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Pharmacology is the study of drugs and their effects on living systems. Pharmacology is essential for the development of medicines for the treatment of diseases such as cardiovascular, cancer and mental illness. It is important to understand how the body handles drugs and how drugs affect the body in order to improve the effectiveness of medicines and reduce unwanted side effects. It occupies central stage among biomedical science disciplines as it incorporates chemistry, physiology, neuroscience, molecular biology, biochemistry and toxicology and it is a key component of pharmacy and medicine.

Dr Alexis Bailey is the head of the Section of Pharmacology. Members of the pharmacology section are involved in teaching (including innovative teaching), research and module leadership in several courses within the university. Our section is committed to deliver excellent teaching and a vibrant learning environment to our undergraduate and postgraduate students in the area of pharmacology. Areas of research interest among our members include neuropharmacology, vascular pharmacology, drug addiction and polypharmacy. 

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Who we are
Dr Alexis Bailey - Head of Section, Senior Lecturer in Neuropharmacology

Research interests: electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, drug addiction and the effect of diet on neurodevelopment and behaviour.

Dr Vanessa Ho - Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology  and Associate Dean for Culture, Development and Inclusion

Research interest: novel signaling mechanisms, including those of endogenous cannabinoids, in the circulation and in the central nervous system.  

Dr Mark Preece - Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology

Research interest: the application of functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques for the characterisation of drugs used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Dr Dean Semmens-Lecturer in Neuropharmacology

Research interests: neuronal signalling, with a focus on the evolutionary origins and physiological roles of neuropeptide signaling systems.

Dr Jennifer Stott - Lecturer in Molecular Pharmacology

Research interests: understanding the physiological roles of ion channels and cellular signalling pathways in controlling vascular tone in health and disease.

What we do

Our section is committed to deliver excellent teaching and a vibrant learning environment to our undergraduate and postgraduate students in the area of pharmacology, and are involved in the BSc Biomedical Science, MBBS, MPharm courses, and from 2019 on the newly developed BSc Clinical Pharmacology. We use a range of innovative educational approaches such as inter-professional education (IPE), small group problem-based learning, research-led teaching and professional training year (PTY) placements to enable the delivery of knowledge and the development of key skills that will equip students to succeed in their careers in academia, industry or the NHS.


Members of the section carry out internationally recognized research in different areas of pharmacology ranging from cannabinoid signaling in cells and tissues to pharmacoepidemiology and human intervention studies. In particular, we have expertise in in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, optogenetics, neurochemistry, behavioural pharmacology and functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Members of our section have been recognized for their teaching and research excellence with awards by the British Pharmacology Society, including the Bill Bowman Travelling Lectureship Prize and the Student Choice Award for Excellence in Pharmacology Teaching Prize. We are all active members of the British Pharmacological Society and contribute significantly to its mission.


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