David H. Farb was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics at Boston University School of Medicine in 1990. Dr. Farb is also Director of the university-wide NIGMS training program in Biomolecular Pharmacology. He has also served as a member of the Drug Development Work Group of Mass Insight, co-author of the Massachusetts Technology Road Map for Drug Discovery, and a consultant for a number of small to large pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and patent litigation companies. He is regularly interviewed by local, national and international media.
As head of the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, he focuses on the identification of pharmacological treatments for mental disorders of learning and memory. His research integrates existing electrophysiological, behavioral, pharmacological, and molecular genetic technologies in a novel systems-level platform for assessing the impact of cognitive enhancers such as neuroactive steroids upon fundamental hippocampal systems for pattern separation (encoding), and pattern completion (retrieval) that are believed to be essential for cognition in all mammals, including man. Deficits in aspects of episodic memory dependent on hippocampal function are evident in a variety of mental disorders, including schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, and normal aging. Existing pharmacotherapies are limited and carry substantial risk of adverse effects. In search of new approaches for discovery, high-density electrophysiological recordings in awake behaving rats are being used to identify deficits in hippocampal function that underlie cognitive deficits exhibited by aged animals and animals reared in social isolation, the latter being a model for environmental stress during development. Drug delivery via nanoparticles encapsulating hydrophilic or hydrophobic molecules are being engineered for delivery across the blood brain barrier. Nanoparticle composition is being tailored to better deliver drug to specific target sites. Neuroactive drugs and proteins, biomarkers for novel diagnostics, sensitive dyes for neural mapping, and many other applications are envisioned. The major advantage of this technique is the noninvasive delivery of molecules to the CNS via a peripheral injection.
A multidisciplinary approach that includes the techniques of neurophysiology, molecular biology, patch-clamp electrophysiology, cell biology, and molecular neuroanatomy are combined to elucidate the mechanisms and modalities of cognitive enhancers and the discovery of therapeutic treatments for disorders or diseases of the nervous system.
- Chair, Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, Boston University School of Medicine
- Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University School of Medicine, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences
- Brandeis University, PhD
- Long Island University, BA
- Published on 7/14/2015
Robitsek J, Ratner MH, Stewart T, Eichenbaum H, Farb DH. Combined administration of levetiracetam and valproic acid attenuates age-related hyperactivity of CA3 place cells, reduces place field area, and increases spatial information content in aged rat hippocampus. Hippocampus. 2015 Dec; 25(12):1541-55. PMID: 25941121.
- Published on 12/30/2014
Ratner MH, Farb DH, Ozer J, Feldman RG, Durso R. Younger age at onset of sporadic Parkinson's disease among subjects occupationally exposed to metals and pesticides. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2014 Sep; 7(3):123-33. PMID: 26109889.
- Published on 10/1/2014
Farb DH, Ratner MH. Targeting the modulation of neural circuitry for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Pharmacol Rev. 2014 Oct; 66(4):1002-32. PMID: 25237115.
- Published on 7/23/2014
Smith CC, Martin SC, Sugunan K, Russek SJ, Gibbs TT, Farb DH. A role for picomolar concentrations of pregnenolone sulfate in synaptic activity-dependent Ca2+ signaling and CREB activation. Mol Pharmacol. 2014 Oct; 86(4):390-8. PMID: 25057049.
- Published on 7/6/2014
Smith CC, Gibbs TT, Farb DH. Pregnenolone sulfate as a modulator of synaptic plasticity. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2014 Sep; 231(17):3537-56. PMID: 24997854.
- Published on 4/10/2014
Gutiérrez ML, Ferreri MC, Farb DH, Gravielle MC. GABA-induced uncoupling of GABA/benzodiazepine site interactions is associated with increased phosphorylation of the GABAA receptor. J Neurosci Res. 2014 Aug; 92(8):1054-61. PMID: 24723313.
- Published on 8/30/2013
Farb DH. An interview with David H Farb, Section Editor for Basic Pharmacology. BMC Pharmacol Toxicol. 2013; 14:42. PMID: 24001169.
- Published on 7/23/2013
Saha S, Hu Y, Martin SC, Bandyopadhyay S, Russek SJ, Farb DH. Polycomblike protein PHF1b: a transcriptional sensor for GABA receptor activity. BMC Pharmacol Toxicol. 2013; 14:37. PMID: 23879974.
- Published on 5/28/2013
Kostakis E, Smith C, Jang MK, Martin SC, Richards KG, Russek SJ, Gibbs TT, Farb DH. The neuroactive steroid pregnenolone sulfate stimulates trafficking of functional N-methyl D-aspartate receptors to the cell surface via a noncanonical, G protein, and Ca2+-dependent mechanism. Mol Pharmacol. 2013 Aug; 84(2):261-74. PMID: 23716622.
- Published on 1/1/2012
Desbiens S, Farb DH. Development of Therapeutic Agents, Shayne Gad, Editor. Chapter 1: Medicine and Pathology – Current Needs for New Therapeutic Agents and Discovery Strategies – A Systems Pharmacology Approach. Hardcopy version of Desbiens and Farb, 2010. John Wiley & Sons. 2012.
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