Discover our research

Pharmaceutical science is a key strategic research area for the University of South Australia (UniSA). The Centre for Pharmaceutical Innovation (CPI) is at the forefront of this research. Research that has been ranked well above world-class1 in the areas of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences. CPI has over sixteen researchers and is committed to its vision to become an internationally recognised pharmaceutical research enterprise. Delivering better medicines. And importantly, investing in future pharmaceutical leaders. Preparing them to innovate, excel and succeed.

12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

Delivering breakthroughs in partnership with industry

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  • drugs-pill-bad Pharmaceutical Innovation and Development minus-thin plus-thin

    Pharmaceutical Innovation and Development

    UniSA’s research in pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences is ranked well above world-class1. The Pharmaceutical Innovation and Development Group (PIDG), led by Professor Sanjay Garg, covers the full gamut of pharmaceutical research. From initial mechanistic studies to preclinical and clinical product development. Our interdisciplinary research is underpinned by a staunch commitment to engagement, innovation, translation, and real-world impact.

    PIDG is available to assist in all aspects of progressing molecules to medicines. We offer comprehensive and customised solutions to complex product development challenges, including poor solubility, stability, and targeted delivery. Our efficient partnership-driven approach allows us to effectively manage resources. It also enables us to work closely with industry to develop cutting-edge pharmaceutical, biotechnological, complementary, nutritional, and cosmetic products for both human and veterinary use.

    Our research focus is novel anticancer drug delivery systems, infections, veterinary medicine, and other patient-centric projects.

    Cancer Drug Targeting, local and systemic delivery approaches:

    • 3D Printing technology for drug targeting.
    • Oesophageal and colonic stents as the vehicles for delivering single and combination drugs.
    • Intracellular drug targeting using monocytes specific polymers.
    • Novel drug-loaded site-specific and responsive hydrogel for colon cancer.
    • Active delivery of anticancer agents to breast tumours, by functionalising drug-loaded and pH-responsive mesoporous silica nanoparticles with targeting ligands.

    Novel Antimicrobial Compounds and Formulations for human and veterinary applications:

    • Preclinical development of new drug candidates with activity against resistant pathogens.
    • Investigate the role of pH in wound healing and design of novel pH-responsive wound healing systems.
    • New therapeutics for wound repair using nanotechnology.
    • New therapeutics for Acne.
    • Novel antimicrobial and anti-giardia formulations.

    Veterinary Delivery Systems for cattle, horses, pigs, cats, dogs, fish and other animals:

    • Innovative long-acting injectable IM formulation for the treatment of equine gastric ulcer.
    • Antimicrobial formulation for mastitis.
    • Sustained-release formulation for canine otitis infections.
    • Oral paste formulations for horses.
    • Delivery systems for use in the pork industry.
    • Taste masking of drugs used in aquaculture.

    Patient-centric projects that benefit patients directly and are at the crossroads of pharmacy practice and science:

    • New technologies to improve patient adherence, especially in Alzheimer’s Disease, psychosis and infectious diseases using 3D printing and lipid-based formulation strategies.
    • New technologies for contraception.
    • Extemporaneous compounding stability and product development, in collaboration with local hospitals.
    • Bioanalysis of drugs in human milk.

    12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

  • dna-genetics Nanostructure and Drug Delivery minus-thin plus-thin

    Nanostructure and Drug Delivery

    The Nanostructure and Drug Delivery Group conducts research on drug delivery systems and provides innovative solutions to therapeutic challenges by advancing molecules to medicines. Led by Professor Clive Prestidge and co-led by Dr Paul Joyce the group provides outstanding research training and mentorship for undergraduate and postgraduate students. 

    Our researchers use pharmaceutical science, drug delivery and nanomedicine approaches to advance new medicines in health and medical fields, including; cancer therapy, infectious diseases, gut & metabolic health, mental health & antipsychotics, antivirals and cardiovascular drugs. We have a strong focus on developing drug delivery solutions to address unmet clinical needs. We translate our research findings into the clinic, through successful cross-disciplinary collaborations with biomedical researchers, clinicians, and with a highly developed network of industry collaborations. 

    Our research focus includes: 

    The gut as a biological barrier.  Development of hybrid lipid-based oral drug delivery systems that mimic the pharmaceutical food effect; regulate pharmacomicrobiomics and the gut microbiome; overcome biological barriers including gastric degradation, mucus and intestinal permeation of oral biologics; and targeted lymphatic delivery. 

    Combating recalcitrant infections. Nano-carriers for the eradication of bacterial and fungal biofilms and intracellular infections. Through our establishment of the Adelaide Biofilm Test Facility, we offer customised solutions to improve the treatment and prevention of biofilm-associated infections.

    Next generation nanomedicines. Enabling safe and more efficacious cancer therapies; improving T-cell immunotherapy; establishing prodrug-nanomedicine combinations for improved oral chemotherapy; and engineering lipid nanoparticle enables gene delivery for cancer vaccine and overcoming chemo-resistance. 


  • laboratory-chemistry-experiment Applied Chemistry and Translational Biomaterials minus-thin plus-thin

    Applied Chemistry and Translational Biomaterials

    The Applied Chemistry and Translational Biomaterials group (ACTB) conducts innovative research into controlled delivery, detection and bioconjugation strategies.

    We are a globally and culturally diverse team of researchers. Our expertise spans the fields of chemistry, engineering, and pharmaceutical sciences. We work closely with other laboratories, industry, and key stakeholders to develop innovative solutions to current and emerging end-user inspired challenges.

    Specialising in the discovery of innovative and transformative concepts, materials, and technologies we are working to address challenges across multiple sectors. These includes the pharmaceutical industry, as well as defence, environmental and ecological sectors.

    Our research focus includes:

    • Bio-responsive polymers and nanomedicine delivery systems.
    • Injectable implants for the controlled delivery of drugs and adoptive cell therapies.
    • Ligation strategies for the synthesis of (bio)conjugates.
    • Antimicrobial conjugates and interfaces.
    • Targeted delivery systems for the protection of native animals.
    • Detection systems for ecoefficient mining, resource recovery and threat agent protection.
  • microscope-science-investigate Bioinorganic Synthesis and Imaging minus-thin plus-thin

    Bioinorganic Synthesis and Imaging

    The Bioinorganic Synthesis and Imaging group is focused on developing theranostic agents for cancer and metabolic diseases. We are working to advance knowledge in biology and improve health by synthesising fluorescent and luminescent molecules and developing improved filtration devices.

    Our interdisciplinary research involves using synthetic organic and inorganic chemistry to develop new fluorescent and luminescent molecules. The molecules’ interactions (lipid binding) or function (anticancer or antimicrobial activity) within the cell are characterised using advanced imaging techniques. We also leverage our expertise in chemistry and the understanding of small molecular interactions to deliver innovative solutions to water remediation, eliminating the presence of cancer-causing chemicals in water.

    Working directly with industry partners, we develop new compounds and generate solutions for industry. Our research focus can be classified into four main areas.

    • Developing long-lived stable luminescent molecules capable of targeting, tracking and / or reporting on events in live cells and in high throughput screening applications.
    • Designing molecules capable of theranostic activity through the introduction of luminescent metals.
    • Exploring new classes of antimicrobials to help in the fight against resistance.
    • Improving water quality through advanced materials.
  • bottle-pills-medicine Pharmacotherapeutics minus-thin plus-thin


    The pharmacotherapeutics research group aims to identify better ways to use existing medicines.

    Our group specialises in the development of novel liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) based assays to quantify small molecule and protein-based medicines. These assays can be validated to FDA regulatory standards. We have also developed assays to quantify endogenous molecules, which can be used as markers of disease activity or drug effect.

    We’re working to determine relationships between drug concentrations and drug efficacy and toxicity. This allows us to develop algorithms that personalise drug dosage and identify novel dosing regimens. We also consider the effect that other modifiable patient factors, including inherited genetics (pharmacogenomics) and patient behaviours (medication adherence), have on the effects of medicines. This can be used  to inform drug selection and develop novel patient education strategies. Our collaborations with influential clinicians such as Professor Susanna Proudman at the Royal Adelaide Hospital / Adelaide University are integral to this work.

    Our group also has extensive experience utilising in vitro models of drug metabolism (utilising animal and human microsomes). We have identified how different disease states modify the level of exposure that we have to various medicines.