Man in white lab coat looking up through a transparent slidePharmacology and Toxicology are allied scientific disciplines concerned with investigations of the physiological and biochemical actions of endogenous compounds, drugs, and toxins on living tissues. These studies range in scope from investigations at the molecular level to clinical pharmacological and toxicological responses in humans.  The ability of pharmacologists to elucidate basic mechanisms of drug action in living cells and biological systems has permitted the development of a rational approach to drug design and use.  In addition, pharmacologists and toxicologists study compounds to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of toxicity.  Faculty research is directed at multiple disease states, including cancer, metabolic diseases, infectious diseases, and diseases of inflammation.

Below is a list of full and associate faculty members with whom students may pursue their research in the Pharmacology and Toxicology research track. Each entry lists the faculty member's name, highest academic credentials, title and department at the College of Pharmacy and a brief description of his or her research interests. For more information about a faculty member, click on his or her name.

Students wishing to conduct research with associate faculty members are required to obtain permission from the Executive Council of the Pharmacology and Toxicology track.

Core Faculty

Qin Chen, PhD, Professor, Pharmacology
Molecular mechanisms of oxidative injury and adaptation, stress signal transduction pathways, stress gene expression, senescence, apoptosis and cardiac hypertrophy.

Yin Chen, PhD, Associate Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
Research interest is to understand the dysfunction of airway epithelium in the pathogenesis of a variety of acute and chronic airway diseases.

Nathan Cherrington, PhD, Associate Dean for Research, Director of Graduate Studies and Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
Molecular mechanisms of variable drug response that make certain individuals more sensitive to adverse drug reactions. We study what factors alter the expression and function of the drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters that determine the fate of drugs.

Xinxin Ding, PhD, Department Head and Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
Biomarker research; chemical carcinogenesis; drug/xenobiotic metabolism; drug safety; environmental health; lung diseases; molecular/mechanistic toxicology; pharmacogenomics

Bernard Futscher, PhD, Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
Functional genomics; molecular biology of cancer; cancer pharmacology.

Walter Klimecki, PhD, Interim Department Head and Associate Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
My laboratory studies how the genes that people inherit from their ancestors set the stage for unique interactions with the environments that those people are exposed to throughout their life, to increase or decrease their susceptibility to disease. Those environmental exposures could be diverse, ranging from environmental toxicant chemicals to airborne bacterial contaminants to prescribed drugs. The combination of humans' diverse genetic backgrounds and equally diverse environmental exposures present both challenges and opportunities to understand individual variability in disease susceptibility.

R. Clark Lantz, PhD, Associate Department Head, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Pulmonary toxicology of air pollutants, especially metals; effects of air pollutants on neonatal lung growth and development.

Aikseng Ooi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
Molecular carcinogenesis; Mutation-driven transcriptional and metabolic reprogramming; Carcinogen-driven transcriptional and metabolic reprogramming; Computational biology.

John Regan, PhD, Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
Molecular pharmacology of G-protein coupled receptors: use of cloning, mutagenesis and expression to study receptor structure and the interaction of receptors with second messenger systems.

Rick Schnellmann, PhD, Dean and Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology
Identifying and developing drugs to treat acute kidney injury, diabetic kidney disease, stroke, spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s disease.

Catharine Smith, PhD, Associate Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
Epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation, steroid receptor action in breast cancer, signal transduction and cell cycle control, mechanism of anti-cancer drug action.

Richard Vaillancourt, PhD, Associate Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
Molecular and biochemical characterization of serine/threonine protein kinases that function as part of sequential protein kinase pathways.

Donna Zhang, PhD, Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
The research projects in my laboratory are focused on (1) Mechanistic studies of the Nrf2/Keap1
signaling pathway that is activated by oxidative stress and chemopreventive compounds, (2) the protective role of Nrf2 in arsenic-induced toxicity and carcinogenicity (this project is funded by NIEHS R01 award), and (3) regulation of gene expression by the ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation pathway.

Qing-Yu Zhang, PhD, Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology

Our main focus is to study the regulation of intestinal P450 expression and function by physiological, pathological, and environmental factors, and the P450 function in drug clearance, drug-induced toxicity, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Associate Faculty
Eli Chapman, PhD, Assistant Professor, Drug Discovery & Development
Our lab uses chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology, and cell and molecular biology to discover targeted modulators of a diverse array of pathologically relevant targets.

Chris Hulme, PhD, Professor, Drug Discovery & Development       
Discovery and development of novel anticancer therapeutics; high-throughput Medicinal Chemistry  and the development of novel chemistries with iterative efficiency to expedite the drug discovery process; Microwave Assisted Organic Synthesis (MAOS), Flow chemistry, Multicomponent reactions (MCRs) and C-H bond activation methodologies utilizing hypervalent iodine reagents for the design of peptidomimetics.

Daekyu Sun, PhD, Associate Professor, Drug Discovery & Development
Discovery and development of novel anti-angiogenic agents targeting transcriptional activation of VEGF and HIF-1alpha genes; Study of the mechanism of action of novel anticancer agents derived from natural products: Investigation of DNA-repair interference as a potential approach for cancer treatment.

Jun Wang, PhD, Assistant Professor, Drug Discovery & Development
Elucidating the drug resistance mechanism of influenza viruses; design and synthesis broad-spectrum and resistance-refractory antiviral drugs; studying virus-host interactions and immune responses; drug discovery and structural biology of ion channels; exploring peptide and miniprotein-based therapeutics.

Georg Wondrak, PhD, Associate Professor, Drug Discovery & Development
Reactivity-based drug discovery targeting the redox Achilles heel of skin cancer.

Originally posted: August 6, 2014
Last updated: February 12, 2018
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