The research activities of the Pharmacology department are directed at understanding how drugs and chemicals modify biological systems. Drugs can act at many different levels of organization. For example, Dr. Faingold investigates electrophysiologic and neuropharmacologic mechanisms that control brain function. Dr. Caspary focuses on age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), a complex state which may reflect pathological influences along the entire auditory system. Studies in his laboratory are focused on the understanding of two closely related questions in auditory research: how do inhibitory neurotransmitters function within known auditory circuits to encode acoustic information and what is the impact of aging on inhibitory neurotransmission in the auditory system? Dr. Lee's primary research projects are directed towards understanding the nature of neuro-vascular transmission and myo-endothelial interaction in health and diseases such as hypertension and stroke. In Dr. Toth's lab a sleep behavior model is used for the study of neural-immune interactions, focusing on how the immune system communicates with the brain to modify behavior and what mechanisms mediate illness-associated behaviors like excessive sleepiness and fatigue. Dr. Arai works to understand cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying long-term potentiation (LTP), a form of synaptic plasticity that is considered to be a mechanism of memory encoding. Molecular mechanisms underlying pain perception and centrally acting drugs are studied by Dr. Premkumar. The major goal of Dr. Ramkumar's laboratory is to understand the mechanism(s) by which adenosine produces vascular smooth muscle relaxation. The process of intracellular calcium signaling in muscle and heart physiology is studied in Dr. Copello's lab. Dr. Elble's interests are in a new area of cancer biology, tumor suppression by the recently discovered CLCA family of calcium-activated chloride channel regulators. We have isolated several members of this gene family from mouse and human and characterized their expression in normal and cancer cells. He has found that the genes are strongly induced by multiple physiological stresses, including cell detachment and DNA damage by chemotherapeutic agents.Dr. Tischkau's lab focuses on the molecular interactions of the
circadian clock in disease states. Two major projects are ongoing. The
first investigates molecular mechanisms underlying endogenous resistance
to excitotoxicity in clock neurons. The second explores the interface
of the clock with metabolism, specifically with reference to the
development of metabolic syndrome after exposure to environmental toxins.
For more detailed information on the research of the Pharmacology division at SIU
please view the individual faculty pages.