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Department of Pharmaceutical & Biological Chemistry
Head of Department:
About the Department:
Pharmaceutical and Biological Chemistry is the largest of the four Departments at The School of Pharmacy, including six specialist research groupings. Our research spans a wide range from basic chemical and biochemical studies through to translational studies. Much of this research is focused into two strategic Research Themes: Drug Discovery and Neurosciences. Research within these themes is carried out in multidisciplinary groupings focused on the discovery of novel anticancer agents, anti-infective drugs (including agents active against bacterial, malarial and tuberculosis infections), basic studies in molecular neurosciences, and the study of natural products and phytomedicines.
The Department has major national and international collaborative research projects and a significant output of patents and research publications in high-ranking journals. Our academic collaborators include Cambridge and Oxford Universities, Universities in London including Imperial College London and Kings College, the National Cancer Institute and a number of major European universities.
Our departmental staff contribute to teaching for the undergraduate MPharm degree in the areas of drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical and analytical chemistry and pharmacognosy/medicinal plants. The Department is responsible for the running of two one-year master courses. The MSc in Drug Discovery, first offered in 2003, has proved highly popular and recruits over 30 international and home students per year. The MSc in Pharmacognosy, first offered in 2008, recruits about a dozen of students per year interested in natural products discovery and herbal medicines.
Centres and Groups
Drug Discovery - Cancer Research
- The Centre for Cancer Medicines fosters multi-disciplinary collaborations between those members of the School involved in various aspects of cancer studies, and enhances links with external organisations and cancer research groups, especially with clinical colleagues.
- The Cancer Research UK Biomolecular Structure Group, works on the structure nucleic acids and their interaction with small molecules and proteins. Its approach is to analyse the molecular structures of nucleic acids and their complexes by means of X-ray crystallography and molecular modelling/simulation methods. This knowledge is applied to the rational design of novel small-molecule inhibitors for potential use as selective anticancer agents. The group is particularly well-known for its work on the DNA quadruplex.
Natural Products Research
- Research in the Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy focuses on the discovery of new therapeutic natural products with possible uses as antimicrobials, antimalarial, anticancer and anti-inflammatory agents and on the benefits and risks of food supplements. Studies in order to a better understand how and why people use herbal medicines and food supplements are an essential element of this research strategy.
- The Molecular Neuroscience Research Group, aims to establish the molecular compositions, pharmacological properties, regulation, assembly and trafficking of pivotal brain proteins using a combination of molecular biological and immunochemical techniques, yielding potential novel targets for the development of new, receptor subtype-selective, therapeutic compounds for the treatment of stroke (NMDA receptors) and anxiety (GABAA receptors).
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