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June 26

From Uni to UHPLC

As a student, the most valuable learning experience you can have is a placement within a company. This hands-on work is the steepest learning curve that is faced as a student; taking the knowledge you have spent years learning (six years in my case, through a Bachelors degree in Chemistry with Forensic Science and then a Masters in Analytical Chemistry) and putting it into practice. As a 23-year-old Irish girl, who’d never lived away from the Land of Saints and Scholars before, it was a big deal to move across the Irish Sea to picturesque North Yorkshire but I had nothing to be nervous about.

All I wanted out of my placement was the chance to work with as many different aspects of industry that I could and Broughton gave me the prime opportunity to do that. Broughton is a GMP analytical services laboratory who work in the fields of Pharmaceuticals, Animal Health, Nicotine Products and Biopharmaceuticals. I’m two months into my six-month placement and I have already worked with both pharmaceutical & veterinary products. Once trained in GMP, Health & Safety & Measurement of Weight and Volume, I was put to work in the lab and helped with all the routine analysis that happens. From testing generic tablets to animal feed, I’ve seen a little of everything that happens in the day to day running of an analytical lab. Now I get to work on the project that drew me to this company in the first place.

HPLC, or High Performance Liquid Chromatography, is a standard instrument in any analytical laboratory these days and Broughton is no different. It is the bread and butter of daily analysis so the company is always looking to improve this method to deliver improved service to its clients.

Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography offers quicker analysis, better resolution, less waste – all the buzz words that chemists love to hear. I’m going to be working closely with the Transfers team at Broughton with this new technique.

Even more amazingly, we are working with Thermo Scientific to make this happen. Thermo Scientific have been kind enough to lend us one of their state of the art UHPLC systems – the Vanquish Flex. This incredible piece of machinery can work with over 1000 bar pressure and combines speed with exceptional sensitivity.

The instrument was installed on site last week and is currently going through the validation process to ensure it’s up and running to full capacity before it can be used. Until then, we can only plan what the next steps are.

Some of the plans for the Vanquish include analysing the British Pharmacopeia methods for common drugs, like ibuprofen, to see how such methods could be transferred. Some in-house methods for animal health products will be evaluated for possible method transfer. Finally, current plans include setting up new methods for nicotine products to see if greater sensitivity and separation can be achieved. The world is full of possibilities when it comes to this technique so time will tell what Broughton will be able to do with the Thermo Scientific Vanquish Flex.

In my next blog I’ll update you on progress with this exciting project.


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About the Author

Eilín Ní Chróinín, 23, is a placement student from Cork, Republic of Ireland. After graduating from University College Cork in 2015, with a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry with Forensic Science, Eilín is now undertaking a six month placement in Broughton Laboratories, as part of her Masters in Analytical Chemistry. With an interest in working in pharmaceutical industry in the future, Eilín is gaining as much experience as possible in the wide variety of techniques that Broughton Laboratories can offer.