Group Leader

Dr Driton Vllasaliu gained his MPharm and PhD in Drug Delivery at the University of Nottingham. Following his PhD, he spent two years as a postdoctoral research associate at Nottingham, working on the development of improved (more predictive) in vitro intestinal models. He was then appointed to a lectureship at the University of Lincoln in 2012, where he contributed towards the establishment of a School of Pharmacy. Driton joined the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King’s College London, in April 2017. He teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students Biopharmaceutics, Membrane transport and Advanced drug delivery. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences, registrant of the General Pharmaceutical Council and member of the EPSRC peer-review college. 


Sa Feng is a PhD student in the group. She graduated from Kings College London with an MSc in Pharmaceutical Analysis and Quality Control. Her project focused on measuring the crystallinity of oral films using Differential Scanning Calorimetry and ATR FTIR Spectroscopy. Following that, she worked in IQVIA, formerly Quintiles and IMS Health, Inc as a regulatory affair in Bei Jing in 2018. Sa started her PhD at King's College London in October 2020, funded by China Scholarship Council (CSC) – King’s College London PhD scholarship program. Her current research activities focus on developing drug delivery systems enabling safe and therapeutically effective mucosal administration of biologics in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

Current members

Elliott Higgin is a PhD student within the group. He graduated from Durham University with a joint honours MSci in Biology and Chemistry within Natural Sciences, where his master’s project focused on protein purification and characterisation of protein-DNA interactions. He is currently working on designing new absorption-enabling peptides for oral delivery of biologics, in collaboration with Proxima concepts, as part of the BBSRC funded LIDo (London Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programme) doctoral training partnership. Elliott started his PhD at King’s College London in October 2018.

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Yunyue Zhang is a PhD student in the group. She graduated from China Agricultural University with an MSc in Food Science. Her master’s project focused on the structure-affinity relationship between protein and polyphenols, and investigated the effect of protein on the bioactivity of polyphenols. She is currently working on oral delivery of nanobiologicals for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) therapy, which is funded by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) – King’s College London PhD scholarship program. Yunyue started her PhD at King’s College London in October 2019.

Xiang Luo graduated from King’s College London with MSc Pharmaceutical technology in 2019 and his BSc study was at London Metropolitan University. He has worked in Rundu Parma Tech Ltd. focusing on general drug development and manufacturing from 2019 to 2020. Subsequently, he carried out a three-month internship on exosome isolation and DNA loading at Umibio Ltd. He started his PhD in the group in February 2021. His study aims to optimise the isolation of exosomes and compare the bioactivity and drug delivery potential of exosomes from different sources of milk, with a focus on human breast milk exosomes.

Mona Belaid is a PhD student in the group who started in February 2021. She is completing a joint PhD with KCL and National University of Singapore (NUS). Her research focuses on exploring the potential of mesenchymal stem cells exosomes as novel therapeutics for inflammatory bowel disease.

Mona graduated from University College London (UCL) with a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm). She completed a split hospital/industry pre-registration placement before registering as a pharmacist with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). Mona then took a position in Clinical Supply Chain at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) working as a Supply Chain Study Lead where she was responsible for managing global drug supply for multiple myeloma clinical trials.