Accolade for leader in clinical pharmacology

A key player in improving drug therapies, Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor John Miners, has been made a fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Flinders University’s College of Medicine and Public Health and the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, he is credited with playing a “pivotal role in establishing drug metabolism as a predictive science that supports preclinical drug development and the clinical use of drugs.”

Professor Miners’ research has:

  • Identified sources of variability in drug metabolism, especially drug-drug interactions and pharmacogenetics
  • Characterised the substrate and inhibitor selectivities and structure-function relationships of the key drug metabolising enzymes cytochrome P450 and UDP-glucuronosyltransferase
  • Developed in vitro experimental paradigms that predict drug metabolism and disposition parameters in humans.

Research into characterising the enzymatic basis of drug metabolism continues to underpin the individualisation of drug therapy in humans – improving treatments and survival rates in a wide range of diseases and chronic conditions.

Professor Miners, who was elected to the fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science in 2014, joins 36 other new fellows acknowledged by the AAHMS this year in recognition of their outstanding contributions.

The Academy President, Professor Ian Frazer AC, said: “I am delighted to welcome these 37 outstanding researchers to the Academy’s Fellowship.

“Their diverse talents and expertise reflect the incredible breadth and depth of Australia’s world class health and medical research.

“It is thanks to their expertise that we can play a valuable role in ensuring that Australia continues to address some of the world’s most pressing health challenges,” Professor Frazer says.

A graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, Professor Miners was a postdoctoral research scientist at Oxford University before moving to Adelaide to take a position as toxicologist in the Biochemistry and Chemical Pathology department at Flinders Medical Centre in 1977.

He moved to Clinical Pharmacology at Flinders in 1978 and later led the department for 10 years until 2013. He is currently holding a research-only position as Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Professor Miners’ work on the molecular basis of the metabolic properties of drug metabolising enzymes is using sophisticated computational approaches known as Molecular Dynamics Simulations. The NHMRC project grant, with Professor Ross McKinnon, is investigating the molecular basis of cytochrome P450 ligand binding: ‘Towards predicting enzyme substrate selectivity and drug-drug interaction potential’.

Dr Andrew Rowland, who is supervised by Professor Miners, and Dr Pramod Nair are adding to the rich stream of research in clinical pharmacology at Flinders.

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College of Medicine and Public Health Research