Welcome to the Department of Pharmacology in the UC Davis School of Medicine. The Department comprises a dynamic group of faculty, researchers and students from diverse backgrounds undertaking investigations to reveal biological mechanisms that will ultimately lead to discovery of novel understanding of physiological and pathological mechanisms, identification of potential therapeutic targets and development of new strategies for a variety of human diseases.

The Department is led by Chair Donald Bers, Ph.D. and the Executive Advisory Group that includes Johannes W. Hell, Ph.D. (Vice-Chair for Academic Development), Crystal M. Ripplinger, Ph.D., (Vice-Chair for Research and Administration) and Heike Wulff, Ph.D. (Vice-Chair for Education). The Pharmacology Department is part of the basic biomedical sciences in the School of Medicine. The Department and its Faculty have strong connections with multiple UC Davis Graduate Groups, other Departments (in multiple colleges) and Research Centers constituting a powerful interactive high-quality research team. The faculty are also committed to excellence in teaching and service (both at UC Davis and beyond). UC Davis Pharmacology is one of the nation's top ranked pharmacology departments in federal research funding and hosts a diverse group of postdoctoral trainees and graduate students from different Graduate Groups.

Two of the strongest research areas within the Department are Cardiovascular and Neuroscience at multiple levels, and in a highly collaborative environment of considerable international reputation. Along with other research areas, our work is unified by a common goal - to understand mechanistically the critical building blocks of biological systems from molecules to cells and organ systems, in health and disease, and to identify components that can be modified through pharmacology or other therapeutic strategies to cure disease. Please visit our Research Overview page and Faculty Research pages for details of ongoing work in the individual Departmental laboratories.

Spotlight on Our Pharmacology Team

Gelli and Navedo elected to Faculty Executive Committee

Angela Gelli, Ph.D.

Manuel Navedo, Ph.D.

We are proud to announce that Dr. Angie Gelli and Dr. Manuel F. Navedo have been elected to the UC Davis School of Medicine Faculty Executive Committee (FEC). Election to this committee is a tremendous responsibility and privilege. The committee contributes to the shared governance of the School of Medicine within UC Davis. Their election to FEC adds to the meaningful and extensive service that the Pharmacology Faculty provides to the Schools and UC Davis.


Turning tarantula venom into pain relief

Heike Wulff, Ph.D.

Researchers at UC Davis are developing a new type of pain medication from an unusual source — tarantula venom.

The project is part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative, aimed at ending opioid addiction and creating non-addictive therapies to treat pain.

Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy, a professor of physiology and membrane biology, and Heike Wulff, a professor of pharmacology, are leading the 20-person team using computational biology to turn a poisonous peptide into one that can relieve pain. Peptides are smaller versions of proteins.

Read more about this news article »


Dr. Ele Grandi is appointed as Chair of the Biophysics Graduate Group

Eleonora Grandi, Ph.D.

Congratulations to Dr. Ele Grandi, who has just been appointed Chair of the Biophysics Graduate Group from July 2021 to June 2024 by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan. As the Graduate Group Chair, Dr. Grandi will provide key leadership for both the students and faculty members associated with this graduate group as well as for prospective students that may be recruited in coming years. Dr. Grandi’s major commitment to this important role is greatly valued.

Ele joins two other Pharmacology faculty member who have selflessly taken Grad Group Chair roles in recent years (Drs. Julie Bossuyt and Elva Diaz as Chairs of MCIP and Neuroscience, respectively).


Dr. Nieves-Cintron awarded prestigious AHA grant

Madeline Nieves-Cintron, Ph.D.

We are proud to announce that Dr. Madeline Nieves-Cintron was recently awarded a highly competitive American Heart Association Career Development Award. Dr. Nieves-Cintron will be examining signal transduction mechanisms in vascular smooth muscle cells. This recognition reflects Dr. Nieves-Cintron's exciting and highly innovative research program.