Male student working in a biology lab

School of Pharmacy & 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.

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


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 school offers an environment that is conducive to producing excellent research and impacts. This has produced excellent results in the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), where 100% of the impact from our research was classified as 'outstanding'. We also contribute to the Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Science (IBBS), where 100% of our biological and biomedical research was rated as outstanding or very considerable (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

Our areas of expertise

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

Our research centres

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

We're exploring disciplinary boundaries to discover, understand and develop knowledge for the benefit of the environment and humankind.
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 researching health and disease at a molecular, cell, organ system and whole animal level. We focus on understanding molecular mechanisms of disease - and developing new therapeutic approaches.
We're investigating biomaterials for their potential use as drug carriers, bioadhesives, therapeutic (and diagnostic) agents, and surgical implants.
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

View all staff

Image of Dr Karen E. Ball

Dr Karen E. Ball

  • Job Title Head of School
  • Email Address
  • Department School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
Image of Dr John Young

Dr John Young

  • Job Title Associate Head (Innovation & Impact)
  • Email Address
  • Department School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
Image of Dr Marisa Van Der Merwe

Dr Marisa Van Der Merwe

  • Job Title Associate Head (Education)
  • Email Address
  • Department School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
Image of Professor Darek Gorecki

Professor Darek Gorecki

  • Job Title Professor of Molecular Medicine
  • Email Address
  • Department School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor

Explore our faculty

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

News, blogs and podcasts

Find our 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.

Contact us

To get in touch, please contact our Faculty office.

Follow us on social media

This site uses cookies. Click here to view our cookie policy message.

Accept and close