Pharmacology examines and characterizes the action of drugs in humans and animals. It emphasizes the therapeutic responses of drugs, their mechanisms of action, the fate of drugs in the body, potential adverse reactions, and drug-drug interactions. Physiology considers processes that control and regulate the functioning of systems within an intact organism.
Basic physiological processes underlie all fields in biomedical science. Understanding and exploiting the specific actions of drugs can also furnish a way to probe physiological and biochemical processes in both normal and pathological circumstances. Research in pharmacology and physiology provides challenging and exciting opportunities for graduate study.
The Pharmacology and Physiology (PHPH) program offers graduate courses leading to the MS and the PhD. Both degrees require independent research under the direction of faculty members in the department, who are engaged in highly active research programs involving molecular, cellular and behavioral approaches to experimental pharmacology and physiology in a strongly collaborative environment.
Learn more about the curriculum and program requirements
Our Students and Alumni
"My initial interest in the Pharmacology and Physiology Department was partly due to their involvement in the Drug Discovery and Development program. I had always wanted to go into biopharma, and the opportunity to take classes in drug discovery was exciting to me. Additionally, a big draw for me was the work that Dr. Ole Mortensen was doing, and after meeting him I knew I wanted to work in his lab." Read more.
Melissa Manners, who successfully defended her doctoral thesis in March 2016, studied the role of the epigenetic regulator methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) in modulating pain. Mutations in MECP2 cause Rett syndrome and it has been observed that people with Rett syndrome have reduced pain sensitivity. Manners demonstrated the molecular link between MeCP2 and pain. Read more.
Welcome to Our First-Year Students
PhD: Binh Ha, Marzieh Daniali, Delaney Place, Wesley Corey, Amirali Amirfallah
MS: Hieu Jeromy, Diego Trejo, Rashmi Tantri, Fuyu (Adele) Yang
Summer 2022 Potluck
The Pharmacology & Physiology graduate students held a potluck to celebrate the return to the lab this summer.
Discovery Day Awards
Congratulations to the program's Discovery Day 2022 winners:
- Jonathan Snyder (Sato lab), First Place, Barry Waterhouse Outstanding Platform Presentation
- Jason Wickman (Ajit Lab), Third Place, Outstanding Senior Graduate Student Poster
- Breana Channer (Gaskill Lab), Third Place, Outstanding Junior Graduate Student Poster
2022 Mid-Atlantic Pharmacology Society Meeting Awards
The 2022 MAPS Annual Meeting was held on November 4 and included a poster competition. In the graduate student poster category, Julia Farnan won first prize and Deepa Reddy won second prize. View photos from the event.
Dean’s Fellowship for Excellence in Collaborative or Themed Research
Congratulations to Xiaonan Liu, mentored by Dr. Kazuhito Toyooka and Jason Wickman, mentored by Dr. Seena Ajit, winners of the Dean’s Fellowship for Excellence in Collaborative or Themed Research. This fellowship is designed to support PhD-track students with innovative research projects to further develop their research experience.
Dean’s Travel Award
Congratulations to Julia Farnan, winner of the Dean’s Travel Award. The Dean’s Travel Award is meant to partially defray the cost of attending a scientific meeting at which a graduate student is making a presentation, or is related to the student’s graduate study.
Student Travel Award
Congratulations to Simran Gill, who received the Chapter Recognition Student Travel Award from Association for Women in Science (AWIS) to attend the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, Calif., in November 2022.
Drexel Emerging Graduate Scholars Conference Award
Rhea Temmermand won 3rd place in the in-person research poster competition of the Drexel Emerging Graduate Scholars Conference. Rhea’s award-winning poster was titled “Development of Glutamate Transporter Modulators as a Novel, Non-Opioid Treatment for Neuropathic Pain.”
Experimental Biology 2022 Award
Jason Wickman won 1st place in the graduate students and post baccalaureate students’ group in the neuropharmacology division at the Experimental Biology 2022 meeting in Philadelphia. Jason’s award-winning poster was titled “miR-106b-25 Dysregulation in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Contributes to T Cell Dysfunction.”
Rhea Temmermand Awarded American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation Grant
Congratulations to Rhea Temmermand (A. Mortensen lab) for being awarded the Art Zwerling grant for her project entitled “Development of glutamate transporter modulators as a novel, non-opioid treatment for chronic pain,” funded by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation.
1st Year Student Rotation Talks
Mohammed Sani Alhassan
"The role of CD137 co-stimulation in Multiple Myeloma immune therapeutic approaches"
"Studying the Role of Astrocytic Gq Signaling in Stress-Induced Reinstatement"
"Evaluating CAR-driven signaling profiles of KLK2 construct variants using Jurkat reporter cell lines"
"High Content Analysis of Dopamine Mediated Changes in HIV Infection of Macrophages"
"Small Extracellular Vesicles From Macrophages As A Therapeutic For Post-Surgical Pain"
"Optimizing Culture Conditions To Investigate Dopamine’s Effect On AKT Signaling In Human Monocyte Derived Macrophages"
"Exploring mitochondrial network dynamics in maturing astrocytes"
"CX3CR1 re-expression and phenotypic plasticity of tumor cells"
Read more student achievements.
"Responsible Genes for Neuronal Migration in the Chromosome 17p13.3: Beyond Pafah1b1(Lis1), Crk and Ywhae(14-3-3ε)"
Xiaonan Liu, Sarah A. Bennison, Lozen Robinson, Kazuhito Toyo-Oka
Brain Sci. 2022, 12, 56
"Mechanisms of neuronal dysfunction in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders"
Irollo E, Luchetta J, Ho C, Nash B, Meucci O
Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021 May;78(9):4283-4303
"Human mini brains and spinal cords in a dish: Modeling strategies, current challenges, and prospective advances"
Kofman, S., Mohan, N., Sun, X., Ibric, L., Piermarini, E., Qiang, L.
Journal of tissue engineering, 13, 20417314221113391. (2022)
"Double life: How GRK2 and β-arrestin signaling participate in diseases"
Zhai R, Snyder J, Montgomery S, Sato PY
Cell Signal. 2022 Jun;94:110333
"Myocardial GRK2 Reduces Fatty Acid Metabolism and β-Adrenergic Receptor-Mediated Mitochondrial Responses"
Zhai R, Varner EL, Rao A, Karhadkar S, Di Carlo A, Snyder NW, Sato PY
Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 3;23(5):2777
"Subsets of cancer cells expressing CX3CR1 are endowed with metastasis-initiating properties and resistance to chemotherapy"
DiNatale, A., Kaur, R., Qian, C., Zhang, J., Marchioli, M., Ipe, D., Castelli, M., McNair, C. M., Kumar, G., Meucci, O., Fatatis, A.
Oncogene, 41(9), 1337–1351. (2022)
"Co-receptor signaling in the pathogenesis of neuroHIV"
Nickoloff-Bybel EA, Festa L, Meucci O, Gaskill PJ
Retrovirology. 2021 Aug 24;18(1):24
"Circulating microRNAs from the mouse tibia fracture model reflect the signature from patients with complex regional pain syndrome"
Wickman JR, Luo X, Li W, Jean-Toussaint R, Sahbaie P, Sacan A, Clark JD, Ajit SK
Pain Rep. 2021 Aug 24;6(3):e950
"Therapeutic Strategies for Mutant SPAST-Based Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia"
Mohan, N., Qiang, L., Morfini, G., Baas, P. W.
Brain sciences, 11(8), 1081. (2021)