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

Elva Diaz Selected as Director of the Grass Fellowship Program

Elva Diaz, Ph.D.

Dr. Don Bers and the Department of Pharmacology would like to congratulate Dr. Elva Diaz who was selected as Director of the Grass Fellowship Program! As part of this honor, Dr. Diaz will be taking a Sabbatical Leave in the Summer of 2022, 2023 and 2024. During this time, Dr. Diaz will mentor the Grass Fellows, promising early-stage neuroscientists from across the world selected to conduct independent research projects. In addition, Dr. Diaz will be conducting her own research utilizing the resources and equipment of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Dr. Diaz’ appointment as Director of the Grass Fellowship Foundation is truly a recognition of Dr. Diaz’s reputation and expertise in the neuroscience field, as well as represents outstanding recognition for UC Davis. Her research program will be greatly enhanced by the networking opportunities and resources available during the summer at MBL.


2021 AAAS Fellow

Johannes Hell, Ph.D.

Congratulations to Dr. Johannes Hell who has just been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for 2021! Dr. Hell is one of nine UC Davis faculty who have been granted this great distinction. This honor is awarded to those who stand-out from their peers for their efforts in the advancement and applications of science, for which Dr. Hell has excelled in the area of Neuroscience along with his mentoring and training of students and junior scientists. Details on Dr. Hell’s achievement and the other UC Davis faculty can be found on the UC Davis Newsfeed.


2021-22 Chancellor’s Fellowships for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Elva Diaz, Ph.D.

We are excited and proud to announce that Dr. Elva Diaz in our department has been awarded the Chancellor's Fellowship for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This award is given to Academic Senate or Academic Federation members with a demonstrated and significant track record of abiding commitment to reducing opportunity gaps for underrepresented students and/or students from underserved communities. Dr. Diaz has stand out for her many contributions to DEI within the Department and throughout the main Campus. Dr. Diaz is also the Chair of the Department I-DARE Program. Congratulations!

You can read more about this award here »


New model translates heart research findings from animals to humans

Morotti & Team

We are proud to announce the recently published journal article by Pharmacology’s Drs. Stefano Morotti , Crystal Ripplinger, Andy Edwards, Ele Grandi, Donald Bers, Bence Hegyi, Haibo Ni, and Lianguo Wang. This incredibly significant paper details a new predictive model developed by the team which translates cardiac research findings across different animal species into human-specific insights. This model could help accelerate the drug development process, leading to new therapies for heart diseases, such as irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).

Visit the UCD Health news page to read more about this outstanding accomplishment by the group.