Scientist Snapshot | John Mykytiuk, Solid State Manager
25th Oct 2022
At Sterling, our highly experienced team members and their passion for what they do are central to who we are. This month, we spoke with John Mykytiuk, Solid State Manager at Sterling’s Dudley facility, about his role and the site’s robust solid state chemistry capabilities.
Can you briefly describe your background and current role at Sterling?
I received my undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Bradford. During my undergraduate studies, I spent a year working in industry, where I learnt a lot about research and development and gained a strong interest in that area. I was lucky to have very good supervisors that encouraged me to further explore these interests.
I then went on to pursue my PhD at the University of Bradford, where a lot of my work involved investigating polymerisation reaction kinetics and how they can influence structure-property relationships. Afterwards, I took up two post-doctoral positions at the University of Sussex, where I looked at how to control the structure-property relationships of polymers and their behaviour.
Afterwards, I started my first proper job working in development, where I was able to apply my experience in polymers. I also had my first brush in polymorphism in this role, and I gained a greater interest in solid state. I then moved onto another organisation where I utilised my polymerisation experience and then broadened into API research and development, and then expanded this to include solid state science. Subsequently, I moved onto another organisation where I focused entirely on solid state chemistry.
There, I helped to set up a development team, ensured that the newly implemented solid state capabilities were used to their fullest extent, and worked closely with customers and chemists to affirm that all solid state considerations were accounted for as a project progressed.
Finally, the Solid State Manager opportunity arose at Sterling, which I was eager to accept. This came at a time when Sterling was beginning to invest heavily in solid state, so I was tasked with getting the right equipment in place, recruiting experienced team members, and collaborating with various teams across the Dudley site to ensure an integrated offering. It has been exciting to grow our solid state offering at Dudley, and we’re proud to provide our customers with a really robust, tailored approach today
Can you go into more detail about your role as Solid State Manager?
There is a lot involved in solid state, from initial solid form investigations, to crystallisation development and particle size reduction. I’m focused on ensuring that we maintain continuity across all of these aspects, and as a project progresses deeper into development and manufacturing. This requires a really scalable approach that is tailored to each customer’s specific project requirements. The variety of projects I encounter is really what makes the job interesting.
As a result, my role involves a lot of collaboration both with customers and our internal teams. The more we can learn from the customer early on, the better. This enables us to develop really strong proposals and offer informed suggestions, and as we continue to closely communicate with customers as their project progresses, we make sure we remain aligned. Internal collaboration is also critical, so that we can ensure that our chemistry and production teams are aware of all solid state capabilities and utilise the best approach. .
Solid State Manager
PhD in Chemistry,
University of Bradford
Solid state science, API research and development,
solid form investigations,
We are intent on understanding our customers and their requirements as we identify what enhancements to our solid state resources and services will be most beneficial.”
How is Sterling continuing to invest in its solid state offerings?
We have continued to implement new equipment and capabilities to serve customers’ objectives and enable different types of analysis. For example, we introduced Dynochem, a modelling package that has proven to be useful for our engineering team. It enables us to take key process information and identify what may or may not work at a larger scale. We can then use this information to recommend adjustments based on the current process parameters, and it has been especially useful in achieving a particular particle size during crystallisation development.
We are also focused on continually optimising our lab in order to enhance efficiency and bring additional expertise on board. This involves some remodelling as well as new, specialised equipment that our team is quite excited about, such as process analytical technology. We are intent on understanding our customers and their requirements as we identify what enhancements to our solid state resources and services will be most beneficial.
Can you describe the process for a typical solid state project?
As I mentioned, solid state involves a lot of variety, so projects can look quite different. Typically, we start with customer interaction to kick off the proposal process. We look at each customer independently ensuring we gather as much information as possible to develop strong and realistic proposals. Some of our customers have had less exposure to solid state, so it is important that we are transparent to make sure we are on the same page and build a strong partnership.
Once the project begins, we continue to remain in close contact with customers. This is true even when potential hurdles arise, because it is important for us to keep the customer informed and work with them to provide our suggestions and overcome any challenges. Our team serves as the customer’s advocate internally, and transparency helps us to ensure that nothing unexpected comes up over the course of a project. We also maintain close communication with the chemistry team to make sure we understand customer requirements and solid form considerations as a project progresses in scale.
We have the ability to perform solid state work either independently or as part of a larger, integrated project at Sterling. Regardless, we ensure that our approach is scalable and work to ensure project continuity.
We also believe in serving as an extension of our customer’s team, which is a value held by everyone at Sterling. We always want to make sure that the customer has confidence in our work and our advice, and we achieve this by treating every customer’s piece of work as our own.”
Why should customers choose to work with Sterling on solid state projects?
I think that our team is something that really sets us apart. Our team members are highly skilled and very astute, and our experience working with a wide range of customers enables us to proactively address any challenges.
We also believe in serving as an extension of our customer’s team, which is a value held by everyone at Sterling. We always want to make sure that the customer has confidence in our work and our advice, and we achieve this by treating every customer’s piece of work as our own. Our team is extremely passionate and has our customers’ best interests at heart, and we always push each other to be our best.