James Birchall is a Reader in Pharmaceutics at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University. Dr Birchall graduated from Bath University in 1993 and completed his PhD researching drug and DNA delivery systems in 1998 (Cardiff University). His current research is focussed on the use of microneedles for cutaneous drug, vaccine and gene delivery, and the exploitation of novel dry powder and metered dose inhaler formulations for pulmonary drug and gene delivery. Dr Birchall has acted as Associate Editor of Critical Reviews in Therapeutic Drug Carrier Systems, is a member of the Editorial Board of Expert Review of Medical Devices and is an Honorary Senior Lecturer and Research Pharmacist with the National Health Service. His research is funded by the NIH, Royal Society, British Skin Foundation and 3M Healthcare Ltd. Dr Birchall speaks to Laura Harvey (Commissioning Editor) on some of the challenges and future directions of transdermal delivery research into gene delivery and microneedle technology today.