Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics: Research

Research Themes in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

Pharmacology is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function. The field encompasses drug composition and properties, interactions, toxicology, therapy, medical applications and antipathogenic capabilities. In pharmacology, therapeutics refers to the use of drugs and the method of their administration in the treatment of disease.  

The research activities in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics reflect the broad nature of the disciple but fall within the following research themes aligned with Research strategies of the College of Medicine and Health, the University and national and international research themes of strategic importance:

  • Pharmacological and pathophysiological aspects of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes (Dr. Cathal McCarthy)
  • Obstetric complications and fetal neurodevelopmental outcomes (Dr. Cathal McCarthy)
  • Biochemical and immunological aspects of toxicity (Dr. Frank van Pelt)
  • Cancer cell signalling and its modification (therapeutic or environmental) (Dr. Orla Barry)
  • Vascular biology and functional foods (Prof. David Kerins)
  • Signalling of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) (Prof. Thomas Walther)
  • Modelling of ligand/receptor interaction (Prof Thomas Walther)
  • Pharmacological and pathophysiological aspects of cardiovascular biology (Prof. Thomas Walther, Prof. Christian Waeber, Dr. Roisín Kelly-Laubscher, Dr. Gerardene Murphy)
  • Stroke, Neurodegenerative disorders and Neuroprotection (Prof. Thomas Walther, Prof. Christian Waeber, Dr. Barry Boland)
  • Neurobiology of Stress and Trauma / Brain-Gut Microbiome Axis (Dr. Rachel Moloney)


Departmental Associations with Key University Research Centres and Units

The staff in the Department are actively involved in interdisciplinary research collaborations and are Principal Investigators and/or collaborators in major Research Institutes/Initiatives in UCC


Research Facilities and Location

The Departments core research activities are located at two adjacent sites on the main University campus:  in the newly constructed, purpose built, Western Gateway Building and in the Cavanagh Pharmacy Building.  Purpose-built spaces incorporate in-house cell culture, microscopy, flow cytometry and molecular biology facilities, in addition to more traditional in vitro pharmacological techniques. Furthermore, the department developed very recently a state-of-the-art haemodynamic unit allowing for the characterisation of cardiac and blood pressure parameters in rodents


Research Support

Current Research Support

Health Research Board, H2020 Marie Sklodowska - Curie Action, Aid Cancer Treatment, Enterprise Ireland, Alzheimer’s Association (USA), Higher Education Authority, Science Foundation Ireland, European Union FP7, Department Agriculture and Food, SFI-Pfizer Biotherapeutics Innovation, Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Scheme


Past Research Support

European Union, Higher Education Authority, The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology, Cork Cancer Research Centre, Irish Heart Foundation, Health Research Board

Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

Cógaseolaíocht agus Teiripic

2nd Floor, Western Gateway Building, University College Cork, Cork