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Research at Pharmacology Department


It is the policy of the department to have every member of academic and technical staff get involved in a research projects all the time. All research projects that are concluded lead to a publication in a peer reviewed journal. Grants written by a member of staff involve participation of students. Every member of staff presents a paper at an international conference at least once every year. The department has set a target of 10 publications every year in peer reviewed journals. The Department has identified 3 priority research areas; Traditional Medicines Research, Health Systems Research and Clinical Pharmacology of antimalarials and antiretroviral drugs. The priority areas were chosen on the basis of the current national health challenges and existing resources in the department.

3.1 Traditional Medicines Research
Traditional medicines research has focused on the validation of traditional antimalarial practices, screening plants for antibacterial activity and anti-diabetic activity. This work has been supported by the NUFU medicinal plants project, the Inter-University Council for East Africa (VICRES) and the SIDA/SAREC programme. Collaborating partners in this work include:

  • Department of Botany, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.
  • University of Illinois, Chicago, USA.
  • University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
  • University of Oslo, Norway
  • DAAD
  • A Grant application has been submitted and is undergoing review to enable the department start clinical trials on ant malarial traditional medicinal plants. This is in collaboration with department of Botany, Makerere University,  the  Norwegian University of Life Sciences at  Oslo and the University of Oslo, Norway

3.2 Health Systems Strengthening
The Department in collaboration with Management Science for Health (MSH) based in Washington DC, USA, has developed a regional collaborative network called The Regional Technical Resource Centre for Training and Research on Medicines (RTRC). This network brings together academicians, policy makers and implementers in the four East African countries; Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. The network has the major objective of improving access to safe and effective medicines in the region. Some activities carried so far include; a regional assessment of existing capacity for supply management of ARVs in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, a strategic plan meeting to address the capacity deficit identified in the assessment and meetings to review the training material for the minimum skills package for health personnel handling ARVs.  The department also held a regional meeting to develop candidate indicators for monitoring adherence to antiretroviral therapy in the East African states.

3.3 Clinical Pharmacology
With support from Swedish Agency for International development (SIDA), a clinical Pharmacology Laboratory has opened in the department with the installation of ultra modern equipment (HPLC) for analysing drugs in body fluids.
The laboratory is presently supporting training and research, and we have started negotiations with the Ministry of Health, Uganda to make it the nucleus for development of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring services in Uganda.

HPLC laboratory
Photograph of the HPLC laboratory


Mr. Muhammad Ntale a PhD student in Drug analysis demonstrates to Ms Nakaziba Rebecca a Masters student how to prepare sample for analysis as Ms Margherita Mahindi an HPLC Expert from Karolinka Instituite looks on. The laboratory is going to be the nucleus of Therapeutic drug monitoring in Uganda.


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