The Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology was created to foster collaborative interactions between scientists with different, though complementary, research interests and expertise. The primary goal in developing such an interdisciplinary department was to create an environment where rigorous scientific debate and discourse between researchers with different perspectives would create a stimulating and productive intellectual environment for faculty and trainees alike. As you browse through the research descriptions of our faculty and appreciate the breadth and significance of their scientific achievements, it should become clear that this experiment was a tremendous success. Research projects address a myriad of important scientific questions relevant to cancer, metabolism, nervous system function, drugs of abuse, and environmental toxicants. However, one unifying theme that has emerged in the department is cell signaling and the use of pharmacological approaches to define the key regulatory steps in relevant pathways that may be amenable to pharmaceutical exploitation or whose dysregulation may be involved in the pathogenesis of disease. It is a privilege to welcome you to our website and we encourage you to learn more about the opportunities in research, training, and education offered by this exciting and dynamic department.
Donald P. McDonnell, Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman


  • Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm

  • Sohail Tavazoie, M.D., Ph.D., The Rockefeller University
  • "Small RNAs as molecular probes into the biology and therapeutic targeting of metastasis"
  • 103 Bryan Research Building
  • Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 9:00 am

  • Bofu Huang (Advisor: Sally Kornbluth)
  • “Metabolic control of CaMKII-mediated caspase-2 suppression by the B55 beta/PP2A”
  • 147 Nanaline Duke
  • Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 12:00 pm

  • Christopher Newgard, Ph.D., Duke University School of Medicine
  • "Battle of the Omics: Microbiomics meets metabolomics in cardiometabolic disease research"
  • 103 Bryan Research Building
  • Friday, March 13, 2015 at 2:00 pm

  • Jing Hu (Advisor: Xiao-Fan Wang)
  • “Post-transcriptional enhancement of miR-215 biogenesis mediates glioma-initiating cell adaptation to hypoxia"
  • 147 Nanaline Duke
  • Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 12:00 pm

  • Galit Lahav, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
  • "Dynamics of cancer pathways in individual cells"
  • 103 Bryan Research Building
  • Monday, March 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm

  • Bin Gu (Advisor: James McNamara)
  • “A Peptide Selectively Uncoupling BDNF Receptor TrkB from Phospholipase Cγ1 Prevents Epilepsy and Anxiety-like Disorder"
  • 147 Nanaline Duke
  • Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm

  • Jeff Settleman, Ph.D., Genentech
  • "The role of "heterogeneity" in tumor evolution and treatment response"
  • 103 Bryan Research Building
  • Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 2:00 pm

  • Abigail Brunner (Advisor: Donald McDonnell)
  • “Targeting Histone Deacetylases in Advanced Prostate Cancer”
  • 143 Jones
  • Friday, March 27, 2015 at 2:00 pm

  • Leonor Añó (Advisor: David Kirsch)
  • “Using Novel Genetically Engineered Mouse Models of Soft Tissue Sarcoma to Interrogate the Contribution of Cell of Origin and Tissue Injury to Sarcoma Development”
  • 143 Jones
  • Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm

  • Edward Zhu (Advisor: Rebecca Yang)
  • “Circuit and behavioral basis of egg-laying site selection in Drosophila melanogaster”
  • 143 Jones
  • Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm

  • William Hahn, M.D., Ph.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • "Systematic functional approaches to identify cancer targets and pathways"
  • 103 Bryan Research Building
  • Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 12:00 pm

  • Sean Morrison, Ph.D., UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • "New approaches to melanoma therapy"
  • 103 Bryan Research Building
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