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Pharmacology of the nervous system is playing an increasingly important role in both health and disease as receptors and intracellular signaling mechanisms are characterized at the molecular and structural levels. As a consequence, neuropharmacology has an increasing potential to contribute to the effective treatment of myriad health problems, including addiction, Alzheimer's, chronic pain and psychiatric disorders.

In the Department of Pharmacology, areas of investigation in neuroscience cover a broad range including: neurotransmitter receptors and second messengers, neuronal development and neurodegeneration, and learning and dementia. The experimental systems that we study include recombinant receptors, single neurons and glia in primary cell culture, pairs of synaptically connected neurons, brain slices, whole brains and behaving animals.

Examples of fundamental neural questions being addressed are:

  • What chemical messengers enable the immune and nervous systems to interact?
  • What are the cellular and molecular mechanisms that enable the brain to wire correctly during development?
  • What cellular and molecular mechanisms underlie the modification of synaptic connections during learning?
  • What are the cellular and molecular bases for the deleterious effects on cognition of drugs of abuse and toxins (e.g. lead)?
  • What are the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases?
  • What are useful therapeutic strategies to repair brain damage?

Topics studied by Department of Pharmacology Neuroscience Faculty

  • Brain repair
  • Cellular and molecular mechanisms of addiction
  • Developmental and neurodegenerative disorders
  • Ion channels
  • Neuro-immune interactions
  • Neurotoxicology
  • Nutrient transport in the brain
  • Pain
  • Second messengers and protein kinases
  • Synaptic development and plasticity