The Division is located in the Old Main Building of the Groote Schuur Hospital complex.
We strive to promote drug discovery and the rational use of medicines to serve the health needs of people in Africa through teaching, mentorship, research, and clinical consultation. We are a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Medicines Information
The division teaches undergraduate medical and physiotherapy students. The focus of our teaching to medical students is rational prescribing of essential medicines for primary care. Most of the teaching is done in smaller groups. Pharmacology teaching is integrated in the 2nd through to 6th MBChB years, with specific pharmacology blocks in the 4th and 5th years – we also teach physiotherapy undergraduate students.
The Division offers post-graduate training at several scientific levels and one clinical specialist level.
Honours Bachelor of Medical Science – BMedSc (Hons)
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
Master of Science in Medicine – MSc (Med)
Doctor of Philosophy – PhD (Med)
Master of Medicine – MMed (Clin Pharm)
The division provides a clinical and laboratory pharmacology service to Groote Schuur hospital as well as secondary and primary centres within our drainage area. Therapeutic drug monitoring with input from clinical pharmacologists is offered for a wide variety of drugs, including antiretroviral and anti-tuberculosis drugs. Clinical consultation is offered to regional hospitals. The division plays an important role in providing policy advice in the rational and cost effective use of drugs for local hospitals, the Western Cape Provincial Coding Committee, the National Essential Medicines List Committee, and international guidelines on HIV, TB, and malaria. The division also contributes to national medicines regulatory and pharmacovigilance activities of the Medicines Control Council; and internationally through the Uppsala drug safety monitoring centre. The Medicines Information Centre provides a telephonic consultation service for healthcare professionals and runs the National HIV & TB Healthcare Worker Helpline. The division produces the South African Medicines Formulary, currently in its 12th edition.
We conduct both pre-clinical and clinical research focused on drugs for malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV. The research in these fields is broad and encompasses drug discovery, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, pharmacometrics, pharmacogenomics, clinical trials, pharmacovigilance, and pharmacoeconomic evaluation. Our peer-reviewed publications for the last 3 years are listed below.
The laboratory plays a key research role in evaluating PK of new chemical entities in small animal models for drug discovery, and of drug/metabolite concentrations in patient samples. The analytical laboratory has been awarded funding as an International Pharmacology Specialty Laboratory from two NIH networks: the AIDS Clinical Trials Group and the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group. Director: Dr. Lubbe Wiesner
Pharmacometrics, or quantitative pharmacology, is the science quantifying drug and disease information with the purpose to aid efficient drug development or regulatory decisions, or to improve the clinical use of drugs.
Mathematical and statistical (nonlinear mixed-effects) models are used to describe the relationship between dose, drug exposure (pharmacokinetics), and response (pharmacodynamics) for both desired and undesired effects, and individual patient characteristics.
The pharmacometrics group at the University of Cape Town is led by Prof Paolo Denti and its research focuses on the pharmacology of antituberculosis, antimalarial, and antiretroviral agents with the aim of improving the way we treat patients for these infectious diseases. Key research areas are drug-drug interactions between antituberculosis, antimalarial, and antiretroviral drugs; the optimisation of dosing in neglected populations (such as children and pregnant women); characterisation of PK/PD relationships and pharmacogenomics.
The group is part of several international collaborations, including the modelling groups at Uppsala University and the University of Liverpool, and is involved in the analysis of data from clinical trials, sponsored by EDCTP, NIH, WHO, MMV, DNDi, MRC (SA & UK), Wellcome Trust and DaniDa, IMPAACT, ACTG.
Prof Karen Barnes is the founding director of the MRC Collaborating Centre for Optimising Antimalarial Therapy. She leads the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network’s pharmacology group. Her interests are in translational research from drug development, through dose optimisation in vulnerable populations to the comprehensive evaluation of changes in antimalarial treatment policy.
Dr Lubbe Wiesner heads malaria pre-clinical drug development research, in collaboration with Prof Kelly Chibale, using tissue culture and small animal models.
Prof Gary Maartens leads research on the effectiveness, adherence, and pharmacoeconomics of antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings. Prof Helen McIlleron leads clinical pharmacokinetic research into antiretroviral drug interactions, and dose optimisation in children and pregnancy. Prof Karen Cohen leads the antiretroviral pharmacovigilance group. Dr Phumla Sinxadi leads pharmacogenomics studies.
Prof Helen McIlleron directs anti-tuberculosis clinical pharmacokinetic studies optimising dosing in children and pregnant women, exploring PK/PD relationships, and pharmacogenomics. Prof Gary Maartens leads research on treatment optimisation of HIV-associated tuberculosis and treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Leading with Excellence
Department of Medicine
Old Main Building
Groote Schuur Hospital
Naledi Hlalukana - HOD office
Tel:+27 (0)21 406 6200