Research in the School of Pharmacy

Our multidisciplinary research aims to improve patient health outcomes through the discovery of new drugs, development of new delivery systems and optimisation of medicines prescribing and use. Research in pharmacy is focused on the following scientific disciplines:

Medicinal chemistry and drug discovery

Medicinal chemistry research within the University of Birmingham is an ever growing and thriving discipline. Current research interests in medicinal chemistry fall within the theme of the design, synthesis and development of novel small molecules that have the potential to treat diseases. Such molecules are currently being explored for the treatment of hypertension, inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) and cancer. As part of our drug discovery efforts in cancer, we are exploring metal-complexes and targeted therapies to improve patient outcomes.

The medicinal chemistry research based at the department of pharmacy is being carried out in close collaboration with colleagues from the schools of ChemistryBiosciences and Engineering.

The University has state of the art medicinal chemistry research facilities that include numerous NMR instruments, mass spectrometry facility and other analytical instruments as well as a high throughput screening suite.

Staff involved in Medicinal chemistry and drug discovery
StaffResearch Interest
Dr Alan M. Jones Synthetic and medicinal chemistry, electrosynthesis and drug metabolism
Dr Giovanni Bottegoni Structure-based and computer-assisted drug design
Dr Isolda Romero-Canelon Metal-based anti-cancer agents
Dr Kimberley Roper Synthetic and medicinal chemistry, photochemistry


The Pharmacology theme is headed by Professor Nicholas Barnes FBPhS. Research projects within the Pharmacology theme are pre-clinical, translational and clinical studies including the pharmacological targeting of various 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT; serotonin) receptors, the purinergic receptor system, orphan GPCRs and established and novel immune checkpoint signaling to deliver novel small molecule drugs and biologicals for the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders, neuroinflammation & neurotrauma, psychosis & depression, fibrosis & scarring and cancer. Projects in the Pharmacology Theme are funded by the MRC, NIHR, Ministry of Defence and the pharmaceutical industry.

Drug formulation, delivery and nanopharmaceuticals

Our pharmaceutics research focuses on developing advanced formulations for the local and systemic delivery of low-molecular weight drugs, therapeutic macromolecules and gene therapy.

We are investigating new implantable formulations, novel drug delivery systems and nanomaterials to address common drug delivery challenges and improve treatment efficacy and tolerability in cancer and other diseases. Our formulations are prepared from a range of materials and can be tailored to respond to physiological stimuli, provide sustained release, overcome biological barriers such as the blood-brain barrier or target specific tissues, cells or intracellular compartments.

Nanotoxicology is a further area of interest within the group. We are studying how organic and carbon-based nanomaterials interact with cells and how their composition, shape and surface properties inform their behaviour and fate in physiological environments. Our research in this field should help in the development of safe nanovectors to facilitate their clinical translation.

Staff involved in Drug formulation, delivery and nanopharmaceuticals
StaffResearch Interest
Dr Chris McConville Implantable devices, nanotechnology, localised delivery, personalised medicine, cancer.
Dr Hanene Ali-Boucetta Nanomedicines, drug delivery, nanotoxicology
Dr Marie-Christine Jones Nanomedicines, nanopharmacology, drug delivery
Gopal Pawar Postdoc
Arathyram Ramachandra Kurup Sasikala Marie-Curie Fellow
Migena Tushe Technician

Clinical pharmacy practice and medicines optimisation

We are involved in a number of research areas related to the safe and effective use of medicines in patients of all ages, including:

  • Patient adherence to medicines
  • Rational use of antibiotics
  • Prevention of adverse drug reactions
  • Pharmacovigilance and drug safety

In paediatric medicines, research spans the latent risks of medication system to children, problems in medicines supply between primary and secondary care, and the barriers preventing the participation of children in clinical trials.

Recently, a programme of research focusing on drug allergy was launched in partnership with The Centre for Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology (AACI) , a recognised World Allergy Organization Centre of Excellence.

Researchers are also involved in the examination and improvement of prescribing, from the utilisation of prescribing indicators to the education and training of prescribers. The department is home to the long-running SCRIPT project, an innovative suite of eLearning programmes developed in collaboration with Health Education England and OCB Media, which aims to improve knowledge of prescribing and medicines management among different groups of healthcare professionals.

Staff involved in Clinical practice and medicines optimisation
StaffResearch Interest
Professor John Marriott Paediatric and adult therapeutics, prescribing education, independent prescribing, drug allergy, medication adherence
Dr Zahraa Jalal Pharmacy service development, cardiovascular disease, adherence to medicines
Dr Vibhu Paudyal Pharmacy practice, public health, health inequality and medicines use in the population (access, equity, effectiveness and safety)
Dr Sarah Pontefract Prescribing and medication errors, medicines optimisation, health education, electronic patient records