Pharmacology comes from the Greek word pharmakon, meaning "drug"; and -logia meaning “study”. It is the study of drug action. More specifically, it studies the interactions that occur between a living organism and exogenous chemicals that alter normal biochemical function.

Therapeutics is the branch of Medicine that deals with treatment and cure of diseases.



In the department, we teach the students the different aspects of drug action. First, basic pharmacology principles like pharmacokinetics and –dynamics will give the students knowledge about the mechanisms that determine the biological activity, biological effects, delivery and breakdown of drugs. It will make the student understand why different drugs are used for different diseases and the dose regimen that has to be followed.
After these basics, we teach the therapy of different diseases like bacterial infections and cardiovascular- and endocrine disorders. The basic principles of pharmacology will continue to guide the student in the rational of the choice of the drug and dose regiment to achieve optimal therapeutic effect with minimal toxicity.

Only recently, the department obtained a laboratory and equipment that allows staff to be active researchers in house. Medicinal plant extracts will be examined for vascular protective activity against progressive vascular damage. Furthermore, a special lab is equipped to study sickle-cell anemia.

LABORATORY FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT
The pharmacology department has a new research/teaching laboratory and a special lab for microscope experiments. Besides some basic apparatus, the labs are equipped with the following:

Tissue/organ-bath set containing 8 units with computerized read-out
Drugs can be tested for antagonistic and agonistic activity on blood vessels and muscular strips. Also unknown components like plant extracts and isolates can be tested for pharmacological activity with the possibility to unravel the responsible mechanisms.

Open-column chromatography with UV detection and fraction collection
Chromatography is a powerful method to separate components from complex solutions like plant extracts. Isolation of the component responsible for a pharmacological activity may provide a cheap and safer alternative for treatment of disease or the development of a new drug.

High-pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) with Ultraviolet (UV) detection
Like the open-column chromatography, HPLC can be used for the isolation of components from plant extracts. It is more precise than the open-column system but only small quantities can be separated in single runs.
Secondly, HPLC is a powerful technique for quantitative analysis. Many drugs and endogenous markers of disease can be measured in complex solutions like plasma and urine using HPLC with UV detection. Pharmacokinetic drug studies and effect studies in humans and animals are within reach.

Animal studies
The pharmacology shares an animal facility with the department of Physiology and Anatomy. Mainly rats and mice are used for the different pharmacological experiments during practical and research.

Metabolic cages with fraction collectors
Urine of mice and rats can be collected using metabolic cages. To measure the time-course of drug excretion or endogenous markers of disease, the urine can be collected in separate fractions over time.

Fluorescent microscope
For real time imaging of fluorescent labels in living cells and for detection of fluorescent stained targets in tissue.

Tissue culture stove
The stove allows incubation of tissue and culturing of (mammal) cells and microbes is at different temperatures.