Andrea Heinz

Andrea Heinz

Associate Professor - Promotion Programme

My reseach vision is to make relevant contributions to the field of dermatology by developing effective cutaneous drug delivery systems, which allow for an improved treatment of inflammatory skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Together with my group, I want to contribute to a better medical care for patients with skin conditions.

Primary fields of research

  • Structure of the skin in health, aging and disease
  • Cutaneous drug delivery (e.g., stimuli-responsive and electrospun drug delivery systems)
  • Skin permeation enhancement strategies (e.g., deep eutectic solvents, multiple prodrug approach, microneedles)
  • Biophysics of interactions of cutaneous drug delivery systems with healthy and impaired skin

Current research

My research is interdisciplinary and encompasses aspects of physical chemistry, material sciences, (bio)chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences.

It is my group’s ambition  

  • To develop personalized cutaneous treatment solutions, which correspond to the patient’s individual disease state. This includes stimuli-responsive cutaneous drug delivery systems and electrospun fiber scaffolds for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases or wounds,
  • To evaluate the effects of chemical penetration enhancers, prodrugs or advanced colloidal drug delivery systems on the cutaneous delivery of active pharmaceutical ingredients, and
  • To investigate and understand the interactions of cutaneous drug delivery systems and their components with healthy and impaired skin.

We want to gain fundamental insight into interactions between cutaneous drug delivery systems (or single components such as chemical penetration enhancers) and the skin barrier. Analytical techniques that we use to probe such interactions include small-angle and wide-angle X-ray scattering, thermal methods as well as vibrational spectroscopic techniques. We use the knowledge we obtained to optimize cutaneous drug delivery systems and improve the skin delivery of small molecules such as the JAK inhibitor tofacitinib. Moreover, we characterize the structure, properties and stability of the cutaneous drug delivery systems using SEM, NMR spectroscopy, DSC, TGA, XRPD, the pendant drop method and a texture analyzer. We also investigate the cytocompatibility of the cutaneous drug delivery systems in cell models on fibroblasts and keratinocytes. Furthermore, we explore release mechanisms of active pharmaceutical ingredients from the cutaneous drug delivery systems in in vitro and ex vivo skin models.


I teach in several undergraduate courses with a major focus on pharmaceutics (Farmaci I, Farmaci II, and LMM). I also supervise master’s students on a regular basis.

Moreover, I have an interest in actively supporting students with challenges in their study life. For instance, I am active as an SPS support teacher and I support undergraduate and postgraduate students as an independent coach in different aspects of their study life, including planning & time management, conflict & stress handling, exam preparation and motivation. More information can be found on: Please feel free to reach out to me with any question.

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