School of Pharmacy Research Disciplines

Infectious Diseases/Parasitology

Cardiovascular Diseases, Hypertension & Vascular Diseases

Pharmaceutics & Compounding

Phamacokinetics and Drug Metabolism

Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery

Toxicology

Pharmacogenetics

Cancer

Neuroscience

Infectious Diseases

Research in infectious diseases at the Pacific SOP encompasses both basic science and clinical focused research. The SOP has two PhD scientists trained in parasitology, whose research focuses on the human parasites Leishmania, which causes the neglected tropical disease leishmaniasis. Host-parasite interactions and parasite biology are investigated with the overall goal of identifying new therapeutic targets against this devastating disease. Additionally, Pharmacy Practice faculty conduct patient-oriented research in multiple areas of infectious disease including topics such as antibiotic usage and antibiotic stewardship.

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Cardiovascular Diseases, Hypertension & Vascular Diseases

Research in cardiovascular diseases at the SOP ranges from work focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of a rare X-linked cardio- and skeletal myopathy called Barth Syndrome, to research on the use of phytochemicals to prevent hypertension. The latter system also employs a pharmacokinetic approach. In addition, research being conducted to investigate pharmaceutical formulation strategies for overcoming doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity.

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Pharmaceutics & Compounding

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Pharmacokinetics and Drug Metabolism

The research on drug metabolism is currently focused on cytochrome P450 enzymes from the CYP2A, 3A, and 4 families with particular interest in mechanisms of metabolism-dependent inhibition and multiple-ligand binding/allosterism.  Translational studies aimed at predicting in vivo changes in drug clearance based on in vitro inhibition data (in vitro-in vivo extrapolation, drug-drug and drug-herb interaction predictions) are also actively utilized in this research.   

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Medicinal Chemistry/Drug Discovery

Traditionally, the discipline of medicinal chemistry has its roots in applying organic synthetic chemistry principles to drug discovery and optimization.  For example, structure-activity and structure-toxicity relationships can be utilized to optimize pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic parameters while minimizing adverse effects.  In the Stamper lab, natural products containing polyphenols are investigated for their potential hepatoprotective effects.  In the Harrelson lab, current research is focused on designing enzyme inhibitors as novel tobacco cessation agents. This work, which is based on the natural product cinnamaldehyde is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.  Work in these labs utilize a variety of approaches including molecular modeling, protein expression/purification, ligand-enzyme binding assays, in vitro and in vivo inhibition studies, tissue culture, molecular biology approaches, and gene expression profiling.     

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Toxicology

Toxicology is the study of how chemicals exert adverse effects on biologic systems.  As it relates to pharmacy, an important outcome of toxicologic approaches is to generate safer chemicals and treatments for disease.  The Stamper lab is focused on mechanistic toxicology, a sub-discipline that asks questions such as “how does a chemical produce a specific adverse effect?” and “how does a biologic system protect itself against toxic insult?”.  Currently, research in the Stamper lab utilizes structure-toxicity relationships to assess how subtle structural changes impact the toxicity induced by a variety of compounds including acetaminophen, various herbicides, and polyphenolic natural products.   Molecular biology techniques, tissue culture, gene expression profiling, and other ‘omic technologies are core techniques utilized in this work.

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Pharmacogenomics

Work in the Pharmacogenomics lab concerns mapping the activation or suppression of clusters of genes following various stimuli across multiple cells and tissues. The primary focus of this 21st Century technology is to generate "Big Data" pools to enable logical extrapolation of single-cell physiological events in order to enable prediction of events in a complex biological setting. Labs are currently studying the cytotoxicity of letrozole and cinnamic aldehyde in biologic systems.

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Cancer

Cancer research at the School of Pharmacy, particularly the Malhotra Lab, focuses on the understanding the molecular mechanisms, including the role of the mitochondrial proteins and phospholipids in KRAS-dependent pancreatic cancer. There is also interest in repurposing FDA-approved drugs for use in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, while simultaneously using these as probes for discovering novel therapeutic targets.

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Neuroscience

Our current neuroscience research involves studying the effects of alcohol and stress on the brain.  We use two vertebrate animal models.  One research focus is to identify the impact of binge drinking and uncontrolled, intermittent stress on subsequent drinking behaviors in a mouse model system, identifying any sex differences in responses.  Our lab measures relative levels of relevant brain proteins involved in these responses to alcohol and/or stress.  The second research project uses the zebrafish model system to study the impact of chronic intermittent stress and/ or alcohol exposure on subsequent anxiety-like behaviors, also assessing for sex differences in responses.

Faculty

Leslie Devaud, PhD