• Queensgate, Joseph Priestly

    HD1 3DH Huddersfield

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Pharmaceutics, Formulation, Drug delivery and targeting to gastrointestinal tract, Oral drug delivery, Drug Absorption from the GI tract, Pharmacokinetics and Bioavailability, Bioequivalence, NAFLD and Diabetes

  • 15 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


Dr Merchant joined the University of Huddersfield in October 2013 and is currently working as a Subject Lead in Pharmacy and Course Leader for the Postgraduate Pharmacy Suite. He has a formulation sciences background with extensive experience both from industry and academia. He has a particular interest in drug delivery research at the interface of gastroenterology and publishes regularly in peer-reviewed journals. He is an overseas qualified and registered pharmacist. His clinical knowledge and expertise in pharmaceutics helps students to understand the clinical and therapeutic principles underpinning the science of dosage form design.

Before joining Huddersfield in November 2013, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University College London (UCL), where he investigated various technologies for drug delivery into gastrointestinal tract and offered technical support and expert advice to collaborators and clients from academia and industry on various formulation and drug delivery aspects. One of his postdoc assignments at UCL was to develop a novel formulation for colonic delivery of statins for an emerging pharmaceutical company in UK. During his time at UCL (Nov 2007 to Nov 2012), he has also developed novel in-vitro solutions for assessment of pharmaceutical and neutraceutial products in physiologically relevant conditions. He developed innovative strategies for exploiting physiological bicarbonate buffers for dissolution testing and devised an Auto pH SystemTM – a robust instrumentation and dynamic dissolution media (PCT/GB2013/051145) employing physiological bicarbonate buffers simulating the aboral changes in gastrointestinal pH while dosage form transits down the gut. Hamid has also won a proof of concept award from UCL Business to further the technology.

Hamid was associated with Abbott Laboratories Ltd from December 2002 to November 2007 and served in various capacities such as quality, formulation, new product development, continuous improvement and project management.

He has been involved in peer review of various research journals and is a Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Pharmacy (BJPharm). Hamid is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA UK), a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB), American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), Controlled Release Society (CRS) and Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Great Britain (APS).

Dr Merchant has a Pharmacy degree (BPharm) with a Masters in Pharmaceutics (MPharm) from University of Karachi and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Formulations from the University College London (UCL). He also have a PGD in Quality Management from NED and a PGCert in Higher Education from Huddersfield.

Research Expertise and Interests

Dr Merchant has a particular interest in drug delivery research at the interface of gastroenterology and publishes in various aspects of oral delivery. For collaboration and technical support in following areas, please feel free to contact him.

Formulation development

The advancements in materials sciences and improved understanding of the human gastrointestinal (GI) environment are leading to intelligent design of formulations. The rationale design and selection of delivery technologies improves the performance of orally administered drugs, for example, by improving drug solubility, flux or by delivering it to the specific gastrointestinal regions. Our research in formulation sciences offers novel and customised solutions for immediate and delayed release formulations; and drug targeting in GI tract, such as delivery to the colon. .

Dissolution and permeation of drugs

Drug dissolution in gastrointestinal fluid and its permeation through the gastrointestinal mucosa is a key consideration for its absorption. Our research continues to explore and develop various in-vitro technologies to provide a reasonable estimation of absorption and help selecting a lead formulation for clinical evaluation. .

One of our innovative strategies is the exploitation of physiological bicarbonate buffers for dissolution testing. This led to the development of an Auto pH System™ – a robust instrumentation and dynamic dissolution media employing physiological bicarbonate buffers simulating the aboral changes in gastrointestinal pH while dosage form transits down the gut after emptying from stomach (PCT/GB2013/051145). The system exploits the physiological equilibrium of bicarbonate/carbonic acids to control and manipulate the pH and offers a robust automatic pH control without using conventional non-physiological acid/base titration techniques. .

The novel system has numerous applications in drug delivery and has been employed to assess dissolution and drug release from various delivery systems, such as: .

  • Dissolution screening of drugs and its salt forms

    Example: Dissolution in pH 5.6 bicarbonate buffer stabilized using a novel control system to discriminate between ibuprofen and its salt forms, AAPS 2013-R6065.

  • Evaluation of gastro-resistant formulations

    Example: The assessment of enteric-coated formulations under dynamic dissolution conditions simulating the pH conditions of the proximal gut, AAPS 2013-T3050.

  • Inter-individual variability of GI pH and transit and consequences on drug release

    Example: Drug release from pH responsive ileo-colonic systems: Simulation of inter-individual variability using a novel dynamic dissolution system mimicking the entire spectrum of gastrointestinal pH, AAPS 2013-W5338.

  • Evaluation of delayed-release formulations for colonic targeting

    Example: Dynamic dissolution of modified release mesalamine products using bicarbonate buffers, AAPS 2013-T3119.

  • Evaluation of sustained-/controlled-release formulations

    Example: Use of physiological bicarbonate buffers provides more realistic behaviour of sustained release formulations compared to compendial phosphate buffers, AAPS 2013-R6310.

Preclinical models in drug delivery

Pre-clinical testing is paramount for the improved understanding of the behaviour of orally administered drugs. Various animal models are used with the aim to mimic as closely as possible the conditions of the human gastrointestinal tract. The characteristics of the gastrointestinal milieu have a significant influence on orally administered drugs. Therefore, rational selection of animal models for a specific delivery technology is a key to successful translation of preclinical observations to clinic. We have investigated the gastrointestinal milieu of various animal models, such as mice, ratguinea pig, rabbit and pig, and their effects on drug solubility and absorption. We have also explored the effects of ageing in gastrointestinal environment of rat in relation to drug delivery.

For a complete list of peer-reviewed publications, please refer the Publications section.

Research Degree Supervision

Click Here to see all postgraduate research opportunities with Dr Hamid Merchant

External positions

Editorial Board Member, Animal Physiology

Sep 2019 → …

Editorial Board Member, Health Care Sciences & Services (IJERPH)

Sep 2019 → …

Advisory Board Member, Formulation and Drug Delivery UK, Oxford Global

Aug 2019 → …

Governor, Lowerhouses Church of England Junior Infant & Early Years School

Aug 2017 → …

Member, Biopharmaceutics Focus Group, Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Sep 2016 → …

Deputy Editor-in-Chief, British Journal of Pharmacy

Oct 2014 → …

Visiting Fellow, University College London

Oct 2013Sep 2014

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Pharmaceutics
  • Formulation
  • Drug delivery and targeting to gastrointestinal tract
  • Oral drug delivery
  • Drug Absorption from the GI tract
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Bioavailability
  • Bioequivalence
  • Diabetes
  • Fatty Liver

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Research Output

Coronavirus may stay with us forever!

Merchant, H., 11 May 2020, In : The BMJ. 369, 1 p., m1790/rr-6.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Open Access
  • Open Access
  • CoViD-19 may not end as predicted by the SIR model

    Merchant, H., 2 May 2020, In : The BMJ. 369, 1 p., m1567/rr.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

    Open Access
  • Exploration of a New Source of Sustainable Nanomaterial from the Koh-e-Suleiman Mountain Range of Pakistan for Industrial Applications

    Nirwan, J., Farhaj, S., Chaudhary, M. M., Khizer, Z., Hasan, S. S., Angelis-Dimakis, A., Gill, A., Rasheed, H., Abbas, N., Arshad, M. S., Hussain, T., Shahzad, Y., Yousaf, A., Chohan, T. A., Hussain, T., Merchant, H., Akram, M. R., Khan, T. M., Ashraf, M., Conway, B. & 1 others, Ghori, M. U., 17 Jan 2020, In : Scientific Reports. 10, 1, 14 p., 577.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Hand sanitisers amid CoViD-19: A critical review of alcohol-based products on the market and formulation approaches to respond to increasing demand.

    Beradi, A., Perinelli, D., Merchant, H., Bisharat, L., Basheti, I., Bonacucina, G., Cespi, M. & Palmieri, G., 16 May 2020, In : International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 584, 14 p., 119431.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Open Access
  • Press / Media

    Pakistan and severe medicine shortages

    Hamid Merchant & Izhar Hussain


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Pharmacists warn against malarial drugs as cures for coronavirus

    Hamid Merchant, Syed Shahzad Hasan & Chia Siang Kow


    22 items of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Research

    Researchers develop a device that simulates gastrointestinal tract

    Hamid Merchant


    11 items of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Research