Research Opportunities for Graduate Students

These are some of the research opportunities available to students of the MPTP:

Cancer Pharmacology
  • Oncogenes and tumor suppressors
  • Cell cycle regulation
  • Mechanisms of DNA repair
  • Chemoprevention of cancer
  • Biomarkers for tumor progression

Cardiovascular and Renal Pharmacology

  • Regulation of blood pressure
  • Calcium and phosphate homeostasis
  • Vascular effects of reactive oxygen species

Drug Discovery
  • Design and development of high throughput drug screening methodologies
  • Novel chemotherapeutic agents
  • Combinatorial chemistry

Neuropharmacology
  • Mechanisms of neurotoxicity
  • Regulation of ion channels
  • Regulation of the autonomic nervous system
  • Neuronal vesicle transport and mechanisms of synaptic transmission
  • Pharmacology of addiction

Pharmacology of Cell and Organ Systems


Signal Transduction

  • Structure and function of G protein coupled receptors
  • Signaling and cancer
  • Regulation of cellular processes by free radicals and nitric oxide derivatives
  • Nuclear receptors
  • Protein kinases and phosphatases







Cancer Pharmacology

Research efforts in cancer pharmacology include studies of the basic mechanisms of signal transduction associated with cell proliferation and apoptosis, the mechanisms of action of anti-neoplastic agents, the design and discovery of new drugs, basic mechanisms of DNA repair and DNA damage tolerance and the development of novel strategies for gene therapy

Emphasis is placed on the description and characterization of basic signaling mechanisms that constitute the targets of molecules used for cancer therapy and DNA damage and repair mechanisms that contribute to anti-neoplastic drug resistance. The regulation of tyrosine kinases, processing of proto-oncogenes, regulation of small GTPases and their effectors, cell-cycle-specific kinases and DNA repair gene products are being studied as potential targets or to enhance the efficacy of existing chemotherapeutic agents. The role of growth factors in the progression of solid and hematopoietic tumors is being studied; new receptors and signal transduction pathways are being identified in normal and malignant tissues.

Other areas of research include investigations on interleukin therapy, free radical generation, molecular mechanisms of antioxidant regulation and detoxification, aberrations in the mechanisms of programmed cell death (apoptosis) associated with tumoral growth and alterations in DNA repair and DNA damage response genes associated with tumor growth and chemotherapeutic resistance.

Faculty

altschul@pitt.edu
412.648.9751
cjb38@pitt.edu
412-623-7765
rjb42@pitt.edu
412-3.83-7722
burnstf@upmc.edu
412-864-7859
feg5@pitt.edu
412-648-2047
jgrandis@pitt.edu
412-647-5280
yuj5@pitt.edu
412-648-3390
johnsond@pitt.edu
412-623-3245
kimsw2@upmc.edu
412-802-6393
can44@pitt.edu
412-641-7725
osullivanr@upmc.edu
412-623-4063
oesterreichs@upmc.edu
412-641-8555
jsiegfri@umn.edu
612-625-9997
svs2@pitt.edu
412-623-3262
tsmithga@pitt.edu
412-648-8106
steinman@pitt.edu
412-623-3237
qjw1@pitt.edu
412-383-7754
wangz2@upmc.edu
412-623-3903
zhanglx@upmc.edu
412-623-1009

Cardiovascular and Renal Pharmacology


Faculty

alb138@pitt.edu
412-648-7347
freerad@pitt.edu
412-648-9319
edj@pitt.edu
412-648-1505
yuj5@pitt.edu
412-648-3390
fjs2@pitt.edu
412-648-0193
astraub@pitt.edu
412-648-7097

Drug Discovery

Drug Discovery is an emerging pharmacological science that seeks to identify novel small molecule probes and to understand at a molecular level how compounds affect macromolecular process. Cell-based, in vitro mix-and-read, and whole organism assays suitable for rapid or high throughput analysis are being designed and implemented by members of the Molecular Pharmacology Program. Current molecular targets include Gprotein coupled receptors, vanilloid receptors, cathepsins, apoptosis-inducing proteins, ion channels, steroid receptors, orphan nuclear receptors, kinases, phosphatases, DNA repair enzymes, and DNA polymerases. Chemical libraries and automated screening instrumentation are emphasized, which permit rapid interrogation of optimized assays. Computational approaches and high content cell screening methodologies are employed to facilitate the identification of new chemical probes.

Faculty

bayihx@upmc.edu
412-692-5164
lbirder@pitt.edu
412-383-7368
cheny1@pitt.edu
412-624-5444
curran@pitt.edu
412-624-8240
bday@pitt.edu
412-648-9706
freerad@pitt.edu
412-648-9319
yuj5@pitt.edu
412-648-3390
johnsond@pitt.edu
412-623-3245
pagano@pitt.edu
412-383-6505
mjp44@pitt.edu
412-383-5900
fjs2@pitt.edu
412-648-0193
svs2@pitt.edu
412-623-3262
tsmithga@pitt.edu
412-648-8106
vanhoutenb@upmc.edu
412-623-7762
qjw1@pitt.edu
412-383-7754
wangz2@upmc.edu
412-623-3903
pwipf@pitt.edu
412-624-8606
zhanglx@upmc.edu
412-623-1009

Neuropharmacology

The physiological basis of neuronal toxicity caused by various insults including excitatory amino acids, oxidative stress and cerebral ischemia is being studied using quantitative imaging techniques, confocal microscopy, genetic approaches in model organisms, and molecular approaches in cultured cell lines, cultured primary neurons and in intact animals. These studies aim to develop an understanding of the mechanisms of neuronal injury in acute and chronic disorders. The regulation of the expression of voltage-gated ion channels in cell lines and primary cultures is being studied by molecular and patchclamping techniques. In addition, molecular genetic, electrophysiological and cell biological approaches are being used to explore the relationships between neurotransmitter transporter structure, substrate transport, inhibitor binding and ion permeation. New quantitative imaging approaches are being used to study the basic processes of neuropeptide secretion. Investigators in the Molecular Pharmacology program are also examining the mechanisms of autonomic regulation and synaptic transmission of the urogenital system. These studies include neuroanatomical and neurophysiological research aimed towards the development of agents to modulate neuronal control of the urinary bladder, colon, and sex organs. Targeted disruption of GABA receptors is being used as a tool to investigate the function of these receptors and their specific components in transgenic mice. The mechanism of action of anesthetics is being studied in genetic model organisms and using techniques of magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Faculty

redox@pitt.edu
412-648-9434
bayihx@upmc.edu
412-692-5164
lbirder@pitt.edu
412-383-7368
wcd2@pitt.edu
412-648-9357
dod1@pitt.edu
412-624-4259

412-692-4920
jph@pitt.edu
412-648-9429
edj@pitt.edu
412-648-1505
tcj11@pitt.edu
412-648-8136
ajk5@pitt.edu
412-624-1430
elevitan@pitt.edu
412-648-9486
mjp44@pitt.edu
412-383-5900
ptang@pitt.edu
412-383-9798
rwetzel@pitt.edu
412-383-5271
xu2@pitt.edu
412-648-9922

Pharmacology of Cell and Organ Systems

Investigators in the Molecular Pharmacology program are also examining the mechanisms of autonomic synaptic transmission and the autonomic regulation of the urogenital and renal systems. These studies include: 1) neuroanatomical and neurophysiological research aimed towards the development of agents to modulate neuronal control of the urinary bladder, colon, and sex organs; 2) biochemical/molecular analysis of the role of PP-fold peptides released from autonomic synaptic junctions in the regulation of renovascular tone and arterial blood pressure in genetic hypertension; and 3) the interaction between the sympathetic nervous system and estradiol on renal function.

Faculty

aab20@pitt.edu
412-624-8864
bayihx@upmc.edu
412-692-5164
rjb42@pitt.edu
412-3.83-7722
lbirder@pitt.edu
412-383-7368
alb138@pitt.edu
412-648-7347
wcd2@pitt.edu
412-648-9357
dod1@pitt.edu
412-624-4259
paf10@pitt.edu
412-383-7783
edj@pitt.edu
412-648-1505
ajk5@pitt.edu
412-624-1430
leeav@upmc.edu
412-641-7557
lotzemt@upmc.edu
412-623-5977
can44@pitt.edu
412-641-7725
oesterreichs@upmc.edu
412-641-8555
pagano@pitt.edu
412-383-6505
mjp44@pitt.edu
412-383-5900
ggr@pitt.edu
412-648-9408
fjs2@pitt.edu
412-648-0193
sss43@pitt.edu
412-383-5854
astraub@pitt.edu
412-648-7097
vanhoutenb@upmc.edu
412-623-7762
jpv@pitt.edu
412-648-2055
qjw1@pitt.edu
412-383-7754
wex6@pitt.edu
412-648-9941

Signal Transduction

The department is rich in research devoted to the analysis of signal transduction pathways and their role in normal physiological processes and disease. These include studies into the basic mechanisms of signaling by oxidizing and free radical inflammatory mediators, nitric oxide, steroids, parathyroid hormone, neurotransmitters, hypothalamic hormones, and rhodopsin. Various cell biological, forward and reverse genetic, molecular biological and biophysical approaches are used to dissect the molecular mechanisms utilized by intracellular mediators of signal transduction including cell surface receptors, nuclear receptors, caveolin, protein kinases, protein phosphatases and lipid kinases.

Faculty

altschul@pitt.edu
412.648.9751
aab20@pitt.edu
412-624-8864
alb138@pitt.edu
412-648-7347
dod1@pitt.edu
412-624-4259
fernstro@pitt.edu
412-624-2032
freerad@pitt.edu
412-648-9319
paf10@pitt.edu
412-383-7783
feg5@pitt.edu
412-648-2047
amg100@pitt.edu
412-648-9959
tcj11@pitt.edu
412-648-8136
yuj5@pitt.edu
412-648-3390
kagan@pitt.edu
412-624-9479
lkane@pitt.edu
412-648-8947
elevitan@pitt.edu
412-648-9486
lotzemt@upmc.edu
412-623-5977
can44@pitt.edu
412-641-7725
pagano@pitt.edu
412-383-6505
brucep@pitt.edu
412-624-8400
fjs2@pitt.edu
412-648-0193
sss43@pitt.edu
412-383-5854
svs2@pitt.edu
412-623-3262
tsmithga@pitt.edu
412-648-8106
astraub@pitt.edu
412-648-7097
jpv@pitt.edu
412-648-2055
qjw1@pitt.edu
412-383-7754
wangz2@upmc.edu
412-623-3903
wex6@pitt.edu
412-648-9941
chengzh@pitt.edu
412-383-8044
zhanglx@upmc.edu
412-623-1009

Student News



Events

Graduate Student Summer Seminar
Dr. Anthony Ford,
CEO of CuraSen Therapeutics and
former VP at both Roche and Merck
Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower
E1347 Conference Room

Recent Publications

Program Achievements

Molecular Pharmacology Graduate Program Ranked #2 in National Research Council Rankings

Outcomes: 

Time to dissertation Defense
, last five graduating classes:  4.6 years, Completion Rate: 86.49%

First Author Publications (All students, past 5 year mean):  2.03;   Total Publications: 5.10

F-series Grants (F30/F31) (All Students, past 5 year mean):  12/34 (35%) 


Ranked #9 in National of Institute of Health funding of departments of Pharmacology

Ranked in the top 15 in funding for twenty-four consecutive years