The Institute of Pharmaceutical Science (IPS) is concerned with gaining a detailed understanding of human disease and employing this knowledge to discover, design, develop and ultimately deliver drugs to the patient with a view to improving the management of disease. There is also a strong interest in the appropriate use of medicines. IPS is one of the largest Research Divisions in the health schools and is organised in five groups: Chemical Biology, Drug Delivery, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Pharmaceutical Biophysics, and Clinical Practice and Medication Use. There is a vibrant PhD programme with more than 90 students.
In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, based on the research volume metric, the Institute ranked 5th out of 25 Pharmacy Departments in the U.K. Particular areas of research strength include expertise in Systems Biology, Molecular Biophysics, Medicinal Chemistry and Metal Biology.
IPS has strong links with many of the other research divisions at King’s College London and consequently has developed a critically-important central role in the total research effort of the College. Staff have a substantial number of collaborations at a local, national and international level. Following the accreditation of King’s Health Partners, Academic Health Sciences Centre, the Institute joined three NHS trust pharmacy departments (Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts) and the Guy’s Drug Research Unit (Quintiles) to form the Pharmaceutical Sciences Clinical Academic Grouping. The aim is to cement the collaboration between staff in the Institute and the NHS Trusts and achieve excellence in service provision, in research, and in education and training.
Opportunities are available for graduate research in a wide variety of pharmaceutical subjects ranging from the discovery, design, analysis and formulation of drugs to drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics and toxicology as well as pharmacology, clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice.
Typically a Research Group in the Institute consists of 7 to 14 academic staff and between 5 to 20 PhD students. Work is usually laboratory-based but we also offer molecular simulation and pharmacy practice projects.
The Institute has excellent facilities for molecular biology, cell culture, confocal microscopy, radioisotope, spectroscopy, DNA sequencing, and oligonucleotide synthesis. We are also well set up for in vitro and in vivo gene transfer and the generation and maintenance of genetically modified cells/animals.
Facilities are available for human metabolic studies and for clinical pharmacological studies including non-invasive measurements of body function. Students receive techniques and research methods training from academic and appropriately-trained technical staff.
Central facilities available to staff & students within the Institute include state-of-the-art library and IT facilities, with an extensive collection of books, journals and electronic databases available to all students. Each PhD student is provided with deskspace and computer access.
The School of Biomedical Sciences has strict procedures in place to ensure adherence to good laboratory practice, overseen by the School Safety Manager. In accordance with College policy and procedures, risk assessments are undertaken by the supervisors and the students prior to the commencement of the project. These assessments (and the associated working procedures) are kept under review and modified as necessary.
Students are encouraged to attend the Institute’s in-house seminar programme featuring internationally-renowned academics from UK and overseas institutions, as well as relevant seminars in the other research divisions at King’s. The interdisciplinary nature of the Institute enables postgraduates to benefit not only from exchange of information that takes place in the regular laboratory meetings (postgraduate students give seminars within these fora) but also from cross-fertilization of ideas provided by the five groups. In addition, staff and students within the School of Biomedical Sciences interact with the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing as well as the Institute of Psychiatry.
Every year, all postgraduate students participate in a one-day research symposium which provides the forum for them to present posters or oral communications. The symposium is attended by staff, students and representatives from Research Councils, charities and industry. Students are also encouraged to present their work at national and international conferences and the School of Biomedical Sciences has a travel bursary scheme available to support such activity.
At entry, all new research students in the Institute are inducted into King's Graduate School, and attend courses that provide training on risk assessment, radiation protection, genetic hazards, research on human subjects and the legal basis of animal experimentation. Students are also trained on the nature and ethics of research, organisation of study and experimentation, presentation skills, and approaches to the use of computing, statistics facilities, library and information retrieval. Students acquire further training in transferable skills through the Researcher Development Programme (RDP), which is mandatory for continued registration as a PhD student. King's has implemented a new software package Skills Forge - incorporating a learning needs analysis, a personal development log and an online booking system. In their final year of study, all PhD students are required to attend further courses dealing with thesis preparation, interview skills, and careers. The specialist training demanded for individual research projects is provided by the appropriate academic and/or technical staff within the appropriate research laboratories, either in the College or externally.