Research in the Department of Pharmacology aims to understand how drugs and chemicals modify biological systems. Drugs can act at many different levels of organization, as the projects by our faculty illustrate:
Dr. Carl Faingold investigates electrophysiologic and neuropharmacologic mechanisms that control brain function.
Dr. Donald 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. Amy 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. Louis Premkumar.
The major goal of Dr. Vickram 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. Julio Copello's lab.
Dr. Randolph 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. His lab has 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. Shelley 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.
Dr. Brandon C. Cox's lab focuses on investigating the cell source, mechanism, and genes involved in hair cell regeneration in the neonatal mouse cochlea. She also is interested the developmental changes that take place during the first postnatal weeks that prevent regeneration from occurring in juvenile and adult mice.
For more detailed information on the research of the Pharmacology Department at SIU
please view the individual faculty pages.