Program Faculty & Research


Pharmacology – Toxicology Faculty


Arash Bashirullah, PhD, Associate Professor
Genetics of endocrine and exocrine biology: the molecular, cellular, and physiological control of post-embryonic development.
Ron Burnette, PhD, Professor
Developing a molecular level mechanistic understanding of the delivery and stability of drugs by physical chemical characterization of guest-host interactions using computational chemistry and NMR as well as studies in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
Margaret Clagett-Dame, PhD, Professor
Therapeutic applications of vitamin A and vitamin D analogs; retinoids in embryonic and nervous system development.
Lara Collier, PhD, Associate Professor
Genetic and pharmacologic approaches to study disease development and treatment, focusing on cancer and central nervous system diseases.
Jun Dai, PhD, Assistant Professor
Understanding the transcriptional networks that control keratinocyte proliferation/differentiation and epidermal barrier functions during development and under pathological conditions. Developing novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases and skin cancer.
Warren Heideman, PhD, Professor
Understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate the cellular transition from quiescence to growth; identifying critical mechanisms regulating vertebrate development that are disrupted by environmental contaminants; evaluating the impact of nanomaterials on early development; creating strategies for the fermentative production of biofuels.
Seungpyo Hong, PhD, Professor
Biomimetic nanotechnology; polymeric nanomaterials; dendritic polymers; targeted drug delivery; cancer diagnostics/prognostics; liquid biopsy technology.
Richard Hsung, PhD, Professor
Developing novel and practical synthetic methods for drug discovery; total syntheses of complex natural prodructs with biological relevance; syntheses of de novo protease inhibitors for drug designs and asymmetric catalysis.
Jeffrey Johnson, PhD, Professor
Faculty Director of the Pharmacology-Toxicology Program
Signal transduction, transcriptional control of neuroprotective genes and neurotoxicity in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Neuromuscular disease.
Lingjun Li, PhD, Professor
Analytical neurochemistry; neuropeptides; proteomics and peptidomics; biomarker discovery in neurodegenerative diseases; quantitative system biology; metabolomics; microseparations; imaging mass spectrometry and its application to drug delivery and biodistribution; biological mass spectrometry
Paul Marker, PhD, Professor
Molecular basis of prostate development; prostate cancer progression; benign prostatic hyperplasia; roles of cell-cell signaling pathways and the use of mouse genetics to discover novel pathways that underlie prostatic diseases.
Steven G. Oakes, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor
Michael Taylor, PhD, Assistant Professor
Modeling blood-CNS barriers in zebrafish; developing new strategies for drug delivery to the brain; understanding the regulation of multidrug resistance transporters.
Robert Thorne, PhD, Assistant Professor
Mechanisms and strategies for the central nervous system delivery and distribution of biologics (peptides, proteins, siRNA, nanoparticles, and viral gene therapy vectors). Focus on: antibody-based drugs and adeno-associated virus vectors for gene therapy; intraparenchymal, intrathecal and intranasal routes of administration.

Affiliate Faculty


Ralph Albrecht, PhD, Professor
Use of inductively heated, antibody-targeted, core-shell nanoparticles for selective removal of targeted cells in vitro and in vivo. Developmenet of high resolution nanoparticle labeling systems for correlative microscopy.
Adnan Elfarra, PhD, Professor
Bioactivation and detoxification of drugs, industrial chemicals, and environmental toxicants; biochemical basis for target organ selectivity; and biomarkers of toxicant exposure.
Colin Jefcoate, PhD, Professor
Physiological Mechanisms Associated with P450 Cytochromes
Aparna Lakkaraju, PhD, Associate Professor
Identification of mechanisms underlying retinal degenerations using state-of-the-art live-cell imaging, mouse models, and novel genetic tools. Emphasis on developing novel therapeutics to prevent vision loss.
William Ricke, PhD, Associate Professor
Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved with hormone therapy in the prevention and treatment of urologic cancers and benign diseases. Focus areas include translational research, steroids and small molecules, stromal-epithelial interactions, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and mouse models of disease progression.
Lauren Trepanier, PhD, DVM, Professor
Pharmacogenetics of xenobiotic toxicity, including both therapeutic drugs and environmental carcinogens. Mechanisms of familial and acquired risk for sulfamethoxazole drug hypersensitivity (“sulfa allergy”).  Examining the links between genetic variability in phase II detoxification pathways (GSTs and b5 reductase) and cancer risk in both humans and dogs.
Chad Vezina, Associate Professor
Molecular basis of prostate and urinary tract development, physiology, and toxicology.