Welcome to the Roper Research Group!

  • Roper group Summer 2019

Pharmaceutical Engineering Lab

The VCU School of Engineering’s Pharmaceutical Engineering Lab will partner with experts from the VCU School of Pharmacy to work toward the theme of “Pharmaceutical Engineering: Engineering and Science for Global Health, in the Palm of Your Hand”. The lab is designing drug manufacturing processes that shrink environmental and industrial footprint while expanding access to drugs. Its overarching goals are to bring the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and drug products closer to the patient, make them more accessible, and fundamentally change manufacturing paradigms. Researchers here are moving manufacturing out of huge buildings and into small laboratories or desktop 3D printers.

While pharmaceutical manufacturing typically product batches of drugs in huge factories, the Pharmaceutical Engineering Lab is developing ways to produce medicines in streamline facilities – the size of one lab or even smaller. This reduces infrastructure needs, mitigates industrial hazard risks and allows for manufacturing in more locations worldwide. Since these next-generation facilities will product drugs in continuous flow, the medicines they make can be produced at a lower cost. The lab also seeks projects that have a direct line of sight to economic benefits in the Commonwealth and collaboration potential with other Virginia universities.


Director of Pharmaceutical Engineering, Principal Investigator: Thomas Roper, Ph.D. 

Thomas D. Roper, Ph.D., joined VCU in 2016 after a 22-year career at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. He held senior positions in the Pharmaceutical Development Division of GSK, including responsibilities for process R&D and analytical development for active pharmaceutical ingredients for the US, and most recently was the global head of exploratory development sciences for GSK. Roper specializes in efforts to bring engineering and science closer to patients via novel medicinal technologies. He holds a B.S. in chemistry from VCU and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Virginia. He was a postdoctoral associate in organic chemistry at Harvard University.

Dr. Thomas D. Roper research interests are in the miniaturization of manufacturing footprints, including continuous chemistry,  formulation technologies, and 3D printing of pharmaceuticals. He is the principal investigator for the Pharmaceuticals on Demand (POD) project at VCU, which aims to file an aNDA for ciprofloxacin using an end-to-end continuous manufacturing process.