Dr. Elsie Gaskell

Lecturer in Pharmacology Level 4 MPharm year tutor

Name Dr. Elsie E Gaskell
Email (@ljmu.ac.uk) e.e.gaskell
Telephone +44 (0)151 231 2166
Address Room 221b
James Parsons Building
Liverpool John Moores University
Byrom Street
L3 3AF


Elsie Gaskell studied Applied Microbiology at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). She worked at Pfizer’s Kent site in Sandwich, in their Veterinary medicine R&D department, before returning to university to undertake a research degree. She completed her PhD at LJMU in 2006, working in the area of drug delivery systems for pulmonary cystic fibrosis. Since, she has attained a permanent position at the school of Pharmacy and Biomolecular sciences in Liverpool, where she teaches in the area of pharmacology. Her research interest remains in drug action and delivery and has published research papers on this topic.

Research Interests:

Currently, Dr Gaskell’s research interests are in the development of novel antimicrobial synthetic clays for wound care. Wounds such as cuts, abrasions, skin grafts and ulcers often require medical management. Wound management with the aid of clay minerals has been documented since 2001, and the antimicrobial activities of these clay minerals previously reported. The main priorities in wound healing are to keep the wound clean, moist and free from infection and pain to allow the natural wound healing processes to occur. A new approach to wound management would be to design novel, synthetic antimicrobial materials related to the 'natural remedies'. The current literature describes how clay minerals of varying chemical composition and physical properties can be employed in conjunction with a broad spectrum of therapeutic molecules by intercalating drugs and controlling their release, thus acting as drug delivery systems. Recent work shows the potential of clays to reduce adverse side effects when included in drug delivery systems and improve encapsulation efficiencies. One aspect of this study is to explore the potential for using various clay minerals as drug delivery devices. The combination of a hydrating gel-forming material able to provide sustained control of bacterial ingression as well as simultaneously delivering a therapeutic compound would likely be of great benefit in healthcare applications, such as wound management. Our work aims to fully investigate the properties of various synthetic clays (Laponites®) alongside other natural clays, as well as to exploit their inherent ability to ion-exchange and intercalate clinically useful drug molecules to produce a bioinorganic hybrid drug delivery system.

Additionally, she is involved in research into the area of drug and enzyme encapsulation into polymeric microparticles. Polymer based materials are widely used for delivery of drugs and biomacromolecules. Our research focuses on biodegradable, non-toxic polyesters with functional pendant hydroxyl groups (polyglyceroladipate (PGA) based polymers). Work so far has included the encapsulation of some model therapeutic drugs and enzymes (Gaskell EE, Hobbs G, Rostron C, Hutcheon GA (2008) Encapsulation and release of alpha-chymotrypsin from poly(glycerol adipate-co-omega-pentadecalactone) microparticles. Journal of Microencapsulation 25(3):187-195).

As part of this work, she is involved in identifying microbially produced mucinolytic enzymes to be used for the development of a drug delivery system. Actinomycete strains were isolated from soils and sands based on their ability to readily degrade mucin glycoproteins. Turbidometric and culture-based mucinolytic assays were developed to confirm this. The isolated mucinolytic Actinomycete strains will be the subject of further investigations into their proteolytic and glycosidic activity. (Gaskell EE, Sihanonth P, Rostron C, Hutcheon GA, Hobbs G (2010) Isolation and identification of mucinolytic actinomycetes. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 97(3):211-220).

Research Group/s:

Formulation and Drug Delivery


Dr Gaskell teaches on both the Masters of Pharmacy programme (MPharm) and the Applied chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences (ACAPS) programme. Her main areas of teaching involve:

  • Level 4 (MPharm and ACAPS) – The Autonomic Nervous System and Molecular Genetics within the Introduction to Scientific Bases of Therapeutics module
  • Level 5 (MPharm) – The organ-bath mini project within the Scientific Bases of Therapeutics module
  • Level 6 (ACAPS) – Clinical research and supervisor final year research projects
  • Level M (MPharm) – The option modules: Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology and Advanced Drug Delivery & Pharmaceutical Technology. Supervises final year research projects.
  • Level 7 MPharm Year Tutor


Rockwood Additives Ltd. (http://www.rockwoodadditives.com/home.asp) – clays used in wound care Dr Gillian Hutcheon, LJMU, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science – polymers for drug delivery


Further Information:


Page last modified 07 May 2013.

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