Research Aims

Members of the Department, associated staff and visiting scientists are all engaged in the investigation of basic questions concerning the interaction of chemical substances with biological systems. Several projects are undertaken in collaboration with other departments in the Faculties of Physiological Sciences and Clinical Medicine. The aim is to develop an understanding of fundamental mechanisms in chemical physiology and pathology, in the action of drugs, and in toxicology.

Exterior with groups 1

Areas that have been given priority in the Department include molecular pharmacology, cardiac pharmacology, neuropharmacology, cell signalling, and pharmacogenetics. In many of these areas the Department plays a leading role in the international pharmacological community. The research of the Department has consistently been given a very high ranking in the Government’s assessments of research in Universities.

The research projects in the Department are highly interdisciplinary covering the complete range from basic to clinical science. Locally, nationally and internationally the Department plays a pivotal role in a network of collaborations, with basic science collaborations covering engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, as well as physiology and molecular biology. Recently, an interdisciplinary collaboration, including the Humanities, has also been put in place. The Department also has an extensive interaction with industrial partners, including basic instrument development, as well as joint projects with most major global pharmaceutical companies and Biotech companies.

The fundamental challenge for all biomedical research is to validate measurements made in vitro in an in vivo context. The Department is currently developing minimally invasive microendoscope-based imaging methods capable of collecting high resolution images of cells from deep within the intact brain. The establishment of this technique would be a first for Oxford and the UK.

A major strategic initiative between the Department, Medical Sciences Division and the world-renown Oxford Chemistry Department will establish the Oxford Medicinal Chemistry Institute providing a unique environment where pharmacologists and other biomedical scientist can work side by side with chemists to foster drug discovery and develop tools to probe biological systems.

The Pharmacology Department is part of the Medical Sciences Division within the University of Oxford. The Departmental building is located in the centre of the historic City of Oxford.

Department Themes


Professor Derek Terrar, Professor Chris Garland, Dr Kim Dora, Dr Keith Brain

In vivo/Systems Neuroscience

Professor Trevor Sharp, Dr Daniel Anthony

Drug Discovery/Medicinal Chemistry

Professor Edith Sim, Dr Grant Churchill, Dr Angela Russell

Cell Signalling, Molecular Neuroscience and Disease

Professor Antony Galione, Dr John Parrington, Professor Fran Platt

Cellular Neuroscience

Professor Nigel Emptage, Dr Colin Akerman, Dr Karri Lämsä

Principal Investigators

Professor Nigel Emptage, University Lecturer

Professor Antony Galione, Chair of Pharmacology, Head of Department

Professor Chris Garland, Professor of Vascular Pharmacology

Professor Fran Platt FMedSci, Research Fellow

Professor Trevor Sharp, Reader in Pharmacology

Professor Derek A Terrar, Professor of Cardiac Electrophysiology

Dr Colin Akerman, RCUK Fellow

Dr Daniel Anthony, University Lecturer

Dr Grant Churchill, University Lecturer

Dr Kim Dora, BHF Senior Basic Science Research Fellow

Dr Karri Lämsä, Wellcome Trust Fellow

Dr John Parrington, University Lecturer

Dr Angela Russell, RCUK Fellow

Associate Members

Professor David A Smith FMedSci

Dr Keith Brain

Professor Edith Smith

Baroness Susan Greenfield, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Jeff Aronson, Department of Primary Health Care

Dr Chas Bountra, Structural Genomics Consortium

Dr Stuart Conway, Chemistry Research Laboratory

Professor Claudio Cuello, McGill University, Canada

Dr Maureen Dale

Professor Len Seymour, Department of Clinical Pharmacology

Professor Steve Watson, University of Birmingham

Visiting Academics

Professor Leslie Iversen

Professor Barry Potter, University of Bath, UK

Professor Mark Nelson, University of Vermont, Burlington, USA