Our History

A history of teaching and researching biochemistry and pharmacology since 1938.

In 1996, Dr Natalie Korszniak, completed a history of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Melbourne, for the period 1953 to 1995. The book traces the history of the department from 1953 when the Chair of Pharmacology, Roy Douglas Wright, was initially established and documents the development of the department and the significant contributions made by various people within it. Much of the history detailed in the book parallels the development of the modern science of pharmacology as we know it today. This is particularly notable in the change of research themes over the years.

The Foundation Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Melbourne, William John Young, was appointed in 1938. Professor Young and Arthur Harden achieved international recognition for their roles in discovering the pathway of glycolysis – the major means of glucose metabolism in virtually all organisms. The second professor and Head of the School of Biochemistry, Victor Martin Trikojus, held the position from 1943 to 1968. Professor Trikojus showed visionary leadership in overseeing the design and construction on Medical Road of the Russell Grimwade School of Biochemistry – the first building in Australia dedicated to the discipline of biochemistry. The building was demolished in 2008 to make way for the new Australian Centre for Neuroscience and Mental Health Research. Researchers from the department moved into new laboratories at the University's Bio21 Institute in 2005.

The new Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacology is the result of a merger between the Department of Pharmacology and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in January 2021.

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