The University of Newcastle, Australia

Pharmacy and Experimental Pharmacology

Pharmacy is an essential part of the healthcare system that reaches into almost all aspects of medicine and healthcare with special emphasis on the manufacture, the supply, appropriate use and effects of medicines. The school focuses on the quality use of medicines in patient care.

Experimental pharmacology is the study of drug action and interaction with living organisms.

The study area teaches students in a range of degrees about the effects and actions of drugs. The discipline also teaches and prepares students to become pharmacists.

As of 2013, the University of Newcastle is offering the new Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) which allows the graduates from the school to go on to be registered to practice pharmacy in both the public and private sectors.

Research within the School

This area of study is well placed to capitalise on the research infrastructure available within the School in order to development the pharmacy research program. Although the Master of Pharmacy is a new program, experimental pharmacology had been operational in the school for a number of years before forming the discipline of 'pharmacy and experimental pharmacology'.

Pharmacy and experimental pharmacology research falls into five of the faculty's six areas of research focus and excellence, those being:

* Brain and Mental Health
* Cancer
* Cardiovascular Health
* Public Health
* Vaccines, Immunity, Viruses & Asthma (VIVA)

Our pharmacy staff have strong research records and have the ability to drive the development of pharmacy research at the University of Newcastle. Until recently, pharmacy staff members have predominantly been concentrating on establishing the teaching modules for the Master of Pharmacy program. The program will aim to include research activities spanning the complete spectrum of pharmacy, ranging from medicinal chemistry to clinical pharmacy practice.

The research objectives of the staff contributing to Pharmacy and Experimental Pharmacology are:

* Enhancing the application of evidence-based practice by pharmacists in the management of minor illnesses

* Examining the use of medicines and nutrition in the community with a focus on food additives and non-prescription medications

* Development and testing of innovative teaching and training methods for pharmacy students as well as training for pharmacists* Development of methods of drug analysis for measuring stability of drug formulation in particular antibiotic drugs

* Examining over-the-counter medication use, including alternative and complementary medicines, in pregnancy (particularly during weeks 1-8/9 of pregnancy) and evaluating the role of pharmacists in providing advice in this area

* To elucidate the role of neuroactive steroids and eicosanoids in brain injury during fetal development and use of new prostaglandin synthase inhibitors for the prevention of premature labour. To further the understanding of the cause(s) of schizophrenia and develop better diagnosis, treatment and preventative strategies for the disorder

A number of research clusters are being developed that will draw upon existing research strengths within the School, Faculty of Health and Medicine and the John Hunter Hospital. It is anticipated that the formation of pharmacy research clusters will facilitate multidisciplinary research and provide opportunities for obtaining research funding from the national competitive granting bodies and the pharmaceutical industries.

For more information contact Associate Professor Therése Kairuz.