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:


  • Biochemical and immunological aspects of toxicity (Dr. Frank van Pelt)

  • Cancer cell signalling and its modification (therapeutic or environmental) (Dr. Orla Barry, Dr. Ashley Allshire)

  • Vascular biology and functional foods (Prof. David Kerins, Dr. Niall Hyland)

  • 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, Dr. Christian Waeber)

  • Stroke, neurodegenerative disorders and neuroprotection (Prof. Thomas Walther, Dr. Christian Waeber, Dr. Barry Boland).

    Further information about research activities of individual staff members can be found on the Staff pages.       


    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.

    Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre

    Dr. Niall Hyland, Prof. David Kerins

    Cancer Biology Research at UCC

    Dr. Orla Barry

    Cork Cancer Research Centre

    Dr. Orla Barry, Dr. Ashley Allshire

    Environmental Research Institute

    Dr. Frank van Pelt, Dr. Ashley Allshire

    Food for Health Ireland

    Prof. David Kerins

    Cork NeuroScience Centre

    Dr. Barry Boland, Dr. Christian Waeber, Prof. Thomas Walther


    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 hemodynamic unit allowing for the characterisation of cardiac and blood pressure parameters in rodents.


    Research Support


    Current Research Support

    Health Research Board, 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