Drug Therapeutics

Therapeutics and Pharmaceutical Science

From identifying better medicines for angina and infection, to developing safer treatments for psoriasis and skin cancer, the Drug Therapeutics research portfolio is involved in a wide range of projects aimed at treating disease and optimising health.

This portfolio brings together more than 30 pharmaceutical and medical scientists working across a diverse range of cutting edge investigations in various research groups at UniSA and at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Our research

Pharmaceutical science and novel therapeutics

Research strengths are numerous and include synthetic and natural products, drug delivery, pharmacokinetics and computer modelling of drug disposition, fundamental surface science in biochemical processes, pharmacogenetics, pharmacogenomics and ethnopharmacology.


The response to medications between individuals can be vastly different and unpredictable, and although a number of inter-individual differences have been recognised to impact upon the response (good and bad) to medicines, it is seldom used to guide drug and dose selection. Our research focusses on identifying important between individual differences, which may range from patient age, concurrent diseases and medications and genetic differences that may be used to assist clinicians in deciding which therapy. In many cases, the long-term response to medicines is accurately predicted by observing the short-term changes following medicine initiation, which may range from medicine concentrations within the body, changes in physiological parameters and in the expression of various proteins, and identifying the important changes shortly after drugs are initiated is a core component of this research.

Modelling and Simulation Research group

The success of a drug in development is based on its profile in three primary, inter-connected areas: pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and clinical outcomes. The clinical outcomes of a drug are perhaps the most important, with the balance between the drug’s ability the treat the disease/condition whilst maintaining a low incidence of side effects critical to its success in practice. However, this is largely influenced by how the drug interacts with the body’s biological processes (i.e. pharmacodynamics) which is in turn affected by the movement of the drug into, through and out of the body (i.e. pharmacokinetics). An understanding of drug pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties therefore plays a key role in the selection of treatment strategies for the optimisation of these processes. Bringing extensive expertise in both academic and industry settings, our group uses model dependent (compartmental) and pharmacometric analyses (modelling and simulation) as a tool to translate basic and clinical research into improved pharmacotherapeutic use, drug development and regulatory decisions such as first-in-human dose determination, dose regimen selection and bioequivalence assessments. This group combines the expertise of the Australian Centre for Pharmacometrics UniSA hub.

Read more about our current activities

Our capabilities

  • Standard non-compartmental analyses (NCA), bioequivalence assessment, advanced modelling and simulation, pharmacometric and statistical analyses using industry standard software (eg, NONMEM, Phoenix WinNonlin, ADAPT, R)
  • Clinical trial management and advice including study design, data management, monitoring, report writing, quality assurance
  • Document preparation and advice for human research ethics and regulatory submissions (e.g. HREC applications, Clinical Trial Dossier, Regulatory Reports)
  • Pharmacokinetic and statistical analysis using industry standard software (e.g. Phoenix WinNonlin)
  • Population pharmacokinetic modelling and simulation (NONMEM, ADAPT, R)
  • Clinical trial management: Study Design, Data Management, Monitoring, Report Writing, Quality Assurance
  • Document preparation for human research ethics and regulatory submissions (e.g. HREC Application, Clinical Trial Dossier, Regulatory Reports)
  • Specific equipment includes:
    • 5 LC/MS/MS (Shimadzu 8060, 8050 and 8030 Ab Sciex API3000 and API000)
    • 1 GCMS with CTC liquid/headspace/SPME injector, (Shimadzu TQ8040 triple quad MS)
    • 3 HPLCs (Shimadzu), MPM-FLIM-Zeiss 710 (Carl Zeiss, Jena, Germany) equipped with a tunable titanium sapphire laser Mai Tai (Spectra Physics, Mountain View, CA) and a time-correlated single photon-counting (TCSPC) module SPC-152 (Becker & Hickl GmbH (bh), Berlin, Germany) with two bh GaAsP hybrid detectors HPM100-40
    • Zeiss LSM700 with incubation chamber for live cell imaging (Carl Zeiss, Jena, Germany)
    • confocal reflectance/fluorescence microscope with Raman spectrometer (Lucid Inc.)
    • Brookee e-scan EPR (Brooker), Zeitasizer (Nanoseries ZS, Malvern Scientific)
    • dissolution apparatus (Model CP7, Sotax)
    • Liposofast manual extruder (Avestin, canada)
    • various skin measurement apparatus including TEWL meter (Biox systems Aquaflux)
    • Corneometer
    • sebu meter
    • skin-pH-meter (Courage and Khazaka, Dermo unit SSC3)