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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.

Director's Office

Professor Duncan Craig, Head of the UCL School of Pharmacy

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.
Professional Services

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. The Divisional Manager is also responsible for the management of all support staff in the division. For other Professional Services contacts within the division please look at the directory.

Research Department of Pharmaceutical & Biological Chemistry

Human cancer cell

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, Pharmacognosy and a Master of  Research (MRes) in any of the research disciplines of the Department.

 

Funding

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

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.

Contact Details

Research Department of Pharmacology

 

3D Neurons

History

The Research 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.

Research

Today the department continues to have a strong core of neuroscience research with a growing emphasis on translational approaches that can directly improve patients’ lives.

  • Ali: Research aims to help answer key questions in Alzheimer’s disease and bring new potential drugs towards pre-clinical investigations using the INVOLVE model to ensure patient and public involvement in research and teaching of the MPharm Degree.
  • Constanti: concerned with the electrophysiology and pharmacology of mammalian cortical neurones, including in models of epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Della Pasqua: Using pharmacokinetics and in silico models to develop rational drug dosing in patients.
  • Harvey: Research into cell biological and signalling pathways in genetic models of late-onset neurodegeneration with a focus on LRRK2 and APP mutations in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease respectively. 
  • Jovanovic:  characterisation of molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate formation of inhibitory synapses in the brain and their regulation by psychoactive drugs. 
  • Lever:  Endothelial function in the regulation of inflammation, haemostasis and vascular tone, with a focus on target identification for the development of novel treatments for inflammatory and vascular diseases.
  • Mercer: Dissecting healthy cortical circuitry and understanding changes in early stage Parkinson’s disease to test novel treatments
  • Phillips: Nervous system regenerative medicine including the use of cell, drug, gene and biomaterials therapies, biomechanics, nerve engineering, and the development of Advanced Therapeutic Medicinal Products to treat nervous system trauma and disease.
  • Rahim: Pre-clinical testing of novel treatments for lethal neurological disorders including gene therapy, exosomes, small molecule and peptide drugs.
  • Ruiz: Functional analysis of neuronal and circuit dysfunction linked to genetic mutations in ion channels and related proteins, with emphasis on paroxysmal disorders.
  • Schorge: Changes in neuronal activity that lead to seizures and development of gene therapy treatments to cure epilepsy.
  • Shah: understanding how neurons within the cortex and hippocampus process information and thereby influence neural network activity, using imaging and electrophysiology to identify key roles for different channels including within subcellular compartments.

Research in the department is generously funded by the Wellcome trust through an endowed chair, as well as through UKRI, the EU, charities and links to industry.

Departmental resources

The department hosts several research resources which are available to UCL staff through the electronic catalogue. These include live-cell or fixed sample confocal imaging, cell sorting and flow cytometry with a FACS Aria II. In addition, success with recent infrastructure funding will provide a super-resolution confocal microscope with live-cell imaging capability (currently out for tender and arriving 2020) and a facility supporting gene therapy for neuroscience (arriving 2020).

Teaching

Pharmacology is one of the principal disciplines of pharmacy, and the Research Department of Pharmacology contributes significantly to underpinning knowledge in the MPharm degree programme, particularly in the Body Systems and Therapeutics modules in years 1,2 and 3.

The Department also provides teaching in specialised options in later years and hosts students undertaking research projects in pharmacology, as well as students on MSc and MRes programmes. PhD studentships are available through UCL and Pharmacy training programmes or by contacting staff directly.

The Department hosts the MSc Experimental Pharmacology and Therapeutics as a joint programme with the Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology (UCL Division of Biosciences). The programme teaches advanced experimental approaches in pharmacology coupled with current developments in drug discovery and therapeutics.

Contact details

Research Department of Pharmaceutics

Odd tablet

This Research Department currently comprises 16 academic staff, 1 Teaching Fellow, 1 Research Fellow, 12 Research Associates, 1 Research Assistant, 68 PhD students, 82 MSc students and 13 support staff.

The research interests of the Department lie in the 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 the 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 securing funding for three Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) with the University of Nottingham. The most recent CDT, in Transformative Pharmaceutical Technologies, also involves the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre in Ireland, and attracted total funding of nearly £20m. This guarantees 75 PhD studentships over the next 8 years (30 at UCL) and comprises 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 also hosts two successful MSc programmes, in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Formulation & Entrepreneurship

Details of the departmental Seminar Series can be found here: Pharmaceutics Seminar Series

Contact details

Research Department of Practice and Policy

Brain cogs

The Research Department of Practice and Policy (RDPP) 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, pharmacoepidemiologists, statisticians and social science researchers who have a wide network of associations with other academic disciplines.

Teaching

Staff are involved in curriculum development and teaching  and assessment across all four years of the MPharm degree accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council.   We also have one of the largest professional postgraduate pharmacy programmes in Europe. Our postgraduate education offering include training practitioners who wish to gain a Postgraduate Diploma in General Pharmacy Practice or those taking the MSc in Advanced Pharmacy Practice with both being included within our wider Foundation Programme.  

We have a large cohort of overseas pharmacists studying for a unique clinical leadership programme as a MSc in Clinical Pharmacy International Practice and Policy, and finally we enroll practitioners training to be Independent Prescribers on our Clinically Enhanced Pharmacist Independent Prescribing course.  In addition, we currently have 22 PhD students and 7 postdoctoral fellows.  

In addition to our current undergraduate and post graduate programmes, we are actively preparing for an innovative integrated five-year MPharm degree.  Outside the UK we are involved in leading the development of the pharmacy practice course and supporting staff at the New Giza University, Cairo.

Research

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.

Two research clusters sit within our Research Department:

  • Medicines Use and Optimisation, looking at providing new knowledge to make healthcare more efficient and sustainable by understanding and addressing the factors influencing medicines behaviour and the psychosocial and behavioural factors explaining variation in response to treatment.
  •  Pharmacoepidemiology and Medication Safety, engaged in projects that aim to improve safety and benefit outcomes in the use of medicines. We recognise that medicines use should be viewed in the context of wider policy and health agendas. These contexts inform our research programme and the design and execution of individual projects. Our work informs and influences policies to improve professional practice and the use of medicines. 

In addition, we actively engage in pharmacy education research to support our teaching and learning innovations across all programmes.  We have a number of honorary appointments of key colleagues from the NHS and other pharmacy related organisations/institutions.
 

Contact Details

Our department is split on two sites, at Brunswick Square and at BMA House: