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Professor Mohammad Najlah


Medical Technology Research Centre

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
School of Allied Health and Social Care
Areas of Expertise:
Pharmaceutical science , Cancer biology , Cell and Molecular Biology , Health and wellbeing
Research Supervision:

Mohammad is a Professor of Pharmaceutics and Nanomedicine, and Lead of the Pharmaceutical Research Group, part of ARU's Medical Technology Research Centre (MTRC).

His research interests focus on the fabrication of multifunctional nanomedicines for drug delivery application. He has excellent experience of higher education as a teacher, researcher, external examiner and manager. He has also expertise in scaling up technologies of colloidal formulations for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries.

[email protected]

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Mohammad took a pharmacy degree followed by postgraduate diploma (Industrial Pharmacy) at Damascus University and worked as a community pharmacist.

He obtained his PhD (2007) from the University of Manchester, focusing on the ‘development of nano-medicines based on dendrimer prodrugs’. This research was continued at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) where he worked as a research fellow. During that period, he also contributed in founding of the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences.

In 2009 Mohammad joined the academic staff at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Al-Baath University where he took on senior roles including Vice Dean for Students and Administrative Affairs until the end of 2013.

Since joining ARU, Mohammad has been instrumental in developing the SuperLabs Complex including the Pharmaceutical Research Lab, and the establishment of new undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Alongside his managerial roles as a deputy head (2016-2021), he established, led, and grown the Pharmaceutical Research Group (PRG) based entirely on externally funded projects.

Mohammad is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and external examiner for a number of UK institutions. He has supervised several PhD students to completion, is a regular reviewer for many international pharmaceutical and chemistry journals and has active research collaborations with pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries as well as UK and international universities.

Research interests
  • Development of Nano-Enabled Drug Carriers to Overcome Pan-Chemoresistance of Cancer Stem(-like) Cells
  • Engineering novel nanomaterials, polymeric prodrugs/conjugates and polymeric nano-particulates for drug delivery applications such as enhancing water solubility or/and overcoming the P-glycoprotein drug efflux transporter
  • Design and development of pharmaceutical carriers for pulmonary drug delivery
  • Using Three-Dimensional Stereophotogrammetry (TDS) for assessing skin conditions
  • Colloidal formulations (liposomes, aerosols, nanoemulsions and nanodispersions)
  • Pharmacological activities of metal-organic complexes
  • Manufacturing and scaling up nutraceutical dosage forms
  • Dendrimers and macromolecule prodrugs
  • BPharm (Hons) in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Damascus University
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) in Industrial Pharmacy, Damascus University
  • PhD in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, School of Pharmacy, University of Manchester
  • University Certificate in Higher Education, University of Central Lancashire, UK
Memberships, editorial boards
  • The Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Member)
  • Cambridge Scholars Publishing
  • Key Opinion Leaders Advisory Board - Formulation & Drug Delivery Congress, Oxford Global
  • Topic Editor, Molecules
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Homogenisation Systems Ltd funded by Innovate UK, UK Research and Innovation. Project to develop and optimise the design and performance of high-pressure homogenisation technique as a scaling-up technology for dispersed formulations. £ £176,417. PI. 2023-2025
  • Knowledge Exchange and Embed Partnerships (KEEP+) with Detoxpeople Ltd, funded by European Regional Development Fund. Open a new line of production for liposomal-based skincare formulations. £72,634. PI. 2022- 2023.
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Detoxpeople Ltd, funded by Innovate UK/UK Research and Innovation. Project to embed the development, analysis and knowledge of liposomal formulation - both dry and liquid - facilitating future product design and the adoption of a scaled-up manufacturing process, £169,300. PI, 2021-2023
  • Lipolife Research Contract funded by Lipolife. Development of non-sweetened and stable oral liposomal formulation, £43,000. PI, 2020-2021
  • National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) 9th Cycle, funded by Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). Development of surfactant-based delivery systems for the treatment of breast cancer. $698,062. PI, 2016-2020. In collaboration with Qatar University
  • Two externally funded full PhD Studentships
  • Jussara Personelle Award 2019, 56th Brazilian Congress of Plastic Surgery, for the paper “Three-Dimensional Stereophotogrammetrical Analysis of Scar Treatment After A Laser-Assisted Medication”
  • Commendation for Outstanding Science, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), 2007
  • Controlled Release Society Outstanding Oral Drug Delivery Award, 2006
Doctoral students
  • Ayse Kaya
  • Niusha Ansari-Fard
  • Dan Alves
Research fellows
  • Dr Sahrish Rehmani - KTP Associate - Formulation Scientist
  • Ana-Maria Henriques-Pereira, KEEP+ Associate
  • Dr Irfan Bashir (visiting Research fellow)
Past doctoral students (ARU)
  • Dr Ibrahim Dumbuya
  • Dr Bárbara Machado
Past post-doctoral research fellows
  • Dr Ammar Said Sulimann
  • Dr Basmah Othman
Selected recent publications

Peer-reviewed publications

Pereira, A.M.; Kaya, A.; Alves, D.; Ansari-Fard, N.; Tolaymat, I.; Arafat, B.; Najlah, M*. Preparation and Characterization of Disulfiram and Beta Cyclodextrin Inclusion Complexes for Potential Application in the Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 via Nebulization. Molecules 2022, 27, 5600. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27175600

Kannappan, K., Liu, Y., Wang, Z., Azar, K., Kurusamy, S., Kilari, R., Mark, M., Najlah, M., Liu, P., Bain, W. and Wang, W. (2022) PLGA-nano-encapsulated Disulfiram inhibits hypoxia-induced NFκB, cancer stem cells and targets glioblastoma in vitro and in vivo, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-22-0066

Machado, B., Ime. S., Pautrat, W., Frame, J., Najlah, M., 2021. Scientific Validation of Three-Dimensional Stereophotogrammetry Compared to the IGAIS Clinical Scale for Assessing Wrinkles and Scars after Laser Treatment. Scientific Reports, 11, 12385. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-91922-9

Dahabra, L., Broadberry, G., Le Gresley, A., Najlah, M., Khoder, M., 2021. Sunscreens containing cyclodextrin inclusion complexes for enhanced efficiency: A strategy for skin cancer prevention. Molecules, 26(6), 1698.

Najlah, M., 2021. Drug Repurposing Supported by Nanotechnology: A Promising Strategy to Fight Cancer. Therapeutic Delivery. doi: 10.4155/tde-2021-0009

Machado, B., Frame, J., Zhang, J., Najlah, M., 2021. Treatment of Scars with Laser-Assisted Delivery of Growth Factors and Vitamin C: A Comparative, Randomised, Double-blind, Clinical Trial. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. doi: 10.1007/s00266-021-02232-4

Said Suliman, A., Khoder, M., Tolaymat, I., Webster, M., Alany, G. R., Wang, W., Elhissi, M. A., Najlah, M., 2021. Cyclodextrin Diethyldithiocarbamate Copper II Inclusion Complexes: A Promising Chemotherapeutic Delivery System Against Chemoresistant Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cell Lines. Pharmaceutics, 13(1), pp. 84. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13010084

Machado, B., Frame, J., Zhang, J., Najlah, M., 2020. Comparative Study on the Outcome of Periorbital Wrinkles Treated with Laser-Assisted Delivery of Vitamin C or Vitamin C Plus Growth Factors: A Randomized, Double-blind, Clinical Trial. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in press. doi: 10.1007/s00266-020-02035-z

Khan, I., Yousaf, S., Najlah, M., Ahmed, W., Elhissi, A. 2020. Proliposome powder or tablets for generating inhalable liposomes using a medical nebulizer. Journal of Pharmaceutical Investigation, pp. 1-13. doi: 10.1007/s40005-020-00495-8

Khudair, N,. Agouni, A., Elrayess, M., Najlah, M., Younes, H., Elhissi, A. 2020. Letrozole-loaded nonionic surfactant vesicles prepared via a slurry-based proniosome technology: Formulation development and characterization. Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology, 58, 101721. doi: 10.1016/j.jddst.2020.101721

Said Suliman, A., Tom R., Palmer, K., Tolaymat, I., Younes, H., Arafat, B., Elhissi, M. A., Najlah, M. 2020. Physicochemical Characterisation and Stability Evaluation of Ciprofloxacin-Loaded Parenteral Nutrition Nanoemulsions. Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, 25(5), pp. 1-26. doi: 10.1080/10837450.2020.1720237

Schutte, R., Papageorgiou, M., Najlah, M., Huisman, H. W., Ricci, C., Zhang, J., Milner, N., Schutte, A. E. 2020. Drink types unmask the health risks associated with alcohol intake – prospective evidence from the general population. Clinical Nutrition, 39(10), pp. 3168-3174. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2020.02.009

Tania, M., Lwin, K., Shabut, A., Najlah, M., Chin, J., Hossain, M.A. 2020. Intelligent image-based colourimetric tests using machine learning framework for lateral flow assays. Expert Systems with Applications, 139, 112843. doi: 10.1016/j.eswa.2019.112843

Najlah, M. Said Suliman, A., Tolaymat, I. Kurusamy, S., Kannappan, V., Elhissi, M. A., Wang, W. 2019. Development of Injectable PEGylated Liposome Encapsulating Disulfiram for Colorectal Cancer Treatment. Pharmaceutics, 11(11), pp. 610-626. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics11110610

Omar, H., Hussein, N., Ferraz, A., Najlah, M., Ahmed, W., Taylor, M. T., Elhissi M. A. 2018. Spray-dried proliposome microparticles for high-performance aerosol delivery using a monodose powder inhaler. AAPS PharmSciTech, 19, pp. 2434-2448, doi: 10.1208/s12249-018-1058-4

Najlah, M., Freeman, S., Khoder, M., Attwood, D., D’Emanuele, A. 2018. In vitro evaluation of the third generation PAMAM dendrimer conjugates. Molecules, 22(10), 1661. doi: 10.3390/molecules22101661

Najlah, M., Jain, M., Wan, K. W., Ahmed, W., Phoenix A. D., Taylor, K. M.G., Elhissi, A., 2018. Ethanol-based proliposome delivery systems of paclitaxel for in vitro application against brain cancer cells. Journal of Liposome Research, 14, pp.1-12. doi: 10.1080/08982104.2016.1259628

Khoder, M., Abdelkader, H., ElShaer, A., Karam, A., Najlah, M., Alany, R. G. 2017. The use of albumin solid dispersion for enhanced un-ionisable drugs solubility. Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, 23(7), pp. 1-7. doi: 10.1080/10837450.2017.1364267

Najlah, M., Ahmed, Z., Iqbal, M., Wang, Z., Tawari, P., Wang, W., McConville, C., 2017. Development and characterisation of disulfiram-loaded PLGA nanoparticles for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 112, pp.224-233. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2016.11.032

Khoder, M., Abdelkader, H., ElShaer, A., Karam, A., Najlah, M., Alany, R.G., 2016. Efficient approach to enhance drug solubility by particle engineering of bovine serum albumin. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 515(1-2), pp. 740-748.

Najlah, M., Kadam A., Wan, K. W., Ahmed, W., Taylor, K. M. G., Elhissi, A., 2016. Novel paclitaxel formulations solubilized by lipid nanoemulsions for brain tumour therapy. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 506(1-2), pp. 102-109. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2016.04.027

Subramanian, S., Khan, I., Korale, O., Alhnan, M. A., Ahmed, W., Najlah, M., Taylor, K. M. G., Elhissi, A., 2016. A simple approach to predict the stability of phospholipid vesicles to nebulization without performing aerosolization studies. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 502(1–2), pp. 18-27. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2016.01.070

Aldalaty, A., Karam, A., Najlah, M., Alany, R., Khoder, M., 2016. Effect of non-cross-linked calcium on properties, swelling behaviour, drug release and mucoadhesiveness of calcium alginate beads. Carbohydrate Polymers, 140, pp. 163-170. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2015.12.010

Tawari, P., Wang, Z., Najlah, M., Tsang, C., Kannappan, V., Liu, P., Mcconville, C., Armesilla, A., Wang, W., 2015. The cytotoxic mechanisms of Disulfiram and copper (II) in cancer cells. Toxicology Research, 4, pp. 1439-1442. doi: 10.1039/C5TX00210

Najlah, M., Hidayat, K., Mwesigwa, E., Ahmed, W., Al-Obaidi, K., Elhissi A. M. A., 2015. A facile approach to manufacturing non-ionic surfactant nanodipsersions using proniosome technology and high-pressure homogenization. Journal of Liposome Research, 25(1), pp. 32-37. doi: 10.3109/08982104.2014.924140

Najlah, M., Parveen, I., Faheem, A., Ahmed, W., Phoenix A. D., Kevin Taylor M.G., Elhissi, A., 2014. The effects of suspensions particle size on the performance of vibrating-mesh, air-jet and ultrasonic nebulizers. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 461(1), pp. 234-241. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2013.11.022

Nasr, M., Najlah, M., D’Emanuele, A, Elhissi, A., 2014. PAMAM dendrimers as aerosol drug nanocarriers for pulmonary delivery via nebulization. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 461(1), pp. 242-250. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2013.11.023

Book Chapters

Abdallah, B., Elhissi, A., Ahmed, W., Najlah, M., 2020. Carbon Nanotubes Drug Delivery System for Cancer Treatment. In Ahmed, W. et al (Eds.), 2020. Advances in Medical and Surgical Engineering (Amsterdam: Elsevier Science & Technology, Academic Press), pp. 313-332. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-819712-7.00016-4

Elhissi, A., Mahmood, R., Ahmed, W., Najlah, M., 2020. Taxane Anticancer Formulations: Challenges and Achievements. In Ahmed, W. et al (Eds.), 2020. Advances in Medical and Surgical Engineering (Amsterdam: Elsevier Science & Technology, Academic Press), pp. 347-358. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-819712-7.00018-8

Najlah, M., Zhou, Z., D'Emanuele, A., (2012). Dendrimer-Based Prodrugs: Synthesis and Biological Evaluation, Dendrimer-Based Drug Delivery Systems. In Cheung, Y., Ed., 2012. Dendrimer-Based Drug Delivery: From Theory to Practice (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), pp. 157-206.

Recent presentations and conferences

Machado, B., Frame, J., Najlah, M., 2019. Three-dimensional stereophotogrammetrical analysis of scar treatment after a laser-assisted medication. Proceed. 56th Brazilian Congress of Plastic Surgery, Brasilia.

Najlah, M., Tolaymat, I., Elhissi, A., and Said Suliman, A., 2019. Development of long circulating PEGylated liposome of disulfiram for colorectal cancer therapy, Proceed. UKICRS, Liverpool, UK, 30.

Said Suliman, A., Tom, R., Palmer, K., Elhissi, A., and Najlah, M., 2019. Using licensed total parenteral nutrition nanoemulsions as drug carriers for ciprofloxacin, Proceed. UKICRS, Liverpool, UK, 38.

Said Suliman, A. and Najlah, M., 2019. Diethyldithiocarbamate copper II solubility enhancement via cyclodextrin parenteral formulations. Proceed. UKICRS, Liverpool, UK, 39.

Said Suliman, A., Trovato Monastra A., and Najlah, M., 2019. Solubility screening study of diethyldithiocarbamate copper II for prospective anticancer parenteral treatment. Proceed. APS International PharmSci conference, Greenwich, UK.

Najlah, M., Dumbuya, I., Said Suliman, A., and Webster M., 2019. Development and evaluation of disulfiram-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles, a proposed nanomedicine for chemo-resistance triple-negative breast cancers. Proceed. APS International PharmSci conference, Greenwich, UK.

Saifan, L., Soualah, O., Said Suliman, A., Najlah, M., Younes, H., and Elhissi, A. 2019. RP-HPLC method development, validation, and determination of letrozole and paclitaxel combination in a nanoliposome formulation. Proceed. AAPS PharmSci 360, San Antonio, Texas, USA.

Soualah, O., Saifan, L., Said Suliman, A., Najlah, M., Younes, H., and Elhissi, A. 2019. Paclitaxel and Letrozole-loaded pro-liposome for the treatment of breast cancer formulation development, characterization and tissue culture investigations. Proceed. AAPS PharmSci 360, San Antonio, Texas, USA.

Najlah, M., Dumbuya, I. 2019. Development, characterisation and in vitro evaluation of disulfiram loaded PEGylated nanoparticles for breast cancer treatment. Proceed. 13th Edition of International Conference on Nanomedicine and Advanced Drug Delivery, London, UK. (keynote speaker)