Arizona Health Sciences

Molecular and Biochemical Pharmacology

Pharmacology as a science is critical to the development of new drugs and therapies for human disease. A drug may be defined as any chemical that affects biological processes. Early pharmacologists studied natural substances, mainly plant extracts such as morphine from the opium poppy, quinine from the bark of the cinchona tree and digitalis from Foxglove. Later in the 19th century pharmacology developed as a biomedical science that applied the principles of scientific experimentation to therapeutic context. Today, the Molelcular and Biochemical Pharmacology group at the University of Arizona use methods of biochemistry, molecular biology, structural biology, cell biology, and cell physiology to define the mechanisms of drug action and how drugs influence the organism by studies on intact animals, organs, cells, sub-cellular compartments and individual protein molecules. Drugs are also used as probes to discover new information about biosynthetic and cell signaling pathways and their kinetics. Ultimately these investigations will reveal how drugs can correct the biochemical abnormalities that are responsible for human illness, thus enabling the elucidation of pathophysiological mechanisms that pave the way for further drug discovery.
Investigators within the Molecular and Biochemical Pharmacology group strive to excel at biomedical research, professional education, and graduate education. The research projects within the group employ the whole range of modern biochemical, cell and molecular biological, physiological, and pharmacological methods to unravel the underlying cellular regulation and signaling mechanisms in disease states. These projects include studying:

  • inflammatory mechanisms in asthma
  • effects of hypoxia, aglycemia and inflammatory pain on endothelial cell permeability, resistance and cytoarchitecture at the blood brain barrier and using biotech approaches to targeting the blood-brain barrier for new drug development
  • mechanisms of sensory signaling from the skin
  • molecular mechanisms of pain
  • GABAergic signaling in chronic pain
  • activity-dependent control of protein synthesis
  • molecular mechanisms of stem cell proliferation/ differentiation in the young and aged skeleton

Follow the links below to learn more about the faculty and their research interests

Faculty in this Research Area

John W. Bloom, MD

Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Medicine

Thomas P Davis, PhD

Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Neuroscience - GIDP
Professor, Pharmacology
Professor, Physiological Sciences - GIDP

Rajesh Khanna

Associate Professor, Anesthesiology
Associate Professor, Neuroscience - GIDP
Professor, Pharmacology

May Khanna, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Pharmacology

Patrick W Mantyh, Ph.D.

Professor, Pharmacology

Patrick T Ronaldson, PhD

Associate Professor, Neuroscience - GIDP
Associate Professor, Pharmacology
Associate Professor, Physiological Sciences - GIDP

John M. Streicher, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Pharmacology
Faculty, UA Neuroscience Graduate interdisciplinary Program