Emeritus Professor Graham A.R. Johnston AM


Adrien Albert Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry,
Department of Pharmacology, The University of Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia
Room 474 Molecular Bioscience Building G08
phone 61-2-9351-6117; e-mail


  • Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry (appointed 2011)
  • Professor of Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry (1980-2011)
  • Member of Board of Directors, Tick-Borne Diseases Limited and the Karl McManus Foundation for Lyme Disease Research and Awareness (2011-2017)
  • Specialist Member, Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Commonwealth of Australia (1991-2014)
  • ISN Historian, International Society of Neurochemistry and Member of ISN Council (2014-2015)


  • Graduated with first class honours and the university medal in organic chemistry from the University of Sydney in 1960.
  • PhD in organic chemistry with Lord Todd at the University of Cambridge in 1964
  • DPharm honoris causa from the University of Copenhagen in 2007


  • Published more than 430 research publications mainly in the field of neurochemical and neuropharmacological studies on CNS transmitters particularly GABA and glutamate, 3 of which are "Citation Classics" and 64 of which have been cited more than 100 times in the Science Citation Index. (h index: 80 publications have been cited at least 80 times). Total citations >24.000.View citation data.
  • Listed in The 1,000 Contemporary Scientists Most-Cited 1965-1978 by the Institute for Scientific Information (ranked 4th amongst 11 Australian Scientists in this list)

Awards and Honours:

  • Graham Johnston Best Thesis Award, Royal Australian Chemical Institute Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Medical Biology (2016)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales (2015)
  • RACI Honorary Chartered Fellow (2014)
  • ASCEPT Life Membership (2010)
  • ASCEPT Achievement Award for outstanding service to Australasian pharmacology (2008)
  • Honorary degree of Doctor of Pharmaceutical Science from the University of Copenhagen (2007)
  • Centenary Medal, for service to Australian society in pharmacology (2003)
  • Liversidge Lecturer, Royal Society of New South Wales (2002)
  • Fellow, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (2002)
  • Member, Order of Australia (1998), for services to bio organic chemistry and pharmacology, to scientific organisations and to science policy development
  • ANZAAS Medal (1997), Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science for contributions to science particularly in the area of science policy
  • Leighton Memorial Medal (1996), the most prestigious award of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute in recognition of eminent services to chemistry in Australia
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (1993)
  • Inaugural Michael J Rand Medalist, Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (1993) for outstanding contributions to the discipline of clinical and experimental pharmacology and toxicology
  • H.G. Smith Medal, Royal Australian Chemical Institute (1989) for contributions to chemical science in Australia during the previous 10 years
  • Inaugural Australasian Visiting Lecturer, British Pharmacological Society (1989)
  • Visiting Lecturer, New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (1989)
  • Liversidge Lecturer, Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (1988)
  • Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (1978)
  • Royal Society and Nuffield Foundation Commonwealth Bursary (1970-1971)
  • Royal Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 Overseas Studentship (1961-1964)

Editorial Boards of International Scientific Journals:

  • Brain Research (1974-1994)
  • Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology (1988-2012)
  • Current Bioactive Compounds (2008-2014)
  • Current CNS Patents (1989-1990)
  • Current Opinion in Central & Peripheral Nervous System Investigational Drugs (1999-2002 )
  • Developmental Neuroscience (1978-1981)
  • Drug Development Research (1992-1994)
  • Epilepsy Research (1986-1998)
  • European Journal of Pharmacology, Molecular Pharmacology (1988-1991)
  • Future Medicinal Chemistry (Associate Editor, 2008-2015)
  • Interactive Medicinal Chemistry (Senior Editor, 2014- )
  • Journal of Neuroscience Methods (1984-1998)
  • Medicinal Chemistry (Regional Editor, 2010-2015)
  • Molecular Neuropharmacology (1990-1994)
  • Neurochemistry International (1984-1997; Executive Editor Australia & NZ, 1989-1997)
  • Neurochemical Research (1978-1987)
  • Perspectives in Medicinal Chemistry (2007- )

Service to the Scientific Community:

  • ISN Historian, International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN) (2014-2015)
  • Honorary Editor, Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science 1998-2002
  • President, The Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS) 1993-1995, presenting "A Science Policy for Australia in the 21st Century" to the government in June 1995.
  • President, The Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) 1992-1993
  • Foundation President, The Asian Pacific Society for Neurochemistry (APSN) 1991-1994
  • President, The Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT) 1985-1986
  • The first resident Australian to be elected to the Council of the International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN) 1977-1981

Research Interests:

  • The design, synthesis and evaluation of new chemical entities as agents to treat anxiety, epilepsy, insomnia, myopia and memory deficits in disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia
  • The investigation of naturally occurring substances, especially flavonoids, that influence brain function.
  • The effects of stress on brain function.

Research Funding:

  • Total research funding since joining The University of Sydney in 1980: $15,939,180.