How can we make medicines with fewer nasty side effects?

Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, Pharmacology

Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu is a designer. She designs medicines to have fewer side effects by researching and developing ways to deliver drugs to different areas of the body. Watch the video to learn about pharmaceutical nanoscience and to hear her inspiring story with a key message — if you are working hard and it’s getting to be too much, ask for help.

STEM Role Model: Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, Pharmaceutical Nanoscience | 18 minute video

Highlights include:

  • What does a university education mean? (0:21)

  • What pharmacists do: patient facing roles & medicines production (2:10)

  • Designing medicines with fewer side effects (3:14)

  • How her research can help stop the opiate crisis (4:05)

  • Her journey from Hackney to post civil war Nigeria (9:07)

  • Starting a PhD in the UK as a single mother (12:10)

  • Hiding her children from her PhD Supervisor (12:50)

  • Navigating grant applications during maternity leave (14:10)

STEM Role Model Q&A Sessions

The Rosalind Franklin STEM Ambassadors sat down with Professor Uchegbu for an interview session after her talk. Watch her respond to their questions in the below videos. Visit the Q&A page for more scientist interviews!

If there is one piece of advice that you would give young people now, what would it be? (Part One) | 1 minute video

If there is one piece of advice that you would give young people now, what would it be? (Part Two) | 1 minute video

Who or what in the scientific industry inspired you to be who you are now? | 4 minute video

Ask for help. Most people will bend over backward to help you. I can’t remember a time that I’ve asked for help and the door has been shut in my face. People want to invest in people that are working hard.
— Ijeoma Uchegbu

Looking for resources to use in the classroom or your STEM club?

Check out The Rosalind Franklin STEM Ambassadors Teacher Toolkit for everything from classroom ready lessons on STEM Role Models, including Professor Uchegbu, to science communication skills tasters.



Ijeoma Uchegbu is Professor of Pharmaceutical Nanoscience at the UCL School of Pharmacy, UCL’s Pro-Vice Provost for Africa and The Middle East and Chief Scientific Officer of Nanometrics Ltd. Nanometrics is a UCL spin out company, which was founded by Ijeoma and Andreas G. Schätzlein. Nanometrics recently licensed NM133 to Lacta Pharmaceuticals. Nanometrics also recently won first prize for its Molecular Envelope Technology at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition 2017 in the Health category.

Ijeoma has been awarded various prizes for her work, notably the UK Department for Business Innovation Skills’ Women of Outstanding Achievement in Science Engineering and Technology award, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Pharmaceutical Scientist of the Year 2012 and the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences Innovative Science Award 2016. Ijeoma was elected to the Controlled Release Society College of Fellows in 2013 and was made an Eminent Fellow of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2013. Ijeoma is the editor of three books, a named inventor on 11 granted patents and has authored over 120 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Ijeoma’s research has been featured on BBC Woman’s Hour and more recently in The Guardian.