Pharmacology is the study of the changes produced in living animals by chemical substances, especially the actions of drugs used to treat disease. It involves systematic investigation of the effects of drugs based on animal experimentation and the use of isolated and purified active substances.
Pharmacologists, emphasizing the mechanisms by which drugs act, draw on the disciplines of physiology, pathology, biochemistry, and bacteriology. Pharmacology embraces a number of sciences, including pharmacodynamics (the study of the action of drugs on a living body), therapeutics (use of drugs and method of administration in treatment for disease), material medical(study of the source, composition, characteristics, and preparation of drugs), toxicology (study of poisons and their action and of methods of treating poisoning), pharmaceutical chemistry(chemistry in relation to drugs), and pharmacy (the preparation and dispensing of drugs for medical use).
The Department plays a unique role in the University as the only department involved in the teaching of pharmacology and toxicology to almost all the students in the College of Health Sciences and to optometry students in the College of Sciences. The department enjoys this special role and ensures that courses are designed to meet the needs of students in the various programmes in the college without compromising on the basic principles and implications of drug action and use in humans and animals.
The department offers courses in physiology, pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacy informatics (Information Technology) to undergraduate students in the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree programme. In addition, the Department provides courses in basic and applied pharmacology and toxicology to undergraduate students taking the B.Sc. (Human Biology) degree programme and BSc. Nursing, at the School of Medical Sciences. The Department also provides courses in Pharmacology, biochemistry and pharmacy informatics to the undergraduate students taking the BSc. Herbal Medicine programme, and ocular pharmacology to the Doctor of Optometry of the College of Physical Sciences.
The Department focuses research attention on pharmacological and toxicological investigations aimed at elucidating the scientific basis of the therapeutic efficacy and safety characteristics of indigenous medicinal plants of Ghana. These activities are undertaken in collaboration with some department at KNUST, the Center for scientific and Industrial Research into Plant Medicine, Mampong-Akwapim and the Animal Research Institute (CSIR).
The department is engaged in the search for plants that are useful as anti-inflamatory & analgesic, antidiabetic, antiasthmatic, antioxidants and those that enhance learning and memory.
The department has established research research links with the department of Biological Sciences and strengthened its links with Center for Scientific Reseach into Plant Mediscine. The center's products are currently under toxicological and pharmacological reviews in the Department. The objective of the collaborative link with the Animal Research Institute (CSIR) is to investigate herbal preparations in livestock development focusing attention mainly on the production of herbal medicaments for sheep and goat diseases. Clinically based projects with collaborators in the Departments of Medicine and Paediatrics of the School of Medical Sciences and the Department of Biological Sciences have also been initiated. The department has just received a grant of US$176,000 from the World Bank/NCTE for the establishment of a cell culture laboratory to enhance postgraduate training and research in molecular pharmacology and toxicology. This laboratory which will be fully equipped with modern equipments for molecular biology research is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year.
The department provides consultancy services to the local pharmaceutical industry, research establishments, clinics, traditional medical practitioners and individuals on the therapeutic potentials and toxity profile of new drugs and medicinal plant products. Members of the department provide professional services to various institutions such as the Traditional Medicine Directorate of the Ministry of Health, Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana and West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists.