Alastair G Stewart,


Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
University of Melbourne
Vic 3010.  Australia


The progress of drugs to Phase II clinical trial only to fail due to lack of efficacy has been the focus of much attention in the last 5 years.  More than 50% of agents failing phase II do so because of lack of efficacy, rather than for adverse safety or side effect profiles, or for competitor developments.  This situation can be viewed as a “failure to fail”, in that inefficacious agents are being qualified to progress, based on preclinical data that eventually turns out to have been non-predictive.  There are many reasons for discordance between preclinical and clinical findings.  Here I will focus on the micro-environment of preclinical drug evaluation, considering limitations in the standard mechanical setting for cellular pharmacology and how these may be addressed by applying new technologies, including organoids, cell- and organ-on-a-chip approaches and the use of cells from affected patients.  The comparative merits of animal models and of human cells cultured in suitable mechanical microenvironments for qualifying drug candidates will also be considered.[1].


Krishnan, R., Park, J-A., Seow, C.Y., Lee, P.V.S., Stewart, A.G. (2016).   Cellular biomechanics in drug screening and evaluation: Mechanopharmacology.   Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 37:87-100.

Biographic Details

Name Alastair Stewart

Title: Professor

University of Melbourne, Country: Australia

Phone: +61-431270122 Email:


Alastair Stewart is a Professor of Pharmacology, Co-Director of the Lung Health Research Centre, Chair of Therapeutic Technologies Hallmark Research Initiative and Director of the ARC Industrial Transformation Centre for Personalised Therapeutic Technologies at the University of Melbourne.  He has extensive experience in the field of respiratory and inflammation research. Alastair has published over 200 papers, 3 granted patents and he has served on numerous peer review committees for NHMRC and the scientific advisory boards of several Australian Medical Research Institutes.  His research interests focus on tissue remodelling and a quest for discovery and development of novel drugs targeting tissue remodelling and inflammation.  His long-term interest in steroid pharmacology has also encompassed several studies in tumour biology.  He is currently focussed on elucidating determinants of steroid sensitivity, particularly in airway structural cells and is leading translational research projects seeking novel treatments for steroid resistance. He is developing and applying the concept of mechanopharmacology in drug discovery and ultra-high content screening.  His laboratory has a strong track record of Graduate Research training and he maintains wide interests in education, research, research training and research support structures.  He has been extensively involved with meeting organisation throughout his career, having been a founding member of the International Young Investigators Smooth Muscle meeting series.  More recently he has chaired the Airway inflammation and remodelling (AIR) meetings in Melbourne in 2012 and 2014, 2016.   He is currently Vice President of the Asia Pacific Federation of Pharmacologists.  He promotes interdisciplinary research through roles on Editorial Boards including, Respiratory Research, Pharmacological Research Perspectives and Frontiers in Pharmacology (Translational Pharmacology).


Hawken N202