Focus Areas of Research

There are four focus areas of study that organize faculty research interests in the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics.  Students can rotate in one group or in multiple groups for laboratory experiences.



The primary faculty in the department conduct research in neuroscience relevant topics as do training faculty in other departments across the university. Research varies from classical neuropharmacology to animal models of addiction, neurodegeneration, epilepsy, and genetics of neuropsychiatric and neurological diseases. Model systems include humans, rodents and worms, and hypotheses are built and tested using the techniques of cell biology, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, optogenetics, behavioral pharmacology and clinical studies.

Breast cancer cell

Cancer Pharmacology

Training faculty come from multiple departments across the university, including the Cancer Center (BUMC), Biochemistry (BUMC), Biology (CRC), Biomedical Engineering (CRC) and Medicine (BUMC). Research interests span target discovery via the identification of critical signal transduction systems, novel 3D models of cellular proliferation, nanotechnology for drug delivery, bioinformatics, human diagnostics and drug discovery via screening of unique chemical libraries.


Cardiovascular Pharmacology

With training faculty from the internationally recognized Whittaker Cardiovascular Institute at BUMC, the cardiovascular pharmacology focus area contains some of the leaders in today’s cardiology research. Students learn from physician scientists that have a unique clinical perspective in balance with basic science. In addition, students interested in the study of heart and brain can participate in a unique training experience that emphasizes the contribution of vascular function to neurodegeneration.

Interdisciplinary Platforms and Technologies

In addition to faculty laboratories that concentrate their studies in a particular area of interest, there are research groups whose work crosses multiple fields to impact the development of therapeutics. From the study of structure-function relationships revealed by X-ray crystallography, to the screening of chemical libraries and genomes, the development of new diagnostic technologies, and the analysis of signal transduction pathways, our students have a rich group of laboratory experiences that they can call upon when choosing the best laboratory for their thesis research.