Finding better analgesics for the treatment of Australian marsupials


My pharmacology laboratory is the only site in Australia conducting essential research on the pharmacology of medicines in Australian marsupials in order to develop the correct medicine dosages for these species.  My research is recognized globally for its innovation, development of assays to determine the concentrations of medicines in blood and tissues of animals, development of in-vitro models of drug metabolism and studies to optimize the dosages of antibiotics and analgesics and other medicines for koalas and other marsupials. My research publications are listed at and I provide regular updates on my research at As a researcher in my laboratory you will develop analytical skills and critical thinking skills that are in demand by pharmacology research laboratories and medical research laboratories and pharmaceutical companies and make a significant contribution to improving wildlife health.


Associate Professor Merran Govendir

Research Location

Sydney School of Veterinary Science

Program Type



Australian marsupials are hit by cars, or are attacked by feral or wild dogs or are susceptible to other trauma such as being burnt in bushfires. If the marsupials survive they are often found by members of the public and taken to wildlife hospitals and receive some analgesia while  recuperating. However our laboratory discovered that eucalypt eating marsupials metabolise some common analgesics such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) very rapidly and therefore have a very short duration of action of around 1 hr and have little long-term effect. This project will be evaluating analgesic medicines that are used in veterinary medicine to see which ones most efficacious in koalas and in both the common brush-tailed, and ring-tailed possums. The project will involve developing and validating assays to measure medicine concentrations in biological fluids and tissues.   

Additional Information

This project is available to applicants with a good honours degree in the biological sciences or with equivalent experience. An interest in pharmacology is important, but previous experience in pharmacology is desirable but not essential. To be eligible for a university stipend (RTP) to support your candidature you will need a first class honours degree or equivalent. You will be expected to be a self-starter, enjoy critical thinking and be proficient in written English to a reasonably high standard as examination of your candidature is by submission of a written thesis.  

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veterinary, Pharmacology, Koala, medicine, wildlife

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2241

Other opportunities with Associate Professor Merran Govendir