Department of Pharmacology



*Nancy Allbritton (136) Signaling in Single Cells and Microfabricated Systems for Cellular Analysis

*George R. Breese (15) Drugs and Neural Plasticity, Molecular Neurobiology

*Frank C. Church (107) Proteases and Their Inhibitors Involved in Regulating Thrombosis and Tumor Cell Invasion

Fulton T. Crews (88) Excitotoxicity, Gene Delivery, Neuroprogenetor Stem Cells and Addiction

Channing Der (74) Ras Protein Superfamily, Signal Transduction and Oncogenesis

*Joseph Desimone (137) Polymer Synthesis, Liquid and Supercritical CO2 Processing, Gene Therapy and Drug Delivery

*H.G. Dohlman (127) Receptor and Signal Transduction: Mechanisms of Drug Desensitization

*H. Shelton Earp (63) Growth Regulation, Growth Factor and Protein Kinases

Timothy Elston (129) Mathematical Modeling of G Protein and MAP Kinase Signaling

Lee M. Graves (89) Growth Factor-Mediated Signal Transduction

Klaus Hahn (126) Development of Fluorophores for Site-Specific Protein Labeling, Live Cell Biosensors and Their Biological Applications, Motility, Apoptosis and Crosstalk in Signaling

*Clyde Hodge (123) Molecular Mechanisms Mediating the Reinforcing/Pleasurable Subjective Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs

Gary L. Johnson (124) Receptors/G-Proteins, Defining the Signal Relay Systems Initiated by Various Cellular Stimuli (Including Cytokines), Growth Factors, Antigens, and Drugs Used to Treat Human Disease

*Alan Jones (138) Heterotrimeric G Protein Signaling in Model Systems

*Rudolph L. Juliano (62) Membrane Biochemistry of Cell Interactions, Drug Delivery Systems

*David Lawrence (139) Chemical Biology of Signal Transduction

*Nigel Mackman (150) Role of Tissue Factor in Hemostasis, Thrombosis and Ischemia-Reperfusion (I/R) Injury

*William Maixner (64) Pain Research and Autonomic Nervous System Research

Ken D. McCarthy (42) Neuronalglial Interactions Studied in Situ Using Electrophysiology, Confocal Imaging and Conditional Knockouts

*Leslie Morrow (105) Molecular Neuropharmacology of GABA Receptors and Alcohol

Robert A. Nicholas (68) G-Protein-Coupled P2Y Receptors, Mechanisms of Antibiotic Resistance

*Leslie V. Parise (70) Adhesion Receptors and Signal Transduction in Platelets, Sickle Cell Disease and Cancer

Bryan Roth (130) Regulation of Signaling and Trafficking, Drug Discovery

*David Rubenstein (141) Cell Adhesion and Signal Transduction and the Role of Human Proteins B-Catenin and Plakoglobin

*Janet Rubin (142) Mechanical and Hormonal Control of Bone Remodeling, Mesenchymal Stem Cell Differentiation, and Osteoporosis

R. Jude Samulski (77) Development of Efficient Viral Vectors for Gene Delivery into Eukaryotic Genes

John Sondek (100) X-Ray Crystallography and Transmembrane Signaling

*Yanping Zhang (143) Molecular Basis of Cancer

Associate Professors

*Jean Cook (144) Regulation of DNA Replication in Mammalian Cells

*Adrienne D. Cox (90) Ras Family Oncogenes, Lipid Modification and Protein Function

*J. Alex Duncan (145) Inflammation and Immune Response, and Host Pathogen Interactions

*David Eberland (148) Molecular Pathology and Genomics of Solid Tumors, Oncology Companion Diagnostics, Therapeutics for Personalized Medicine in Oncology Image Analysis of Tumors

*Shawn Gomez (149) Computational Biology, Systems Biology, Cancer

*Jian Jin (150) Chemical Probes for Histone Methyltransferases and Functionally Selective Ligands of G Protein-Coupled Receptors

*Jen Jen Yeh (151) Gene Expression Profiling of Human Tumors; Study, Development and Evaluation of Novel Therapeutics; Pancreatic and Colorectal Cancer

*Andrea Nackley Neely (146) Functional Pain Genetics, Pain Neurobiology and Signaling, and Pain Biomarker Discovery

Zefeng Wang (131) Splicing Regulation and Modulation

*William Zamboni (152) Application of Pharmacokinetic, Pharmacodynamics, and Pharmacogenetic Principles in the Optimization of the Chemotherapeutic Treatment of Cancer, Nanoparticle Drug Delivery

*Qisheng Zhang (153) Lipid Signaling in Development and Disease

Assistant Professors

J. Mauro Calabrese (146) Epigenetic Control by Long Noncoding RNAs; Genomics, Stem Cells, Cancer, Human Genetic Disorders

Michael Emanuele (148) Cell Cycle, Mitosis, Protein Stability; Ubiquitin, Cancer, Genetics, Cell Biology

*Brian Jensen (154) Transthoracic and Transesophageal Echocardiography, Heart Failure, Myocardial Biology, Adrenergic Receptor Biology

Thomas Kash (134) Neurophysiological Alterations Underlying Dysregulated Emotional Behavior

Juan Song (147) Adult Neurogenesis Function and Regulation

Adjunct Professors

*Cam Patterson (115) Angiogenesis, Vascular Biology Endothelium, Atherosclerosis

James W. Putney (84) Second Messenger Signaling

Robert L. Rosenberg (69) Regulation of Ion Channels

David Siderovski (111) Regulator of G-Protein Signaling (RGS) Family of Proteins

Adjunct Associate Professors

Kenneth S. Korach (85) Biochemistry and Biology of Steroid Hormone Receptors

Sommath Mukhopadhyay (143) Cannabinoid and G-protein Coupled Receptor-Mediated Regulation of Neurogenesis and Angiogenesis

Adjunct Assistant Professors

Antonio Baines (141) Molecular Targets Involved in the Transformation of Pancreatic Cancer

John P. O'Bryan (114) Signal Transduction by Tyrosine Kinases, Role of Adaptor Proteins, Oncogenesis

Professors Emeriti

Hugh J. Burford

Philip L. Carl (Research Associate Professor)

Kenneth H. Dudley

Barry Goz

T. Kendall Harden

Curtis Harper

John T. Gatzy

Philip F. Hirsch

Tom S. Miya

Paul L. Munson

William Henry Pearlman

Doris T. Poole

Gene A. Scarborough

Roy V. Talmage

Svein U. Toverud

* joint faculty members

The Department of Pharmacology offers a program of study that leads to the degree of doctor of philosophy in pharmacology. The curriculum is individualized in recognition of the diverse backgrounds and interests of students and the broad scope of the discipline of pharmacology. The basic course requirements for the Ph.D. degree include introductory and advanced courses in pharmacology and related programs in accord with the principal interest of the students in molecular pharmacology, neuropharmacology, or in toxicology. In addition, in order to satisfy the requirements of the department and The Graduate School, the student must pass written and oral doctoral examinations, write a dissertation based on original research, and submit to a final oral examination. Under special circumstances, the department will offer a program leading to the M.S. degree. The requirements are appropriate course work, a written comprehensive examination, a thesis based on original research, and a final oral examination.

The department offers a variety of research areas including 1) receptors and signal transduction, 2) ion channels, 3) neuropharmacology, 4) cancer pharmacology, 5) gene therapy, and 6) pharmacology of alcohol and drugs of abuse. The student is expected to begin independent research early in his or her training and to participate in an intensive program of research seminars. Close personal contact between preceptor and trainee is encouraged.

Research Facilities

Laboratory facilities and a wide variety of research equipment are available in the department, which is located primarily in the Genetic Medicine Building, where it occupies approximately 30,000 square feet (exclusive of classrooms and animal facilities). In addition, several faculty members are located in the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Thurston Bowles Alcohol Center, and the Neurosciences Building.

Assistantships and Other Student Aid

Financial assistance is provided to all students. The stipend for the 2014–2015 fiscal year will be $28,500 per year. In addition, tuition, fees and health insurance coverage are provided.

Requirements for Admission

All students in the basic science departments in the Medical School and the biological sciences divisions in biology and chemistry enter graduate school through the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program ( During the first year students take courses and complete three rotations in labs from any of the participating departments or curricula.

After identifying a research mentor, if that faculty member is affiliated with the Pharmacology Department (, students can choose to join the pharmacology graduate program. Once in the program, students complete required course work and qualifying examinations, propose a research topic, choose a dissertation committee, and engage in dissertation research. The anticipated duration of training is five years.

The pharmacology graduate program is dedicated to the training of outstanding scientists in the pharmacological sciences. An outstanding graduate program is a high priority of the department, and the training faculty participate fully at all levels. The department has the highest level of NIH funding of all pharmacology departments and a great diversity of research areas is available to trainees. These areas include: cell surface receptors, G proteins, protein kinases and signal transduction mechanisms; neuropharmacology; nucleic acids, cancer, and antimicrobial pharmacology; and experimental therapeutics. Cell and molecular approaches are particularly strong, but systems-level research such as behavioral pharmacology and analysis of knock-in and knock-out mice is also well-represented. Excellent physical facilities are available for all research areas.

Students completing the training program will have acquired basic knowledge of pharmacology and related fields, in-depth knowledge in their dissertation research area, the ability to evaluate scientific literature, mastery of a variety of laboratory procedures, skill in planning and executing an important research project in pharmacology, and the ability to communicate results, analysis, and interpretation. These skills provide a sound basis for successful scientific careers in academia, government, or industry.

To apply to BBSP, students must use The Graduate School's online application form which can be accessed at Please read the information for domestic or international applicants at the above Web site before beginning the application. For Question 2 of the application, scroll down to School of Medicine and select "Biological and Biomedical Sciences" from the dropdown list.

The following are required for an application to be considered complete:

  1. Nonrefundable application fee (the department cannot review your application until this is paid)

  2. Copies of each of the student's transcripts

  3. Letters of recommendation (submit online)

  4. Personal statement (submit online)

  5. GRE scores (must be less than five years old; UNC institution code is 5816)

  6. TOEFL score (must be less than two years old, and is necessary only if the student is an international applicant who does not have an undergraduate degree from a U.S. university)

For Graduate School information and submission of application materials:

UNC Graduate School, Admissions Office,

For program information and submission of application materials:

BBSP Admissions
130 Mason Farm Road
1125 Bioinformatics Bldg.
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7108
Telephone: (919) 843-6960

Courses for Graduate and Advanced Undergraduate Students


643 Cell Structure, Function, and Growth Control I (BIOC 643, CBIO 643, MCRO 643, PHYI 643) (3). See CBIO 643 for description.

644 Cell Structure, Function, and Growth Control II (BIOC 644, CBIO 644, MCRO 644, PHYI 644) (3). See CBIO 644 for description.

Courses for Graduate Students


701 Introduction to Molecular Pharmacology (3). Permission of the instructor. A first-year pharmacology course outlining the basics of molecular pharmacology, including molecular biology, drug and receptor interactions, receptors and ion channels, regulation of second messengers, and drug metabolism. Three lecture hours a week.

702 Principles of Pharmacology and Physiology (TOXC 702) (3). Prerequisite, CHEM 430. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Introduces students to the major areas of pharmacology and physiology and serves as a basis for more advanced courses. Three lecture hours a week

705 Behavioral Pharmacology (NBIO 705, PSYC 705) (3). See PSYC 705 for description.

707 Advanced Toxicology (ENVR 707, TOXC 707) (3). See TOXC 707 for description.

715 the Molecular Pharmacology of Cancer (2). Required preparation, advanced graduate or advanced undergraduate courses in biochemistry and molecular biology. This course deals with the molecular and cellular basis of anticancer and antiviral chemotherapy, with emphasis on novel approaches including immunotherapy, antisense oligonucleotides, and gene therapy. The course includes faculty lectures and student presentations.

721 Seminar Courses in Pharmacology (1–3). This is a series of seminar courses dealing with advanced topics in modern molecular pharmacology based mainly on discussion of current literature.

722 Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology I (PHYI 722) (2–6). Lecture/discussion course on the physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, and molecular biology of the nervous system. Topics include function and structure of ion channels, neurotransmitter biosynthesis and release mechanisms, neurotransmitter receptors, and intracellular signaling pathways.

722A Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology: Introduction and Electrical Signaling (BIOC722A, NBIO 722A, PHYI 722A) (2). See NBIO 722A for description.

722B Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology: Postsynaptic Mechanisms-Receptors (BIOC 722B, NBIO 722B, PHYI 722B) (2). See NBIO 722B for description.

722C Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology: Synaptic Mechanisms & Intracellular Signaling (BIOC 722C, NBIO 722C, PHYI 722C) (2). See NBIO 722C for description.

723 Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology II (PHYI 723) (2–6). See PHYI 723 for description.

723A Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology: Development of the Nervous System (BIOC 723A, NBIO 723A, PHYI 723A) (2). See NBIO 723A for description.

723B Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology: Anatomy and Function of Sensory and Motor Systems (BIOC 723B, NBIO 723B, PHYI 723B) (2). See NBIO 723B for description.

724 Ras Superfamily Proteins and Signal Transduction (2). Seminar/discussion course covering recent advances in the role of these proteins in signaling and growth.

725 Signal Transduction (BIOC 725) (2). Seminar/discussion course on molecular aspects of the receptors, G-proteins, effector proteins, kinases, and phosphatases that mediate hormone, neurotransmitter, growth factor, and sensory signaling.

726 Adhesion Receptors and Signaling in Cancer and CV Disease (2). Examines the growing number of families of cell adhesion receptors and their role in biological processes including signal transduction, control of gene expression, hemostasis, cancer, neuronal development, immunobiology, and embryologic development.

727 Structure and Function of Ion Channels (2). Seminar/discussion course on the physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, and molecular biology of ion channel proteins.

728 Neuropharmacology of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (3). A lecture/discussion course on the biological bases of alcohol and substance abuse.

729 Gene Therapy: Medicine for the Twenty-First Century (2). A seminar/discussion course on recent advances in targeted gene delivery and gene therapy.

730 Seminar in Recent Advances in Pharmacology (1). Students meet as a group with faculty members to develop skills in critical reading and to summarize and discuss selected aspects of current pharmacological literature. Two hours a week.

731 Recent Advances in the Pharmacological Sciences (1). This graduate-level course encompasses both seminars presented by distinguished faculty from UNC, Duke, and other high-level research institutions, and seminars presented by students on the Pharmacological Sciences Training Program (PSTP) to other PSTP students and faculty. Students are required to attend at least 80% of these seminars each semester.

732 Grant Writing (2). Prerequisite, PHCO 701. Permission of the instructor. A discussion course covering the elements of successful grant proposals and scientific ethics.

733 Drug Discovery and Development (2). A seminar/discussion course on the research, development and regulatory processes involved in bringing new drugs to clinical use.

734 Pain and Analgesia (2). A lecture/discussion course on pain transmission and pain measurement. The neuropharmacological basis of pain modulation will be discussed.

735 Discovery Biology and Pharmacogenomics (2). Lecture/discussion course covering a variety of aspects of new biological and computational technologies. The course is predominantly in a lecture format with computer-based and literature assignments.

736 Protein Kinases as Targets for Novel Pharmacological Inhibitors (2). A seminar/discussion course to evaluate the use of small molecule inhibitors of protein kinases from a structural and signal transduction perspective.

737 Target-Based Drug Discovery and Cancer Treatment (2). A lecture/discussion course that emphasizes preclinical and clinical studies for the development of anti-cancer drugs that target signal transduction. Topics include target identification and validation, drug discovery, the process of government approval for clinical trials, design of clinical trials, and new genetic-based technologies to foster drug development.

738 Nanomedicine (2). Required preparation, completion of undergraduate major in physical or biological science or permission of the instructor. This course offers an introduction to the nascent interdisciplinary field of nanomedicine for students with physical/biological science backgrounds; course will be based on student-led discussions of current literature.

739 Reprogramming of Somatic and Stem Cells and Its Applications in Pharmacology (2). The objective of this new elective is to provide graduate students with an overview of stem cell biology with a unique emphasis on the applications of stem cells in pharmacology, particularly in areas of cancer and tissue regeneration.

740 Contemporary Topics in Cell Signaling: Phosphorylation Control (1). Required preparation, coursework in biochemistry, pharmacology and/or cell & molecular biology. Permission of the instructor. This graduate-level course is an in-depth analysis of how protein kinases and protein phosphorylation regulates key aspects of cell signaling. This class is one of the "Contemporary Topics in Cell Signaling" modules.

741 Contemporary Topics in Cell Signaling: GTPases (1). Required preparation, coursework in biochemistry, pharmacology, and/or cell & molecular biology. Permission of the instructor. This graduate-level course conveys principles of signal transduction controlled by GTPases and emphasizes in-depth discussion of current literature and unanswered questions. This class is one of the "Contemporary Topics in Cell Signaling" modules.

742 Contemporary Topics in Cell Signaling: Cell Cycle Control (1). Permission of the instructor. Required preparation, coursework in biochemistry and/or cell & molecular biology. This graduate-level course conveys principles of eukaryotic cell proliferation control emphasizing in-depth discussion of current literature and unanswered questions. This class is one of the Contemporary Topics in Cell Signaling modules.

743 Contemporary Topics in Cell Signaling: Signaling Networks (1). See BIOC 743 for description.

744 Topics on Stem Cells and Development (1). See BIOC 744 for description.

746 Introduction to Computer Vision Tools for Modern Microscopy (1). This course will introduce computer vision methods for cell biology. Each topic will be motivated with an explanation of a computational challenge, followed by a discussion of available techniques to address the need and practical examples for how to apply the techniques.

747 Biological Concepts (OBIO 732, NBIO 732) (1.5). See OBIO 732 for description.

748 Translational Pain Medicine (OBIO 733) (1.5). See OBIO 733 for description.

749 Practical RNA-Seq (1). This course is designed to familiarize students with everything needed to run an RNA-Seq experiment. There will be minimal emphasis on theory and heavy focus on practical aspects. There are no formal prerequisites required for this course and no prior experience with UNIX or the command line interface is expected.

850 Seminar in Neurobiology (BIOL 850, NBIO 850, PHYI 850) (3). See NBIO 850 for description.

900 Special Pharmacology Research (3–6).

901 Research in Pharmacology (1–21). Permission of the department.

951 Research in Neurobiology (BIOL 951, NBIO 951, PHYI 951) (3–12). See NBIO 951 for description.

989 Special Pharmacology Research (3–6).

993 Master's Research and Thesis (3). Permission of the department.

994 Doctoral Research and Dissertation (3). Permission of the department.