Pharmacology, Toxicology & Therapeutics

Pharmacology, Toxicology & Therapeutics

Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutics (PTT) is embedded within the Centre for Cardiovascular Science and focuses on taking a translational pharmacology approach to cardiovascular disease and, beyond this, to renal medicine, biomarker discovery and validation, and toxicology. Our research approach is truly from bench to bedside, utilising cell models, zebrafish, rodents, pigs and a wide range of mechanistic and population human studies.

Research is focused on vascular pharmacology and physiology, in particular arterial and endothelial structure and function using forearm studies, the role of macrophages and endothelins in hypertension, novel markers of drug induced cell injury, and exosomes as source of disease biomarkers. Clinical studies include first-in-man studies, biomarker and proof-of-principle studies, and large-scale clinical trials in hypertension and poisoning.

Clinical toxicology at the University of Edinburgh has traditionally is worldl-renowned. We lead the production of TOXBASE, the database used to guide the management of all poisoned patients in the UK and many other areas across the world. The group performs clinical trials and biomarker studies in poisoned patients in Edinburgh and rural Asia, clinical studies with volunteers in the Edinburgh clinical research facilities, and basic studies in zebrafish, mice and minipig models of poisoning.

Watch Dr James Dear talk about the challenges faced by novel psychoactive substances below:

In the field of education, PTT is a leader in improving prescribing by electronic teaching and testing of prescribing behaviour and practice. PTT is involved in programmes of education for medical students (MB ChB), science students (BSc Pharmacology) and postgraduate students. It has been at the forefront of developments to improve education for safe use of medicines by medical graduates both nationally and internationally via Prescribe and the Prescribing Safety Assessment.

Staff are actively involved in training of researchers, in particular most recently within the Scottish Translational Medicine and Therapeutics Initiative (STMTI) and the MRC Clinical Pharmacology and Pathology Program (MRC CP3), as well as the Edinburgh Clinical Academic Training (ECAT) scheme.

PTT staff are also heavily involved in the University/NHS Phase I Study Review Committee (leading the review of Phase I studies being considered for the hospital’s MHRA approved Clinical Research Facility), Lothian Drug and Therapeutics Committee, a biannual Translational Pharmacology short course (on how to take a drug into humans for the first time), and the Scottish Yellow Card Centre.

The department works closely with colleagues working on basic and translational pharmacology across the University of Edinburgh.

Researchers in the group include:

Prof David Webb

Prof Simon Maxwell

Dr Gillian Gray (focusing on cardiovascular research)

Dr Paddy Hadoke (focusing on vascular research)

Prof Nick Bateman

Dr James Dear

Dr Neeraj (Bean) Dhaun

Dr Iain MacIntyre

Prof Michael Eddleston


NHS clinical pharmacology colleagues include:

Dr Arvind Veiraiah

Dr Euan Sandilands

Dr Hafid Narayan


Clinical Pharmacology trainees include

Dr Emma Morrison (with general medicine and toxicology)

Dr Jame Macrae (with infectious diseases)

Dr Tom Caparrotta (with general medicine)


Current LAT trainees include

Dr Henry Fok (cardiovascular disease and toxicology)

Dr Allan Burt (toxicology)


Read about the history of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics at Edinburgh below: