Graduate Training

Research Track 1

Cell Signaling and Molecular and Biochemical Pharmacology

Track Directors- Steve Rosenzweig and Joe Blumer

Cell signaling refers to the process by which molecules, such as growth factors, cytokines, oxidative species, hormones, neurotransmitters, etc, initiate an intracellular response that culminates in changes in cellular function. A major interest of pharmacology is to understand the aberrant signaling mechanisms related to disease states. For example, in cancer, the abnormal behavior of neoplastic cells can often be traced to an alteration in cell signaling mechanisms, such as receptor or tyrosine kinases, altered levels of growth factors, or deregulated intracellular processes for conveying membrane signals to the nucleus. An understanding of the underlying defect is needed to subsequently identify potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Thus, cell signaling is integral to Pharmacology.

Molecular pharmacology studies the biochemical and biophysical characteristics of interactions between drug molecules and those of the cell. This discipline provides an understanding of how cells respond to signaling effectors and/or pharmacologic agents, and how chemical structure correlates with biological activity. Biochemical pharmacology determines how drugs interact with, and influence, the chemical “machinery” of the organism. The biochemical pharmacologist uses drugs as probes to discover new information about biosynthetic pathways and their kinetics, and investigates how drugs can correct the abnormalities responsible for human illness.

 Research Training Opportunities

-       Cancer Biology and Therapeutics

o   Ken Tew, Jen Isaacs, Scott Eblen, Rick Drake, Liz Yeh, Graham Warren, Steve Rosenzweig

-       Neuropharmacology

o   Marcelo Vargas, Mariana Pehar, Joe Blumer, Joachim Uys

-       Endocrine Pharmacology

o   Lauren Ball, Steve Rosenzweig  

-       G-Protein Signaling

o   Joe Blumer, John Hildebrandt, Steve Lanier

-       Redox Biology

o   Ken Tew, Joachim Uys

Elective Courses

-       PCOL 725 Advanced Topics in Cell Signaling

-       PCOL (new) Fundamentals in Biochemistry

-       PCOL 724 Drug Discovery and Molecular Pharmacology

-       PCOL 744 Pharmacology Cell Signaling Journal Club

-       PCOL 747 Topics in Cancer Research

Relevant Core Facilities

-       Metabolomics

-       Drug Metabolism and Clinical Pharmacology Shared Resource

-       Lipidomics Shared Resource

-       Drug Discovery and Screening Shared Resource

-       Center for Biomedical Imaging

External Faculty

-       Craig Beeson

-       Danyelle Townsend

-       Chuck Smith

-       Besim Ogretmen