Press Releases

New Professor of Pharmacy appointed – University of Reading

Release Date : 10 February 2005

Liz WilliamsonReading's new School of Pharmacy has cemented its burgeoning reputation with the appointment of Elizabeth Williamson as Professor of Pharmacy. Professor Williamson, whose research interests are the medical uses of natural medicines and the insecticidal effects of natural products, joins Reading from the University of London's School of Pharmacy, where she was a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy. Her appointment comes shortly after the official launch of the new School and the addition of Professor Adrian Williams to the School's staff as Director of Pharmaceutics. Professor Williamson has been a practising pharmacist since 1978, with experience in both hospital and community pharmacy as a superintendent pharmacist, and more recently as an NVQ pharmacy technician supervisor. She has been a prescribing advisor for local GP's surgeries, and co-ordinated a pilot mental health project at a local patients drop-in centre, designed to improve concordance of patients taking psychiatric drugs. She also instituted a counselling and 'needle exchange' scheme for drug users as part of a harm reduction programme, and has carried out research on a number of drugs of abuse, particularly cannabis. "My main research interests are concerned with natural, including herbal, medicines, and their possible interactions with prescription medicines," said Professor Williamson. "Plant medicines are highly complex, and their safe and effective use requires knowledge of their chemistry and mechanisms of action, which involves the pharmacology of their constituents and any interactions between the components. It also depends on their quality control, and I am a member of the groups who develop monographs for purity of herbal drugs and essential oils for the European and British Pharmacopoeias, as well as being a Member of the Medicines Commission." Professor Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Phytotherapy Research, and she is on the editorial advisory boards of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, and Human Psychopharmacology. Reading's School of Pharmacy was officially launched on Thursday 20 January 2005 with guest of honour Professor Tony Moffat, former Chief Scientist of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RSPGB). Postgraduate education began in January 2005 with a RPSGB-accredited course on Supplementary Prescribing for Pharmacists. In addition, the School has recently obtained Stage 3 Accreditation from the RPSGB to enrol students on to the four-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) programme from October 2005. End Notes for editors -The School of Pharmacy is subdivided into five disciplines: Pharmacology; Pharmaceutical Chemistry; Pharmaceutics; Pharmacy Practice; and Postgraduate Education. As student numbers grow over the coming years, so will the number of high quality core pharmacy academic staff. Both staff and students will benefit from the School's proximity to The University of Reading's internationally renowned research groupings in the biomedical sciences, medicinal chemistry, nutraceuticals, food biosciences and plant sciences. -For a photograph of Professor Williamson, and any other media enquiries, please contact Craig Hillsley, the University of Reading's press officer. Tel: 0118 378 7388 Email:


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