Pharmaceutical Sciences

Pharmaceutical Science lab groups in BMED are conducting projects that cover the entire gamut of drug discovery and development to translational implementation, including drug design, molecular and cellular pharmacology, drug metabolism and transport, and pharmacogenomics and precision medicine.

One of the most prominent themes linking faculty researchers in BMED is a shared interest in the disciplines of pharmaceutical sciences, a traditional strength within a School of Pharmacy. These BMED research groups have strong foundations in pharmacology, pharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics, medicinal chemistry, and toxicology. The pharmaceutical sciences are highly multidisciplinary using biochemical, biophysical, cellular and molecular biology, chemical, computational, and genetic approaches to elucidate the mechanisms of drug action including drug target identification and characterization, drug distribution to target tissues, and pathways of drug metabolism and transport. Projects range from drug design of novel therapeutics, structure-function relationships to understand drug targets and biomarkers of disease, and pharmacogenomics and precision medicine to improve drug efficacy and safety. Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences is highly synergistic with groups in Medicinal Chemistry, Neuroscience and Toxicology. Research in the program includes a diverse range of therapeutic areas including cancer, cardiovascular, dermatological, immune-mediated, and neurological diseases. A list of BMED faculty interests in Pharmaceutical Sciences can be found below.

Students working in the Pharmaceutical Sciences labs have pursued their graduate degrees in:

Participating Faculty

Hélène Bazin-lee

Research Professor

Design and synthesis of novel vaccine adjuvants

Richard Bridges

Regents Professor; Director of Neuroscience

Understanding the pharmacology, structure, and function of glutamate transporters, through the development of novel substrates, inhibitors and modulators.

David Burkhart

Research Professor, Associate Director of the Center for Translational Medicine

Use of targeted nanoparticle technology to develop next generation diagnostic and therapeutic agents. 

Yoon Hee Cho

Associate Professor

Understanding molecular and epigenetic mechanisms of disease, diagnosis, and treatment

Douglas Coffin

Professor of Molecular Genetics

Molecular and genetic basis of mammalian growth and development; applied stem cells therapeutics.

Philippe Diaz

Associate Professor

Kasper Hansen

Associate Professor

Studies on the structure, function, and molecular pharmacology of glutamate receptors and evaluation of their roles in synaptic transmission, as well as their involvement in psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Andrij Holian

Professor, Director of Center for Environmental Health Science

Travis Hughes

Associate Professor

Molecular pharmacology of a family of ligand activated transcription factors, which are the target of ~10% of FDA approved drugs using biophysical, biochemical and cell biology approaches.

Darrell Jackson

Associate Professor

To identify and develop small molecule inhibitors that have neuroprotective affects against neurodegenerative diseases that includes traumatic brain injury and stroke.

Michael Kavanaugh

Professor, Director McLaughlin Research Institute

Diana I Lurie


Natural product therapeutics for the treatment of neuroinflammation with a focus on isolating and identifying phytochemicals from plants of India.

Rustem S. Medora

Professor Emeritus

Keith Parker

Associate Professor

Molecular pharmacology of serotonin receptors.

Sarjubhai Patel

Assistant Research Professor

Understanding the regulation of amino acid transporter proteins in health and disease such as brain tumors and traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

Mark Pershouse

Associate Professor

Elizabeth Putnam

Chair, Professor; Acting Dean, CoH

The impact in American Indians/Alaska Natives of population-specific polymorphism frequencies in genes involved in drug metabolism and transport.

Thomas Rau

Assistant Research Professor

Monica Serban

Associate Professor

Development of novel, natural biomataterial-based therapeutics, in vitro diagnostics and medical devices.

David Shepherd


The Shepherd laboratory is currently engaged in designing and testing novel immunotherapeutics to treat immune-mediated diseases. This work is in collaboration with Dr. Celine Beamer and Dr. Fanny Astruc-Diaz.

Jerry Smith

Associate Professor

Andrea Stierle

Research Professor

Isolation and characterization of microbial secondary metabolites with pharmaceutical potential as antibiotics and compounds that regulate inflammatory and apoptotic pathways associated with cancer and ischemic stroke 

Donald Stierle

Research Professor

Isolation and characterization of microbial metabolites with pharmaceutical potential; antibiotics and compounds that regulate inflammatory and apoptotic pathways associated with cancer and ischemic stroke 

Chuck Thompson


Design and synthesis of small molecules with which to to study the molecular pharmacology of the cholinergic and glutamtergic neurotransmitter systems.