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Paul McGonigle

Paul McGonigle, PhD

Professor; Co-director, Interdisciplinary & Career-Oriented Programs; Director, Drug Discovery & Development Program

Department: Pharmacology & Physiology


  • BS in Mathematics - Drexel University
  • MS in Biomedical Science - Drexel University
  • PhD in Pharmacology - Temple University Medical School

Awards & Honors

  • Best Professor Award, Interdisciplinary and Career Oriented Programs, Drexel University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies (2022)
  • Angelo Pinto Basic Science Educator Award, Drexel University College of Medicine (2021)
  • George B. Koelle Award for Teaching, Research & Mentorship, Mid-Atlantic Pharmacological Society (2018)
  • Excellence in Teaching, Drexel University College of Medicine (2014)

Paul McGonigle, PhD, is co-director of the Division of Interdisciplinary and Career-Oriented Programs within the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies at Drexel University College of Medicine. In this role, he oversees master's and certificate-level academic programs in scientific and career-oriented disciplines with a focus on expanding current programs and developing new ones that cross disciplinary boundaries.

Dr. McGonigle is also a professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology, and director of the Drug Discovery and Development Program at Drexel University College of Medicine. Prior to joining the College, he was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Dr. McGonigle teaches in multiple courses including Pharmacology 507 – Principles of Neuropharmacology and Pharmacology 602S – Methods in Pharmacology. He is co-director of Pharmacology 525A and 525B – Drug Discovery and Development.

Research Overview

Dr. McGonigle joined the pharmaceutical industry in 1996, first at Wyeth, where he served as director of psychiatric disorder research until 2003. He then co-founded NeuroGenix, Inc., a company dedicated to discovering new drugs for the treatment of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Most recently he served as chief scientific officer and then vice-president of PsychoGenics, Inc., a drug discovery and contract research company specializing in behavioral neuroscience.

Research Interests

CNS drug discovery, receptor pharmacology, behavioral pharmacology, neuropharmacology


The focus of Dr. McGonigle's academic research has been on neurotransmitter receptor systems involved in psychiatric and neurological disorders. 

Work on dopamine receptors included biochemical characterization and neuroanatomical distribution of individual subtypes, their regulation in response to pharmacological treatments and lesions, in vitro and in vivo functional properties and localization of receptor-mediated behaviors to specific brain regions. In addition, his laboratory developed a novel animal model of tardive dyskinesia based on manipulations of the dopaminergic system. 

Studies of the serotonin system were primarily concerned with the role of mRNA in the expression and regulation of serotonin receptor subtypes. Unique riboprobes were generated for 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors and the localization, ontogeny and regulation of these messages in response to pharmacological and physiological manipulations such as stress were examined. 

Work on the glutamate system was focused on the mechanisms of acute and chronic excitotoxicity in NT2-N cells, the first clonal line of human neurons. The identity of glutamate receptor subtypes expressed by these cells was determined using pharmacological and immunological approaches and the excitotoxic response to glutamate and other endogenous substances was characterized using techniques such as in vivo calcium fluorescence and time lapse video microscopy. The ability to protect and rescue these cells from damage was evaluated and the role of intracellular signaling pathways in these phenomena was determined.


Dr. McGonigle is the author or co-author of more than 100 original papers and abstracts. He co-authored the text Principles in Pharmacology, as well as several book chapters.

Selected Papers

“Translating academic education into pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry excellence”
Barrett, JE, McGonigle, P and Clark, JE
Drug Discovery Today (in press)

“Drug discovery strategies that focus on the endocannabinoid signaling system in psychiatric disease”
Wyrofsky, R, McGonigle, P and Van Bockstaele, EJ
Expert Opin Drug Discov. 10:17-36, 2015

“Targeting the neuropeptide Y system in stress-related psychiatric disorders”
Enman, NM, Sabban, EL, McGonigle, P and Van Bockstaele, EJ
Neurobiol. Stress. 1:33-43, 2015

“A store-operated calcium channel inhibitor attenuates collagen-induced arthritis”
Gao, XH, Gao, R, Tian, YZ, McGonigle, P, Barrett, JE, Dai, Y and Hu, H
Br. J. Pharmacol. 172:2991-3002, 2015

“Locus Coeruleus, norepinephrine and A-beta peptides in Alzheimer’s disease”
Ross, JA, McGonigle, P and Van Bockstaele, EJ
Neurobiol. Stress. 2:73-84, 2015

”Animal models of CNS disorders”
McGonigle, P
Biochem.Pharmacol. 87:140-9, 2014

“Animal models of human diseases: Challenges in enabling translation”
McGonigle, P and Ruggeri, B.
Biochem. Pharmacol.  87:162-71, 2014
“Peptide therapeutics for CNS indications”
McGonigle P
Biochem. Pharmacol. 83:559-566, 2012

Contact Information

Department of Pharmacology & Physiology
245 N. 15th Street
Mail Stop 488
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 267.359.2629
Fax: 215.762.2299