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

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Faculty in this Research Area

John W. Bloom, MD

Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Medicine


Roberta Diaz Brinton, Ph.D

Director, Center for Innovation in Brain Science
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Neurology
Professor Psychology and Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute


Sally Dickinson, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor, Cancer Biology and Pharmacology


Nam Lee, Ph.D.

Professor, Pharmacology
Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry


Patrick W Mantyh

UA Associate


Tally Largent-Milnes, PhD

Associate Professor, Pharmacology
Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute
Member of the Graduate Faculty


Arthur Charles Riegel

Associate Professor, Neuroscience
Associate Professor, Optical Sciences
Associate Professor, Pharmacology
Member of the Graduate Faculty


Patrick T Ronaldson, PhD, FAAPS

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


John M. Streicher, PhD

Member of the Graduate Faculty
Professor, Neuroscience - GIDP
Professor, Pharmacology


Fei Yin, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Pharmacology