Male student working in a biology lab

School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Explore the teaching and research activities taking place within our School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Through our teaching and research, the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences strives to find new ways to help those with debilitating illnesses and diseases. Our first accredited pharmacy course in Portsmouth began in 1919/20 so we are celebrating 100 years of education in the pharmacy field.

We recognise that research is a core academic activity, which is why we contribute so much to multidisciplinary research across the University. It's this positive research environment that recently placed the university in the top 3 for funding in England in the subject Allied Health Professions & Studies.

Our connections with the NHS allows us to offer regular sandwich placements in a variety of hospitals, such as Southampton Hospital, Royal Bournemouth, Salisbury, St Richards, Winchester and Basingstoke.


Our school has a very successful ERASMUS Plus placements provision, which offers work experience placements in many European countries. We also offer exchange programmes with students and researchers in Caen, France, Nihon, Japan and the Nencki Institute Warsaw, Poland.

Some of our programmes also allow for sandwich year opportunities, and this life experience in the field helps our graduates stand out to employers.

Students who are doing their Master of Pharmacy degree can attend a working pharmacy to meet real patients in our Healthy Living Pharmacy Live project – this brings our students into contact with the public, and helps them gain a greater understanding of why their research is so important.


The School offered the first Biomedical Science course in the UK some 40 years ago and today, our facilities are truly exceptional.

In our school's Centre for Simulation in Health Care – a resource facility recently updated to reflect current industry standards – students develop their skills in a safe and contextual environment.

As part of the students’ skill development, they practice in a fully functional operating theatre under the guidance of our practising staff. They also have access to an ultrasound suite, a flexible simulation space, as well as 15 human patient simulators.

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Discover our facilities

Students and staff at the School of Pharmacy and Biomedicine talk about the outstanding facilities they have to use during their research and studies.

The facilities here at the University of Portsmouth are really cutting edge. We have a lot of technology and lots of hands on equipment that get you ready for when you go out into the working world. We do some collaborative learning that’s involving things like collaborative microscopy, putting microscopic images on big screens and getting them to talk about them and understand what they mean.

We have the mannequins so we can treat them and we have heads so you can look in otoscopes. We offer inhaler techniques so they can explain to patients how to use their asthma inhalers. We give them the option to practice blood pressure monitoring, we have simulated arms and the students practice the use of blood pressure monitors on those arms.

When they’re safe and competent they can do it on each other. In every unit we have a practical or an experiment that we do. All of the lecturers make sure that the experiments that we do will give us some kind of skill, that they know we can use later on in a different area of our career.

We give students the opportunity to have a practical engagement in addition to undertaking the theory behind it.

Our teaching areas

Healthcare and social care courses

The world needs healthcare and social care professionals – and our courses can help start your exciting career in the field.

clinical health book and stethoscope
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Biological sciences courses

Get a deep knowledge of the natural world on our biological sciences courses, learning how to harness the earth and combat biological threats to humanity.

Biological science model on display in a lab
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In order to nurture a progressive research environment, many of our staff are actively engaged in internationally-recognised work – such as molecular medicine (including oncology, the neurosciences and inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy) and medicines research. We're also researching diseases that currently have no cure, such as Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis and cancer. 

Our research was submitted to Unit of Assessment (UoA) 3 in the Research Excellence Framework 2021. 90% of our overall research quality was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour. Our impact case studies were all rated as very considerable in terms of their reach and significance. This included research improving the detection of oesophageal cancer, research improving the health of patients with chronic respiratory conditions and research transforming health research governance and ethics in the UK National Health Service and Ministry of Defence. 

Our areas of expertise

Explore our 5 areas of expertise within Pharmacy, Pharmacology & Biomedical Sciences research.

Drug delivery

We're investigating targeted drug delivery systems using nanoparticles, finding new ways to deliver active molecules in medicines to the right part of the body – at the right time, in the right amounts – and identifying drugs that can be 'repurposed' to treat other diseases.
Targeted drug delivery 3D rendering
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We're researching how microbes can cause infectious diseases and benefit human health, and tackling antibiotic resistance by identifying new molecules in pathogenic microbes.
Microbiome rendering
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Molecular mechanisms of diseases

We're exploring the molecules and molecular processes that cause diseases, and working to develop better treatments.
Molecular structure model
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We're looking at the architecture and function of the nervous system – and how it relates to development, normal health, and neurological disorders.
MRI scan, close-up
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Pharmacy practise

We're working to improve the practices, selection, use and disposal of pharmaceuticals to protect the environment, and we're promoting the vital role pharmacists can play in delivering better care to patients.
Close up of nursing student handling pharmaceuticals
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Our research centres

Much of our exceptional research takes place within the following cross-disciplinary research centres – find out more below.

Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

We're exploring disciplinary boundaries to discover, understand and develop knowledge for the benefit of the environment and humankind.

Molecular Biophysics Research Group

We're researching the structure of proteins and understanding the molecular basis of their interactions with applications including the development of novel antibiotic targets and structure-based drug design.

We're investigating biomaterials for their potential use as drug carriers, bioadhesives, therapeutic (and diagnostic) agents, and surgical implants.

Pharmacy Practice Research Group

We're researching projects centred around two main areas – undergraduate education and pharmacy practice.

Recent research projects

Biofilms on teeth

Dr Marta Roldo has received funding to put oral biolfilms under the spotlight. Marta examines how well oral health products protect teeth and gums.

The brain's white matter

Dr Andrea Rivera, former wine maker turned University of Portsmouth neuroscientist, works on white matter, the layer beneath our brain’s grey matter, which is thought to hold answers to why some people develop dementia as they age.

Prescription practices

Professor Alex Ford, expert in the effects of human waste on marine life and Dr Helena Herrera, expert in ethical pharmacology, are calling for prescribers to be taught what happens when drugs in human waste enter the environment.

Stress in infancy

Scientists have found evidence suggesting emotional stress in infancy has significantly more far-reaching effects on the body than previously thought and could even result in disease later in life.

Our staff

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Karen Elizabeth Ball Portrait

Dr Karen Ball

Head of School

School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Susanna Maria Van Der Merwe Portrait

Dr Marisa Van Der Merwe

Interim Associate Dean (Academic)

School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Roger Russell Draheim Portrait

Dr Roger Draheim

Associate Head (Research and Innovation)

School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Sarah Elizabeth Fouch Portrait

Dr Sarah Fouch

Associate Head (Students)

School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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James Francis Brown Portrait

Dr James Brown

Associate Head (Global Engagement and Education Partnerships)

School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Gavin William Anthony Knight Portrait

Mr Gavin Knight

Programme Lead Biomedical Sciences

School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Helen Sarah Hull Portrait

Dr Helen Hull

Programme Lead (Pharmacy Education)

School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Faculty of Science and Health

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Explore our faculty

Explore the other Schools and Departments that make up our Faculty of Science and Health.

School of Biological Sciences

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Dental Academy

Dental Academy photoshoot, 14th November 2018
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School of Health and Care Professions

Female nursing student practising work with mock patient
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Department of Psychology

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School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science

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Faculty of Science and Health

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News, blogs and podcasts

Find out more about our latest research successes, read blogs by our academics and listen to the latest ideas and discoveries that look set to change our lives in our Life Solved podcast.

Health and wellbeing blog

In this research theme blog, we cover topics including self-care, sport and exercise, mental wellbeing, diseases and medical advancements.
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Episode 3: Innovations in Diagnosing Bladder Conditions

Dr John Young explores how technology is advancing treatment for many suffering with bladder conditions.
Lifesolved_Episode 3
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Episode 8: Vital Connections in the Brain

Professor Arthur Butt on why deeper research into glia holds the key to treating some of our biggest illnesses.
Life Solved Episode 8
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Contact us

To get in touch, please contact our Faculty office.

+44 (0)23 9284 2994