Molecular Pharmacology

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Biomedical research in the Molecular Pharmacology program is focused on molecular and cellular mechanisms of intracellular signaling using a combination of biochemical, molecular biological, biophysical, ultrastructural, and imaging approaches. Basic information on cellular communication in health and disease provides the basis for the development and testing of novel therapeutic agents. Applications of this common theme are directed toward research in molecular biology of cancer, neuropharmacology, drug discovery, and cell and organ system pharmacology. Formal interactions with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, the Center for Neuroscience, the Drug Discovery Institute, the Structural Biology Imaging Center, the Vascular Medicine Institute, and the Division of Clinical Pharmacology provide a broad multidisciplinary training in basic and translational molecular pharmacology.


Research interests focus upon signal transduction, cancer pharmacology, neuropharmacology, drug discovery, and the pharmacology of cell and organ systems.

Cancer Pharmacology
Pharmacology of Cell and Organ Systems
Drug Discovery
Signal Transduction


Elias Aizenman
Cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal cell death
Daniel L. Altschuler
Associate Professor
G-protein signaling mechanisms in mitogenesis and oncogenesis; adult and cancer stem cells; tumor clonality
Carolyn J Anderson
Christopher James Bakkenist
Associate Professor
DNA damage signaling
Aaron Barchowsky
Hulya Bayir
Kara Anne Bernstein
Assistant Professor
Robert Julian Binder
Lori Ann Birder
Associate Professor
Study a number of ion channel/receptor targets within the bladder epithelium and the possible role of the urothelium in urinary bladder function.
Alessandro Bisello
Associate Professor
Structure, signalling and trafficking of G-protein-coupled receptors. Role of EBP50 in vascular remodeling and role of GLP-1 in pancreatic beta cell function
Timothy Burns
Guillermo Calero
Assistant Professor
Biochemical and structural studies, using x-ray crystallography of large multi-protein complexes such as the s. cerevisiae transcriptional apparatus and the human nucleotide excision repair machinery
Stephen Chan
Dennis P. Curran
Natural products total synthesis, new synthetic methods, stereochemistry, radical chemistry, and fluorous chemistry
Donald B. DeFranco
glucocorticoids and neurodevelopment; prostate cancer
William C. deGroat
Distinguished Professor
Study of the autonomic mechanisms involved in the control of urogenital function; study of visceral pain mechanisms
Julie L. Eiseman
Associate Professor
Preclinical studies of potential anti-cancer agents, both in vitro and in vivo, and provides laboratory support for phase I clinical trials
John D. Fernstrom
Control of neurotransmitter and neuropeptide synthesis and function
Bruce A. Freeman
Cell Signaling; Redox Reactions
Peter A. Friedman
Parathyroid hormone receptor trafficking, regulation, signaling.
Ferruccio Galbiati
Associate Professor
Signal transduction mechanisms in muscular dystrophy and ageing/cancer
Mark Thomas Gladwin
Angela M. Gronenborn
Distinguished Professor
Biomolecular structure and its correlation to function in transcription factor complelxes, HIV-2 proteins and signaling proteins
Gregg E. Homanics
Application of transgenic technologies to investigate the molecular targets of ethanol and general anesthetics; production of animal models of human disease
John P. Horn
Synaptic integration in sympathetic ganglia and in midbrain dopamine neurons; neurotransmitter signaling through G-protein coupled receptors
Jeffrey S. Isenberg
Associate Professor
matrix cellular control of nitric oxide; cyto-protective pathways in relation to radiation; ROS mediated stress, pulmonary hypertension
Edwin K. Jackson
The physiology and pharmacology of endogenous modulators of growth, structure and function of cells in the heart, blood vessels and kidneys, with particular focus on adenosine, the renin-angiotensin soystem and estradiol metabolites
Tija Carey Jacob
Assistant Professor
Dynamically regulated GABAAR surface levels and distribution in normal development and pathological conditions.
Yu Jiang
Associate Professor
Signaling mechanisms for cell growth control; Regulation of protein kinases and phosphatases
Valerian E. Kagan
Nitric oxide interactions with cellular components, redox status during cellular injury and repair
Anthony J. Kanai
Associate Professor
Roles of the urothelium, interstitial cells, afferent nerves in urinary incontinence using optical mapping; nitric oxide in radiation cystitis and the mitochondrial targeting of radioprotectants
Lawrence Patrick Kane
Associate Professor
Immunilogic function and signaling of TIM proteins
Thomas Wells Kensler
Keap 1-Nrf2 signaling as a target for disease prevention
Seungwon Kim
Otolaryngology - EGFR in head and neck cancer
Thomas R. Kleyman
Adrian Vincent Lee
Endocrine regulation of mammary gland development and progressions to mammary cancer
Edwin S. Levitan
neurotransmission, channels and signaling
Satdarshan P.S. Monga
Cancer; cancer stem cells; development; regeneration; stem cells; wnt beta-catenin pathway; molecular therapy; liver
Carola A Neumann
Visiting Associate Professor
Roderick O'Sullivan
Telomere function and epigenetics in cancer and aging
Steffi Oesterreich
Molecular mechanism and clinical relevance of endocrine response in breast cancer; nuclear receptor signaling in ovarian cancer
Patrick Joseph Pagano
development of peptic, viral and small molecular inhibitors of NADPH oxidases and reactive species to assess NOX involvement in cardiovascular disease as well as to devise new therapies
Michael John Palladino
Associate Professor
Combined molecular and genetic approach to identify key proteins required for neural maintenance with age and understand the role of these gene products in human disease conditions
Bruce R. Pitt
Role of oxidants and nitric oxide in affecting pulmonary endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cell function.
Guillermo G. Romero
Associate Professor
Regulation of G-protein coupled receptor function by phospholipase D and PDZ proteins; molecular regulation of Wnt signaling
James R. Roppolo
Research Assistant Professor
Autonomic nervous system control of bladder activity
Francisco Jose Schopfer
Research Associate Professor
Iain Scott
Sruti Shiva
The mechanisms by which reactive nitrogen species regulate mitochondrial function and signaling, particularly in conditions of hypoxia or ischemia.
Shivendra V. Singh
Cancer chemoprevention using dietary and traditional medicine constituents; cell cycle regulation; apoptosis; in vivo models of cancer chemoprevention; immune response to dietary cancer chemopreventive agents
Thomas E. Smithgall
Chemical biology and drug discovery
Richard A. Steinman
Associate Professor
Molecular controls of normal hematopoiesis and leukemogenisis; coupling of cell cycle and differentiation control
Adam Straub
Pei Tang
Structural biology/computational biology/protein drug interactions/molecular mechanism of general anesthesia
Athanassios Tzounopoulos
Associate Professor
Synaptic mechanisms and circuits in the auditory system; neuronal and circuit mechanisms underlying tinnitus
Bennett Van Houten
mitochondrial dysfunction in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases and cancer; structure function of DNA repair enzymes
Jean Pierre Vilardaga
Associate Professor
GPCR signlaing & trafficking in bone metabolism/optical approaches (eg., fret, frap, tirf)
Qiming Jan Wang
Associate Professor
Targeting protein kinase D by small molecular inhibitors for cancer therapy; signaling mechanisms of protein kinase D in cancer
Zhou Wang
Mechanism of androgen receptor intracellular trafficking in prostate cancer cells; roles of androgen-responsive genes in prostate cancer and benign prostatis hyperplasia
Ronald B Wetzel
Amyloidstructure; fibril assembly and inhibition; structural and cellular mechanisms of aggregate cytotoxicity; Alzheimer's disease; Huntington's disease
Peter Wipf
Medicinal chemistry, and drug design; total synthesis of natural products
Wen Xie
Nuclear hormone receptor-mediated gene regulation in endocrinology, gastroenterology and cancer; nuclear hormone receptors as therapeutic targets for metabolic
Yan Xu
Gene and stem cell therapy in brain ischemia membrane protein structure by NMR; biological basis of unconsciousness; molecular mechanisms of general anesthesia
Cheng Zhang
Lin Zhang
Associate Professor
Genetic basis of differential responses to anticancer drugs and mechanisms of drug-induced apoptosis.