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Department of Pharmacology Faculty Members

Primary (Assistant Professor and Above)

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.​

K. Ulrich Bayer

Ph.D., 1996, Heinrich-Pette-I​nstitute

Molecular mechanisms of bi-directional synaptic plasticity that underlie cognition. Strategies for restoring normal synaptic plasticity in neurological disorders.​​

Joshua Black

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., 2008, Univ. of California, Los Angeles​

Understanding how the chromatin microenvironment regulates genome stability, cancer cell heterogeneity and chemotherapeutic response.

M. Cecilia Caino

Assistant Professor


Ph.D., 2010, Universidad de Buenos Aires

Our group aims to understand how mitochondria reprogramming in tumors impact cellular behaviors that drive progressive and lethal cancer.  We use a broad repertoire of biochemistry, cell biology, live cell imaging and animal models to study the impact of mitochondria shape, number and subcellular distribution in metastatic dissemination.

Mair E.A. Churchill
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.

James C. Costello
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., 2009, Indiana Univ.

Systems and network biology approaches to disentangle signaling pathways in cancer development; Computational modeling of how therapeutic compounds function across different genomic backgrounds.

Scott D. Cramer
Ph.D., 1992, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz

The molecular dissection of signaling pathways in prostatic cells, the identification of prostate progenitor or stem cells, and understanding epithelial-stromal interactions in normal and abnormal ductal morphogenesis.

Mark L. Dell'Acqua
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.

Joaquin Espinosa​
Ph.D. 1999, Universidad de Buenos Aires

Mechanisms of gene expression control and cancer biology' for 'Mechanisms of gene expression control, cancer biology, Down syndrome.

Chris P. Ford
Associate Professor
Ph.D., 2003, Univ. of Alberta
We study synaptic mechanisms by which neuromodulators like dopamine and acetylcholine are encoded in mesolimbic and nigrostriatal circuits through GPCRs.  We study the basic biology of these circuits and the alterations that occur in neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Heide L. Ford
Ph.D., 1995, Univ. of Rochester

My laboratory studies the parallels between normal development and tumorigenesis/metastasis with a focus on the role of the Six1/Eya transcriptional complex in TGF-beta signaling, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, cancer stem cells, and metastasis.

Paula L. Hoffman
Ph.D., 1974, City Univ. of New York

Neuropharmacology; mechanisms of alcohol tolerance, dependence, and craving; genetic aspects of alcohol dependence and affective disorders; biochemical/molecular biological/genetic analysis of CNS receptors and signal transduction systems.

Lawrence E. Hunter
Ph.D., 1989, Yale Univ.

Computational biology, bioinformatics, gene expression array analysis, natural language processing, biomedical ontologies, machine learning.

David N.M. Jones
Associate Professor
Ph.D., 1989, Univ. of Cambridge

Molecular mechanism of alcohols and anesthetic actions; structure and function of biomolecules; NMR spectroscopy, x-ray crystallography, biophysics and molecular biology.

Matthew J. Kennedy
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., 2003, Univ. of Washington

Molecular mechanisms of activity-triggered synaptic remodeling.

Tataiana G. Kutateladze
Ph.D., 1988, Moscow State Univ.

Epigenetics, phosphoinositide signaling, structural biology, NMR and crystal structures of proteins implicated in cancer, structure based drug design.


Won Chan Oh

Assistant Professor

Ph.D. 2013, Univ. of California, Davis

We study molecular and cellular mechanisms of activity-dependent synaptic and circuit remodeling primarily through live-imaging approaches using two-photon microscopy and photostimulation in vivo and in brain slices, combined with electrophysiology and molecular genetic manipulations.

William A. Sather
Associate Professor
Ph.D., 1988, Univ. of Washington

Signaling through calcium channels in neurons.​


Katharine R. Smith​

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., 2010, University College London​​​

Molecular mechanisms of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic plasticity.

Andrew M. Thorburn
Professor and Chairman
D.Phil., 1990, Univ. of Oxford

Understanding the signaling mechanisms that control apoptosis in cancer development and during the response of tumor cells to cancer therapeutics.

Chandra L. Tucker
Associate Professor
Ph.D., 1999, Univ. of Washington

Study and manipulatio​​n of protein homeostasis and signaling pathways in live cells, optogenetic tools for controlling protein interactions, synthetic biology, cytosolic protein misfolding, yeast genetics/genomics