Medical School


Further information

Find out more about the history of the Department.

The UWA Department of Pharmacology was established in 1963, the tenth department within the WA Medical School.

The first chair was Professor Mary F Lockett who developed, taught, and supervised Pharmacology units and instituted a strong research program. By the time she retired in 1973, the department had built up a proud record of teaching and research achievements.

Pharmacology was originally housed in two Nissan huts on the Crawley Campus. The Department moved from the Crawley campus to its present location in M Block at the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre in 1974 enabling interaction with the medical students to be strengthened.

New research

The new Head of Department, Professor James W Paterson, rapidly established research and teaching in asthma research, therapeutic drug monitoring and clinical pharmacokinetics.

New undergraduate teaching programs were developed in second year science pharmacology and fifth year medicine and postgraduate training was expanded.

The Combined Unit in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology was established largely through the efforts of Professor Paterson and Dr Kenneth Ilett.

In the1990s, research in the Department became increasingly focused on cellular and molecular aspects of drug action.

Expertise expanded

The establishment of the Biomedical Confocal Microscopy Research Centre in 1995 (now known as the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis) significantly expanded the breadth of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in basic pharmacology.

Over the years, the department established both research and teaching links with clinicians in both intensive care medicine and anaesthesiology.

In 2003, the Department of Pharmacology was renamed as the Pharmacology Unit, within the new School of Medicine and Pharmacology. The importance of anaesthesia as a discipline within pharmacology was recognised in 2006 with a name change to Pharmacology and Anaesthesiology Unit.

At this time, Neuropharmacology added expertise in behavioural pharmacology and in psychopharmacology with specialist interest in schizophrenia and addiction. Clinical pharmacology of addiction was also added to Pharmacology.

The research profile of the unit continues to be very strong with seven members of staff holding NH&MRC research grants during the period 2007-8.