RESEARCH ARTICLE: Development of a pharmacy undergraduate laboratory class which combines compounding, natural products, and analytical chemistry


  • Irene Um The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • Nial J Wheate The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • Joanna Harnett The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW


Complementary Medicines, Pharmacy, Integrated, Laboratory, Thin Layer Chromatography, Analytical Chemistry, Undergraduate


A new three-hour laboratory class was developed integrating concepts of compounding, natural products and analytical chemistry. Students performed thin layer chromatography to detect the active constituent of tea tree oil (1,8-cineole; eucalyptol), and then compounded zinc paste, incorporating tea tree oil. The laboratory class was implemented into a discipline-specific unit, Physical Pharmaceutics and Formulation A, and completed by a cohort of 187 first year pharmacy students in October 2018. This new integrated model for the laboratory resulted in higher student satisfaction scores for the laboratory classes; measured on a Likert scale (from 1 to 5), with a mean score of 4.12 in 2017 which increased to 4.50 in 2018. Overall student satisfaction of the unit also increased from a mean score of 4.08 to 4.32. This laboratory class forms the first activity Sydney Pharmacy Schools suite of indigenous plant laboratory activities in the development of its complementary medicines curricula.

Author Biographies

Irene Um, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW

School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Health

Nial J Wheate, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW

School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Health

Joanna Harnett, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW

School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Health


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Research Article