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, Professor Kim DoraProfessor Rebecca Sitsapesan, Dr Rebecca BurtonDr Ming Lei

In vivo/Systems Neuroscience

Professor Daniel AnthonyProfessor Trevor Sharp

Drug Discovery/Medicinal Chemistry

Professor Barry PotterDr Grant Churchill, Dr Angela Russell, Dr Sridhar Vasudevan

Cell Signalling, Molecular Neuroscience and Disease

Professor Antony Galione, Dr Pooneh BagherDr John Parrington, Professor Fran Platt, Dr Paolo Tammaro

Cellular Neuroscience

Professor Colin AkermanProfessor Nigel Emptage, Dr Tommas Ellender, Dr Liliana Minichiello

Principal Investigators

Professor Colin AkermanProfessor of Neuroscience

Professor Daniel AnthonyProfessor of Experimental Neuropathology

Professor Kim Dora, BHF Senior Basic Science Research Fellow

Professor Nigel Emptage, University Lecturer in Synaptic Pharmacology

Professor Antony Galione, Chair of Pharmacology, Head of Department

Professor Chris Garland, Professor of Vascular Pharmacology

Professor Fran Platt FMedSci, Professor of Biochemistry and Pharmacology

Professor Barry Potter FMedSci, Professor of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

Professor Trevor Sharp, Professor of Neuropharmacology

Professor Rebecca Sitsapesan, Professor of Pharmacology

Professor Derek A Terrar, Professor of Cardiac Electrophysiology

Dr Pooneh BagherMSc Course Director

Dr Rebecca BurtonSir Henry Dale Royal Society and Wellcome Trust Fellow

Associate Professor Grant Churchill, University Lecturer in Chemical Pharmacology

Dr Tommas Ellender, MRC Career Development Fellow

Associate Professor Ming Lei, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Liliana Minichiello, Reader in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Associate Professor John Parrington, University Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology

Associate Professor Angela Russell, University Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry

Associate Professor Paolo Tammaro, University Lecturer

Associate Members

Dr Pooneh Bagher

Dr Keith Brain

Professor Edith Sim

Professor A David Smith FMedSci

Dr Jeff Aronson, Department of Primary Health Care

Dr Chas Bountra, Structural Genomics Consortium

Dr Stuart Conway, Chemistry Research Laboratory

Dr Maureen Dale

Professor Len Seymour, Department of Clinical Pharmacology

Professor Steve Watson, University of Birmingham

Visiting Academics

Professor Andrea Ballabio, Professor of Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy 

Professor Garth Cooper, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Professor Cladio Cuello, McGill University, Canada

Professor Mallory Factor, The Citadel, USA

Professor Leslie Iversen, University of Oxford

Professor Mark Nelson, University of Vermont, Burlington, USA

Professor Helga Refsum, University of Oslo, Norway