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Department of Pharmacology

Department of Pharmacology

Signal Transduction Research

The means whereby the activities of different cell types are harmonized to provide integrated responses in an organism is the key feature that allows multi-celled organisms to flourish. This coordination is achieved by the activities of a dazzling array of neurotransmitters, hormones and growth factors, which operate on timescales of milliseconds to days. The study of these processes is known as signal transduction, or cellular signaling, which is one of the key areas of biomedical research, because of what it tells us about normal functions and the therapeutic opportunities that it identifies. The department of Pharmacology has built up its strength in cellular signaling over the years to now being one of the most prominent departments in the US in this critical area. Investigators study ion channels, second messengers, growth factor-signaling and the cell cycle.


Primary Faculty

Jason Aoto​Assistant Professor
Ph.D., 2009, Univ. of California, Berkeley
We are interested in dissecting the distinct functions of synaptic cell-adhesion molecules implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders and addiction in the context of disease-relevant brain circuits. Using cutting-edge multidisciplinary techniques, we are able to interrogate these molecules with cell-type and synapse-specific resolution.​

Bayer, K. Ulrich , Professor
Ph.D., 1996, Heinrich-Pette-Institute
Molecular memory mechanisms in cellular signal transduction and neuronal function; CaMKII and Ca2+ signaling.

Churchill, Mair E. A., Professor
Ph.D., 1987, Johns Hopkins Univ.
Structure and mechanism in gene regulation; biophysical and structural studies of protein-nucleic acid and protein-protein complexes in chromatin and bacterial pathogenesis.

Dell'Acqua, Mark L., Professor and Vice Chairman
Ph.D., 1995, Harvard Univ.
Organization of signaling complexes by protein kinase and phosphatase anchoring proteins; mechanisms regulating neuronal second messenger signaling in synaptic plasticity.

Kutateladze, Tatiana G., Professor
Ph.D., 1988, Moscow State Univ.
Epigenetics, phosphoinositide signaling, structural biology, NMR and crystal structures of proteins implicated in cancer, structure based drug design.​

Sather, William A., Associate Professor
Ph.D., 1988, Univ. of Washington
Signaling through calcium channels in neurons.

Tucker, Chandra L., Associate Professor
Ph.D., 1999, Univ. of Washington
Study and manipulation of protein homeostasis and signaling pathways in live cells, optogenetic tools for controlling protein interactions, synthetic biology, cytosolic protein misfolding, yeast genetics/genomics

Secondary Faculty

Heasley, Lynn E., Professor
Ph.D., 1985, Univ. of California, San Diego
Investigating the role of MAP kinases and specific receptor tyrosine kinases in normal and transformed growth of lung epithelial cells using techniques of molecular and cell biology in lung epithelial cells and human lung cancer cell lines.

Henson, Peter M., Professor
Ph.D., 1967, Cambridge Univ., UK
Inflammatory process as a paradigm of complex interacting cell networks and communication molecules and as a component of human diseases.

Nemenoff, Raphael A., Professor
Ph.D., 1977, Cornell Univ.
Signaling pathways controlling growth and differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells; Role of eicosanoids in lung cancer.

Port, J. David , Professor
Ph.D., 1989, Univ. of Utah
G-protein linked receptors and their regulation; regulation of mRNA stability.