Biomaterials science, an introduction to materials in medicine, 3rd revised edition, B. D. Ratner, A. S. Hoffman, F. J. Schoen and J. E. Lemons, eds., Elsevier Academic Press, Oxford, 2012.
  • Chemical sensors and biosensors, B. R. Eggins, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 2002.
  • Biodegradable polymers as drug delivery systems, M. Chasin and R. Langer, eds., Marcel Dekker, New York, 1990.
  • Novel drug delivery systems, 2nd edition, Y. W. Chien, CRC Press, 1991.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Practical classes & workshops 6
Tutorials 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 71

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jonny Blaker Unit coordinator

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