Sandra Lenihan

Sandra Lenihan, PhD, AIChemE

Lecturer in Chemical and Biopharmaceutical Engineering

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Sandra graduated with a degree in Industrial Chemistry from UL in 1997 while accumulating industrial experience in Eli Lilly and Astellas.  In 2003, she completed  her PhD in Physical Chemistry in UL, on the Oxidation of Ammonia (Environmental Engineering).  Upon completion of her PhD, Sandra worked as a Research Engineer with AMT Ireland, UCC and also in the Industrial Liaison Office, UCC.  In 2005, she joined Gilead Sciences (formerly ALTANA Pharma) as a Technical Support Scientist. She was responsible for the transfer of new solid dosage products from sites in Germany and USA to the facility in Cork. She also held a lead role in co-ordination of R&D activities for this company.


In 2009, Sandra was appointed as a lecturer in the Chemical and Biopharmaceutical Engineering Department.  She lectures the following modules: Process Engineering, Biopharmaceutical Engineering, Pharmaceutical Applications and Product Design.  She supervises Final Engineering Research and Design Projects.  In recent years, she has been proactive in securing Springboard Funding for CIT in the area of Bioprocessing and liaises regularly with NIBRT and Cork Training Centre. Sandra has been involved in Design Simulation which compliments her interest in modelling unit operations such as Mixing, Bioreactor and Filtration (predominantly using Dynochem). 


Sandra was a Placement Manger for the Chemical Engineering Programme until 2020 and was involved in new initiatives which developed engineering competences  within the programme.


She has been involved with the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre (PMTC is hosted in University of Limerick) since its inception in 2012. The PMTC is an Enterprise Ireland/IDA funded research group to assist the Irish Pharmaceutical Industry improve its competitiveness.  She has been a principal investigator on significant research projects to date.  She is a Member of the PMTC Steering Committee since 2016. 




Current Research



Marie Curie Career - Fit Fellowship
The development of robust computational models for the dry granulation processing of bilayer solid dosages supported by Pfizer Newbridge. (March 2018 - Current) (Research Fellow)


Previous Research



Sandra and Dr Keith Byran (Mechanical Engineering) were funded by the PMTC (hosted in University of Limerick) for “Powder Modelling for Tablet Processing” (Sept  2017- Sept 2019) (Postdoc and Research Fellow). 



Sandra and Dr Keith Byran were funded under the Enterprise Ireland PMTC for “Powder Modelling for Tablet Processing” – Postdoc.



Sandra and Dr Caroline O’Sullivan were funded under the PMTC, “Enabling and Control of Continuous Processing”. The Project established best practice through Quality by Design (QbD) and Process Analytical Technology (PAT) initiatives while achieving a quality product consistently from a continuous dry granulation process in order to support manufacturing.  Led by the School of Pharmacy in UCC, project partners include CIT’s Centre for Advanced Photonic and Process Analysis (CAPPA), and WIT’s Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC). University of Limerick were also joint stakeholders in this project.




“Development of Taste Masking Technologies” collaboration with The School of Pharmacy, University College Cork and ALTANA Pharma.  Enterprise Ireland and ALTANA Pharma.  This collaboration consisted of two sub-projects namely Taste Evaluation of Pharmaceuticals and Taste Masking Development (formulation based project). The former project was to study the feasibility of using an electronic tongue for taste evaluation of pharmaceuticals and the latter to develop an alternative taste masking technology (two approaches used were microemulsions and solid dispersion) for oral dosage forms. Five full time researchers were employed on this project.



Food Factory of the Future - Application of lean manufacturing over a variety of Irish industries (e.g. Wyeth Medica, Sensormatic, Musgraves & Lufthansa).



Supported Heteropoly Acids as Solid Acids in the Beckmann Rearrangement and Catalytic Oxidation of Ammonia to Nitrogen and Water. The former topic is a proactive approach whereas the latter project is an end of pipe solution but both resolve serious environmental problems through heterogeneous catalysis. To undertake the Catalytic Oxidation of Ammonia to Nitrogen and Water research, a micro reactor to treat effluent streams was designed.




  • Pharma Awards, Partnership Alliance  WINNER, CIT,  PMTC and Pfizer 2018 
  • Bridge Network Nomination for Invention of the Year, CIT, 2018 
  • Pharma Awards, Education and Training Category Finalist,  CIT , Final Year Chem Eng 2020
  • Educational Awards, Best Student Experience Category Finalist,  CIT , Chemical Engineering,  2020
  • Educational Awards, Career Impact Category Finalist,  CIT , Chemical Engineering,  2020
  • Pharma Awards, Education and Training Category Finalist,  CIT , Biopharma Processing 2017



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