UCL School of Pharmacy
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Departments in the UCL School of Pharmacy
In this section you will find information about the structure of the division. Please use the navigation links below or on the left to find out more about our structure.
The UCL School of Pharmacy is focused on world class teaching and research in the field of pharmaceutical science. The coordination and strategic planning behind this dynamic educational activity is headed by the Director’s Office.
The Director’s Office is composed of the Director, the Divisional Manager, the Staffing and HR Manager, and a team of support staff.
The division's Director is Professor Duncan Craig. He took up his post in January 2013, having formerly worked as both Head of the School of Pharmacy and Director of Internationalisation at the University of East Anglia. For more information on Professor Craig and his scientific work, see his main profile.
The administration of the division is managed by Ms Joanna O'Brien, the Divisional Manager. The Divisional Manager, in partnership with the Director, oversees the planning and management of the Division. This includes strategic planning, financial forecasting and project management for new developments. She is also responsible for the management of all support staff in the division.
The Research Department of Pharmaceutical and Biological Chemistry comprises 19 academic staff and 7 support staff, and has a long and highly successful track record of research in Medicinal Chemistry, Molecular Neuroscience and Pharmacognosy. Chemistry is a core component of the Masters in Pharmacy professional degree with teaching across all four years of the course. Additionally, the Department offers three taught postgraduate Masters in Science courses namely Drug Discovery, Drug Discovery and Pharma Management and Pharmacognosy and a Masters by Research (MRes) in any of the research disciplines of the Department.
Funding for research comes from numerous and varied sources including the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK (CR UK), Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR), research councils (EPSRC, BBSRC, MRC), The European Commission (EC), Alzheimers’ Research UK and also, from industrial sources (Marloes Technology and Pharminox Ltd).
Research is ordered into three Clusters: Drug Discovery (Cluster Lead: Professor Paul Fish), Neuroscience in Health and Disease (Cluster Lead: Professor Anne Stephenson) and Biodiversity and Medicines (Cluster Lead: Professor Michael Heinrich). The Department provides analytical facilities and support in the fields of NMR spectroscopy, Mass Spectrometry and CHN elemental analysis. The NMR lab is equipped with two high-field instruments; a 400 MHz open access spectrometer and 500 MHz instrument with a cryoprobe. There is a range of mass spectrometers providing MALDI-TOF, LC-MS and MS/MS capabilities. In addition to the accurate mass determination of small molecules, work is carried out on polymers, peptides and proteins with studies in the area of metabolomics and proteomics.
Pharmacology is one of the principal disciplines of pharmacy so the Research Department of Pharmacology contributes significantly to the teaching of the MPharm degree programme, particularly in the Body Systems and Therapeutics modules in years 1,2 and 3.
The Department also provides teaching in more specialised options in later years and hosts students undertaking research projects in pharmacology. In a joint venture with Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology at UCL, the Department is set to offer an MSc degree in Experimental Pharmacology and Therapeutics beginning in 2014.
The Department of Pharmacology was established in 1926 as the Pharmacological Laboratories of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain under the directorship of Professor J. H. Burn and was situated in the School’s previous residence in Bloomsbury Square. In 1946 the Wellcome Trustees endowed a chair of pharmacology at the School and provided funding for the first Wellcome Professor (Professor G. A. H. Buttle) to undertake research in pharmacology and its application to pharmacy.
Neuroscience became the main focus of the Department’s
research activity in the 1970s and its researchers are at the forefront of developing
and using electrophysiological recording to investigate neural
function. Electrophysiology remains one of its strengths to this day but is now complemented by cellular, molecular and genetic approaches to study brain function as well as vascular biology and clinical pharmacology. Funding for the Department’s research is obtained from the Research Councils, various charitable organisations and the EU.
This Research Department currently comprises 15 academic staff, 2 Teaching Fellows, 4 Research Fellows, 9 Research Associates, 1 Research Assistant, 68 PhD students 10 MSc students and 13 support staff.
The research interests of the Department lie in development of cutting-edge formulations to enable delivery of the next generation of medicines (with a focus on personalised medicines and biopharmaceuticals). Formulations are developed for all the main routes of administration (including oral, nail, pulmonary, parenteral and transdermal) and a number of proprietary drug delivery platforms have been progressed to the point of commercially availability (such as PhloralTM and DuocoatTM). There are particular interests in the challenges of developing medicines for paediatric and geriatric patients, and this research is conducted alongside colleagues in the Research Department of Pharmacy Practice and Policy as well as with partners across UCL. There is also a focus on physicochemical characterisation of new drugs and excipients. Active drug substances ranging from low molecular weight actives such as cytotoxic agents to proteins and even cells are being modified to improve efficacy in malignant tissue as well as the brain, eye and skin. Modifications include conjugation of the active substance to biocompatible dendrimers and polymers. Particulate associated formulations (e.g. nano- and microparticles), molecularly ordered materials and tissue implantable formulations are also being developed to optimise drug action.
The Department houses the largest cohort of PhD students in the School and has recently been successful in funding two Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) with the University of Nottingham. The most recent CDT attracted total funding of nearly £11m, guarantees 60 PhD studentships over the next 9 years and will create the largest Pharmaceutics research centre in the UK.
Pharmaceutics staff contribute to MPharm teaching in all years, through the Formulation Science modules, the research projects and the Options. The Department has also run the successful MSc in Drug Delivery since 2003, which has seen more than 250 students graduate. Many of the graduates have progressed to PhD study. 2015 will see the introduction of two new MSc programmes (MSc in Pharmaceutical Technology and MSc in Pharmaceutical Innovation and Entrepreneurship).
The Research Department of Practice and Policy (DPP) aims to improve health and wellbeing through teaching, research and consultancy, informing the best use of medicines and pharmacy. We are a diverse group of pharmacists, psychologists and social science researchers who have a wide network of associations with other academic disciplines.
Practice and Policy staff are involved in curriculum development and teaching across all four years of the MPharm course. In addition, we have one of the largest professional postgraduate pharmacy programmes in Europe. Our student body includes the Joint Programme Board foundation training practitioners, Erasmus students, international pharmacists studying for an MSc in Clinical Pharmacy International Practice and Policy, as well as 25 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows.
Our global research programme focuses on medicines use, pharmaceutical health services, professional healthcare education and workforce. It includes the study of patient perspectives of health, illness and treatment and how healthcare practice and policy can ensure the safe and effective use of medicines by individuals and society.
Our Department includes three research clusters: Behavioural Medicine, which studies medicines-related behaviour and the psychosocial factors influencing the prescribing, taking and effects of medicines; The Use of Medicines cluster which includes the Centre for Paediatric Pharmacy Research (jointly with Great Ormond Street Hospital/Institute of Child Health), which studies all aspects of medicines for children and the Centre for Medication Safety and Service Quality (jointly with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust) and the Global workforce and education cluster, which is run out of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Collaborating Centre.