The Adrien Albert Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry was named after the late Adrien Albert, who established medicinal chemistry in Australia and was the author of many important books including Selective Toxicity. Adrien Albert worked in the laboratory, now named after him, in the 1940s when he was an advisor on medical chemistry to the Medical Directorate of the Australian Army. While in Sydney, Albert did his pioneering work on acridines including large scale syntheses of the acridine antimalarial, mepacrine and the acridine antiseptic, proflavine. With Walter Gledhill, he published the first synthesis of the compound now known as Tacrine, the first agent to be approved for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Following the retirement of Professors Robin Allan and Graham Johnston the Adrien Albert Laboratory of Medical Chemisty is in limbo pending the demolition of the Blackburn Building and the building of a new Health Sciences Precinct.

The Laboratory's expertise was in the medicinal chemistry, neurochemistry and neuropharmacology of the amino acid neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate, and of ATP-gated potassium channels. The Laboratory had projects involving the design, synthesis and evaluation of new chemical entities as investigational and as therapeutic agents. The major target disorders included Alzheimer's disease, anxiety disorders, diabetes epilepsy and schizophrenia.

The Adrien Albert Laboratory was to be officially opened by Albertin January 1990, when he was to have been presented with the Royal Australian Chemical Insitute's Ollé Prize in Sydney for his last book 'Xenobiosis: Food, Drugs and Poisons in the Human Body'. Unfortunately, his health suddenly deteriorated and he died in Canberra on 29 December 1989. As he fell ill, he learned also that he had been awarded a DSc (honoris causa) from the University of Sydney. This degree was conferred posthumously in March 1990. Albert's remarkable scientific career, after graduating from the University of Sydney with a BSc (First Class Honours in Chemistry) and the University Medal in 1932, continued right up to his death. His great contributions to medicinal chemistry in Australia have been commemorated by the naming after him of the Adrien Albert Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Sydney and by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute's Division of Medicinal and Agricultural Chemistry (now the RACI Division of Biomolecular Chemistry) naming its most distinguished award, The Adrien Albert Award. The Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK have instituted an Adrien Albert Lectureship, while the Australian National University has established an Adrien Albert Prize for chemistry honours students.

The Adrien Albert Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry was the centre of an integrated drug design and development unit with particular expertise in:

  • computer aided drug design;
  • chemical synthesis;
  • pharmacological assessment of drug action;
  • molecular biology of cloned receptors and transporters; and
  • in vivo assessment of animal behaviour and acute toxicity.

Opportunities existed in the Laboratory for collaborative industrial R&D projects that offer high intellectual interest for university researchers, together with unique entry-level commercial opportunities for investors and industrial partners leading to patentable new chemical entities.

Further Information please contact:

Emeritus Professor Graham Johnston
Discipline of Pharmacology
School of Medical Sciences, D06
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006

Phone/voice mail (within Australia) 02 9351 6117;
Phone/voice mail (outside Australia) 61 2 9351 6117;