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Department of Pharmacology


Young Pharmas is an exciting annual outreach scheme headed by the labs of Prof. Colin Taylor and Dr Ewan Smith, in which several hands-on practical sessions give students currently studying biology and chemistry the opportunity to experience what a career in science might be like. Highlighting the importance of making accurate scientific measurements and introducing modern techniques such as fluorescence microscopy.

As well as aiding in the understanding of current A level subjects, the aim of Young Pharmas is to get students thinking about science in a wider context beyond the classroom, and give a taster of what life as a University of Cambridge student might be like.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Young Pharmas could not run in 2020/21 or 2021/22. We hope to restart the programme in October 2022.

Further information can be obtained from Dr Ewan Smith.


Young Pharmas 2019

Over the past three months, sixteen bright sixth formers from Netherhall, Long Road, Hills Road and Comberton have been busy carrying out scientific experiments and investigating key concepts in pharmacology.

During a day-long Pharmacology Masterclass, students were given an undergraduate-style lecture on the structure and function of muscle, and how diseases can be treated by targeting receptor proteins with drugs that influence tissue function.

In small groups, students then got to tackle two practical experiments - an ileum preparation and a Langendorff heart preparation - which demonstrated the effects of various drugs on muscle tissue.

These budding scientists weren’t afraid to ask some seriously insightful questions to the post-doctoral staff and PhD students from the department either!

A final presentation evening was held at Corpus Christi College where students had to present their findings in the form of a poster - congratulations to Ellen Chaplin from Hills Road for winning the prize for best poster!

Prof. Alasdair Coles from the Department of Clinical Neurosciences then delivered an engaging talk about the trials and tribulations of getting the immunotherapy drug alemtuzumab, also known as Campath-1H, into the clinic to treat patients with multiple sclerosis and other immunological illnesses.

Hopefully the department will see some of these Young Pharmas return for their university studies in the future!




Young Pharmas 2018

Tuesday 20th March saw the culmination of the 2018 Young Pharmas course. Students from Hills Road, Long Road and Netherhall 6th form colleges completed two evenings of hands on experiments, followed by a 1-day masterclass where they were really able to get to grip with drug-receptor aspects of pharmacology.

On the final evening of the week, students had to present a poster on some aspect of their work and this year’s winner was Harry Hurst from Long Road - congratulations!

Before presentation of the poster prize, students, parents and staff were given an exciting talk by Dr Amy Milton from the Department of Psychology about the science of drug addiction, a talk that sparked a lot of questions from the audience.