Masters by Research/PhD Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy

About the course

Our research in Pharmacology centres on the molecular basis of disease processes. Our expertise ranges from in vivo models through to molecular pharmacology, and computational biology through to clinical application.

The research conducted is focused on utilising integrated physiological and pharmacological approaches with biochemical and molecular techniques to study disease states, underlying mechanisms of disease and drug actions, with a view to identifying novel mechanisms, therapeutic targets and agents with a clinical and translational focus.

Current areas of research

  • Cardiovascular pathologies (Supervisor: Anwar Baydoun and Shori Thakur)
    The main focus of this research group is on the understanding of the underlying mechanisms associated with the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases and developing novel approaches for treatment. The group is working on several projects including the inducible L-arginine-nitric oxide pathway, vascular calcification, and Stem cell differentiation into cardiomyocytes.
  • Diabetic neuropathies (Supervisor: Lisa Lione and Chris Benham)
    A common symptom of diabetes is sensory nerve neuropathy resulting in pain and loss of sensation.  We have a number of projects that examine the molecular basis of neuropathy and the role of glucose metabolites such as methylglyoxal  in this dysfunction.

  • TRP ion channels (Supervisor: Chris Benham and Chris Keating)
    These ion channels have important functions in most cells of the body. Current work is looking at the function of these channels in gut motility and in endothelial cell function in blood vessels.

  • Biochemistry and Bioinformatics (Supervisor: Andres Kukol and Pryank Patel)
    This work involves the structural and functional studies of biologically and medically important proteins. There are  a variety of recombinant and biophysical techniques used to study and characterise proteins, including NMR, x-ray crystallography and chromatography. We also have a strong interest in computational methods and software development for protein structure analysis and data interpretation.

  • Neurodegenerative diseases (Supervisor: Mahmoud Iravani)
    -Drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases: 
    The application of novel aryl-piperazine sulphonamides as a novel neuroprotective agents in Parkinson’s disease. The aim of this project is to further characterise the neuroprotective effects of these compounds in vivo in a neurotoxin based animal model of Parkinson’s disease. 

    -Treatment of levodopa-induced dyskinesia using novel 5-HT1a receptors ligands - a collaboration with King’s College London. Levodopa is the gold-standard drug in the treatment of the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The purpose of this PhD is to re-evaluate the current clinically available drugs with efficacy on 5-HT1a receptors as anti-dyskinetic agents.

    -The primary pathology of Parkinson’s disease is the paucity of movement, tremor and postural imbalance. The object of this PhD is to try to identify the mechanism by which loss of neurones in a part of the brain that produces the neurotransmitter dopamine, is able to affect the gastrointestinal activity, despite the fact that presently there are no well characterised brain connections between dopaminergic neurones and those CNS centres that control gut motility. (Additional Supervisor: Chris Keating)

  • Airway and Vascular Pharmacology (Supervisor: Louise Mackenzie)
    This group is interested in the role and modulation of bioactive lipids such as prostanoids on organ function. Projects include the effects of NSAIDs on vascular tone, harnessing nuclear receptors to alter tissue function, and using specialised blood cells to create human lung in vitro


Our varied research areas mean that collaborations are innovative and cross discipline.
Our team bring together experience and research knowledge from several leading UK and International universities as well as global Pharmaceutical Industry. Collaborations continue with these institutions and the NHS. Read more about our collaborations.

What’s next for my career?

  • An internationally recognised research qualification.
  • Developing advanced subject expertise at postgraduate level.
  • Develop research skills through practice and extensive research experience.
  • Employers are looking for high calibre graduates with advanced skills who can demonstrate independence through research.
  • Highly rigorous researcher development programme
  • Achieved Athena SWAN Bronze award for our department
  • Strong supportive research community
  • Dedicated research space in our well-equipped laboratories including state-of-the-art cell culture facilities, in vitro pharmacology and molecular biology laboratories as well as confocal imaging system.
  • Find out more about our research facilities
  • Find out about our infrastructure

See more information about our research areas.

The admissions tutor for this course is: Shori Thakur email:

You can find information about full time fees here and part time fees here.

To apply for this course please contact the University directly.



Start DateEnd DateLink
05/09/202331/07/2024Apply online (Full Time)
01/02/202431/07/2024Apply online (Full Time)
05/09/202331/07/2024Apply online (Part Time)
01/02/202431/07/2024Apply online (Part Time)


Start DateEnd DateLink
05/09/202431/07/2025Apply online (Full Time)
01/02/202531/07/2025Apply online (Full Time)
05/09/202431/07/2025Apply online (Part Time)
01/02/202531/07/2025Apply online (Part Time)

Course fees

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