Program faculty include scientists with a diverse range of research interests drawing from the established scientific disciplines of chemistry, biology, physics and engineering. Traditionally, Pharmacology has been considered an applied science.
However, with the development of biological chemistry, molecular biology, structural biology, neuroscience, and electrophysiology, Pharmacology has become a diverse science that probes basic mechanisms of molecular and cellular function with the knowledge that unraveling these mechanisms will lead to new therapeutic approaches to a variety of diseases. The Department of Pharmacology, therefore, has a unique role within the basic biomedical sciences, to conduct investigations into the fundamental principles of cell function and translate these findings to clinical applications.
Because novel approaches to drug development require a new and comprehensive understanding of cellular organization and communication, the mechanisms by which cells transmit signals within and among cells is an area of emphasis within the Department.
The Department of Pharmacology at the University of Virginia has a distinguished scientific history in the study of cellular signaling processes (signal transduction); two recent Nobel Laureates honored for their work deciphering pathways of cellular signaling conducted this work in the Pharmacology Department at the University of Virginia.
Today, faculty of the Department of Pharmacology bring to bear a wide range of scientific approaches and technical methods to address fundamental questions of cellular signaling related to neural transmission, hormone and growth factor signaling, cell cycle regulation, neoplasia and regulation of gene expression.
This theme unites faculty whose research focus on: receptor characterization, regulation of protein kinase and phosphatase cascades, proteonomics, ion channel regulation, structural analysis of DNA binding proteins, translational control of protein synthesis, extracellular matrix signaling, gene expression, and mathematical modeling of hormone release.