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

Can a drug developed for sickle cell anemia mitigate lung damage in patients with COVID-19?

Heike Wulff, Ph.D.

Scientists around the globe are working to identify approved and investigational drugs that can be repurposed to treat COVID-19. UC Davis Health researchers provided one of those repurposed drugs, senicapoc, to launch a clinical trial at Aarhus University in Denmark. The study will assess whether the drug can mitigate lung damage in patients with COVID-19.

John Olichney, the clinical core director for the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Heike Wulff, a professor of pharmacology, and other UC Davis researchers have been evaluating senicapoc as a potential treatment for stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Keck Foundation grant will help scientists see small proteins

Hell Team

A team of UC Davis Health scientists that include Dr. Johannes Hell and Dr. Manuel Navedo, has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Keck Foundation to develop a tool for visualizing proteins that so far have been hard to study due to size.

The tool involves using fluorescent-tagged peptides to bind and illuminate proteins of interest, even those smaller than 5 nanometers. Current options do not work well with proteins smaller than 20 nanometers.

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Meet the 20th Class of Chancellor’s Fellows

Eleonora Grandi, Ph.D.

UC Davis has named its new class of Chancellor’s Fellows, that included Dr. Ele Grandi, marking the 20th anniversary of the program that provides philanthropic support to exceptional early career faculty members.

The fellowships come with cash awards — $25,000 this year — for research or other scholarly work.

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Four from UC Davis Health selected for UC Women’s Initiative for Professional Development program

Crystal Ripplinger, Ph.D.

Dr. Crystal Ripplinger is one among the four women from UC Davis Health – along with eight women from the Davis campus – who have been selected to participate in the 2020 UC Women’s Initiative for Professional Development (UC WI) program.

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