Introducing our new Departments

Welcome to the Department of Anatomy and Physiology and the Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacology.

This month, the School of Biomedical Sciences has consolidated its five departments into three to strengthen collaboration opportunities, build research critical mass and streamline teaching for the next generation of biomedical researchers, doctors and health professionals.

The changes are designed to support the School in continuing its long and successful history of teaching and research excellence.

The new departments are:

  • The Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacology (a consolidation of the departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Pharmacology and Therapeutics); and
  • The Department of Anatomy and Physiology (a consolidation of the departments of Anatomy and Neuroscience and Physiology).

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology remains unchanged. Working with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunology, this department continues its important work on infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infections.

Professor Jennifer Wilkinson-Berka said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the School to strengthen many aspects of the world-class research and teaching we do at the country’s largest School of Biomedical Sciences.”

"Our two new departments will benefit from interdisciplinary teaching and the development of integrated research programs – now more than ever, we are seeing the impact of scientific collaboration and the success that can be achieved by working towards common goals."

“The Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacology will deliver an integrated drug research program spanning small molecule research to drug development. While the Department of Anatomy and Physiology will focus on advancing the research and teaching of developmental, degenerative and chronic disease.”

The School has announced the new department Heads and Deputy Heads as:

Biochemistry and Pharmacology

  • Professor Ian van Driel, Head of Department
  • Associate Professors James Ziogas and Stuart Ralph, Deputy Heads of Department

Anatomy and Physiology

  • Professor Matthew Watt, Head of Department
  • Professor Gary Hime, Deputy Head of Department

Professor van Driel, who was also interim Head of School in early 2020, said his new department has a remarkable breadth and depth in research expertise that underpin its key themes of discovery science, molecular understanding of disease, translational research, drug discovery and development.

“The combination of our two disciplines gives us deep strengths to make fundamental discoveries in biomedical sciences and be able to translate this knowledge outcomes that benefit the community. We have extraordinary access to powerful technology platforms to advance this mission both at facilities in the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute and in the University of Melbourne Medical Building. Additionally, we are excited about building upon our education offerings in biochemistry and pharmacology and have plans to introduce some innovative teaching offerings to students in the coming years.”

Professor Watt, added his vision for the Department of Anatomy and Physiology is to remain at the forefront of scientific research aimed at understanding the structure and function of the human body in health and disease – while employing novel and imaginative research methods.

“The increase in critical mass of our researchers will also help position the department as a key partner for Medical Research Future Foundation (MRFF) and other large-scale grant applications relating to chronic, developmental and degenerative diseases,” he says.

To learn more about the new departments visit:

Anatomy and Physiology

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Biochemistry and Pharmacology

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