Toxicology Research

Our research focuses on the prevention, treatment and impact of poisonings.

Our specialist staff run the busy Poisons Information Centre, a telephone service which provides public information regarding risk assessment and simple first aid. We are working to systematically analyse information collected in some 250,000 calls annually, with the aim of understanding why some people self-poison and the toxicity of drugs in different people. We influence practice by developing better treatment protocols and diagnostic tests and by trialling new antidotes.

We conduct randomised trials looking at different education interventions which aim to reduce the likelihood of poisonings. We also conduct surveillance of drug toxicity and recommend policy changes regarding the regulation of drugs.

We collaborate widely with national and international networks including the South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research Collaboration, the National Poisons Information Network and the Australian Snake Bite project. Some of our research is conducted in Sri Lanka, where we are running a number of randomised trials.

Please visit the Poisons Information Centre for general and clinical information.

The research team

> Research Team Members:

  • Dr Jared Brown, senior poisons specialist, email:
  • Dr Nick Buckley, clinical toxicologist
  • Dr Andrew Dawson, toxicologist
  • Dr Rose Cairns, senior poisons specialist
  • Ms Alanna Huynh, poisons information specialist

Key publications

Brown JA, Buckley NA (2014) Toxicity from bodybuilding supplements and recreational use of products containing 1,3-dimethylamylamine. Med J Aust 6;198(8):414-5

Brett J, Dawson AH, Brown JA (2014) Clenbuterol toxicity: a NSW poisons information centre experience. Med J Aust 200(4):219-21

Brown JA, Buckley NA (2013) Carbon monoxide-induced death and toxicity from charcoal briquettes. Comment. Med J Aust 198(2):86

Gunja N, Brown JA (2012) Energy drinks: health risks and toxicity. MJA: The Medical Journal of Australia 196(1): 46-49

Pirotta M, Kotsirilos V, Brown JA, Adams J, Morgan T, Williamson M (2010) Complementary medicine in general practice: a national survey of GP attitudes and knowledge. Australian Family Physician 39(12): 946-950