Amira originally studied Business before gaining an MPharm degree from the University of Hertfordshire (UH) and awards including the JOEL medal and GPhC award. Amira earned her PhD (UH) on developing spectroscopic and chemometric models to detect New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), culminating publications and the JPAG Geoffrey Phillips award. Whilst at UH, Amira joined the Propharmace pre-registration training team as the Education and Development Manager. Amira became a Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry (UH), progressing to a Senior Lecturer and the MPharm First Year Lead while gaining her FHEA status. In 2019, Amira joined Swansea University as a Senior Lecturer and the MPharm Programme Director. Her research interests include the in-field detection of NPS, Pharmacy Education and Public Health. Notable applications were accomplished in collaboration with Addaction, where Amira, led on setting up the first UK government-approved Drug-Checking Service within an addiction clinic.

Areas of Expertise

  • Identification and classification of new psychoactive substances
  • New psychoactive substances
  • Drug detection using in-field techniques
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Drug education
  • Drug checking services
  • Public Health
  • Clinical Pharmacy
  • Education and training of pre-registration pharmacists
  • Chemometrics
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Drugs of abuse


  1. Schifano, F., Zangani, C., Chiappini, S., Guirguis, A., Bonaccorso, S., Corkery, J. Substance-Use Disorders and Violence (Ed.), Comprehensive Approach to Psychiatry 95 114 Cham Springer International Publishing
  2. Orsolini, L., Chiappini, S., Corkery, J., Guirguis, A., Papanti, D., Schifano, F. The use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in young people and their role in mental health care: a systematic review Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 19 12 1253 1264
  3. Schifano, F., Napoletano, F., Arillotta, D., Zangani, C., Gilgar, L., Guirguis, A., Corkery, J., Vento, A. The clinical challenges of synthetic cathinones British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
  4. Schifano, F., Napoletano, F., Chiappini, S., Guirguis, A., Corkery, J., Bonaccorso, S., Ricciardi, A., Scherbaum, N., Vento, A., Guirguis, A. New/emerging psychoactive substances and associated psychopathological consequences Psychological Medicine 1 13
  5. Calvo-Castro, J., Guirguis, A., Guarino, V., Samaras, E., Zloh, M., Simionato, C., Kirton, S., Stair, J. GC-MS and NMR data for 5-(2-aminopropyl)benzofuran

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  • PM-273 Advances in Toxicology: Pick Your Poison

    BSc Medical Pharmacology module, follow on from PM-147 Introduction to Toxicology. This module will provide students with the opportunity to expand their toxicology knowledge and apply it to analytical experience. This module will encompass medical toxicology, applied toxicology, and clinical poison information. Content will be analytical, forensic and clinical toxicology.

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
March 2019 Present Senior Lecturer and MPharm Programme Director Swansea University Medical School
November 2013 Present Visiting Lecturer University of Hertfordshire - Department of Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Postgraduate Medicines
July 2018 March 2019 Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry University of Hertfordshire - Department of Clinical and Pharmaceutical Sciences
September 2017 March 2019 Learning and Development Manager Propharmace Ltd
October 2016 July 2018 Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry University of Hertfordshire - Department of Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Postgraduate Medicines
December 2013 March 2019 Pre-registration Pharmacists trainer Propharmace Ltd
August 2013 November 2013 Hospital Pharmacist Ealing Hospital NHS Trust Integrated Care Organisation

Key Grants and Projects

  • Drug Checking under a Home Office licence in a substance misuse service 2016

    , with Gittins, R.

  • Assessing Knowledge and Enhancing Detection of Seized Psychoactive Substances in UK Prisons 2018

    , with Stair, J. & Kirton, S

  • A comparative study of the use and impact of cognitive enhancers within Higher Education in the UK and UAE 2018

    , with Fergus, S. & Schifano, F.

  • How do healthcare professionals experience, view and respond to users of new psychoactive substances? 2018

    , with Grierson, J., McBard, L.

Research Groups

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Programme Director, MPharm - Swansea University Medical School

    2019 - Present