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

Software developed at UC Davis analyzes calcium ‘sparks’ that can contribute to arrhythmia

The UC Davis teamThe UC Davis team: Donald M. Bers (sitting), Manuel F. Navedo (standing left), Christopher Y. Ko (standing middle), Madeline Nieves-Cintron (right).

Jakub TomekJakub Tomek, the first author of the research article, is a Sir Henry Wellcome Fellow at the University of Oxford.

A new study by a team of UC Davis and University of Oxford researchers has developed an innovative tool: SparkMaster 2. The open-source software allows scientists to analyze normal and abnormal calcium signals in cells automatically. The study was published in the prestigious journal Circulation Research. The software was developed by Drs. Jakub Tomek, Chris Ko and Donald Bers, with contributions from Drs. Madeline Nieves-Cintron and Manuel Navedo in our department.

"SparkMaster 2 is even easier to use and is much more powerful in the variety of event types it can analyze quantitatively — sparks, waves, mini-waves and latencies. And it has higher accuracy and sensitivity, resulting in fewer missed events and fewer erroneous positives," Bers said.

"It was great to present SparkMaster 2 at recent conferences and see the enthusiastic response. I felt it would be an outlier and that few people would care. But many people were excited about having a new analysis tool that overcomes many of the limitations they have experienced with prior tools," Tomek said.

To learn more about this study, check out the press release. You can also access the paper here.

Pharm Faculty Receives Mentoring/Advising Award

Madeline Nieves-Cintron, Ph.D.Madeline Nieves-Cintron, Ph.D.

Stefano Morotti, Ph.D.Stefano Morotti, Ph.D.

We are proud to announce that Department Faculty Dr. Madeline Nieves Cintron and Dr. Stefano Morotti have received the 2023 Graduate Program Advising and Mentoring Award. Dr. Nieves-Cintron received her award for her work with students in the Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology Graduate Group, and Dr. Morotti received his award for his work with students in the Biophysics Graduate Group. This award recognizes the dedication and passion shown by Drs. Nieves-Cintron and Morotti in guiding, advising and mentoring graduate students. We are proud and thank them for all they do to provide a nurturing and stimulating environment for our graduate students.

Please see the official announcement here.

Elva Diaz wins ADVANCE Award

Elva Diaz, Ph.D.Elva Diaz, Ph.D.

We are proud to announce that Dr. Elva Diaz has been selected to receive the 2023 ADVANCE Scholar Award. This award is given to two investigators each year in recognition for their outstanding commitment to diversity and equity in STEMM fields through research, teaching, and service and aims to celebrate the contributions to mentorship these investigators make to under-represented students within their field. Dr. Diaz has shown through great dedication in her mentorship and teaching practices as well as her involvement and leadership in Neuroscience Grad Group and Pharmacology Department DEI Committees to be well-deserving of this honor. Dr. Diaz will be honored at the ADVANCE Award Symposium in spring 2024 and is also provided the opportunity of participating on the ADVANCE selection committee for the 2024 awards.

Visit the ADVANCE Announcement page to read more about this outstanding recognition.