Sketch of a brain with light breaking through
Faculty within the Pharmacology department working in the area of neuroscience and neuropharmacology focus their research in characterizing the cellular and molecular mechanisms which underlie neuronal function and survival. Because neuroscience/neuropharmacology is an increasingly integrative discipline, research at UCD utilizes many different core facilities and crosses departmental boundaries. One of the strengths of our faculty lies in the fact that they have experience in a number of different scientific disciplines.

Specific areas of neuropharmacology research at UCD includes the study of molecular memory and synaptic plasticity, neuronal survival and apoptosis, neuronal signal transduction, and neuropharmacology. In addition the pharmacology faculty has a particularly strong interest in the neuropharmacology of drugs of abuse.

Aoto, Jason
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., 2009, Univ. of California, Berkley
We are interested in dissecting the distinct functions of synaptic cell-adhesion molecules implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders and addiction in the context of disease-relevant brain circuits. Using cutting-edge multidisciplinary techniques, we are able to interrogate these molecules with cell-type and synapse-specific resolution.

Bankston, John
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., 2009, Columbia University
Molecular Mechanisms of ion channel function. Examining structural and regulatory mechanisms of the Acid-sensing ion channels using electrophysiology, fluorescence, spectroscopy, and structural biology.

Bates, Emily 
Associate Professor
Ph.D., 2005, Harvard Medical School
The Bates lab is studying the effects of fetal exposures to CBD and nicotine using mice as a model. 

Bayer, K. Ulrich
PhD, 1996, Heinrich-Pette-Institute
Molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity. Strategies for restoring normal synaptic plasticity in neurological disorders.

Benke, Timothy A.
Associate Professor
MD/PhD, 1995, Baylor College of Medicine
Mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and impacts of development and epilepsy.

Christie, Jason
Associate Professor
Ph.D., 2004, Oregon Health & Sci Univ. 
We study the mechanisms of neural plasticity and the relationship of these processes to motor learning.

Dabertrand, Fabrice
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Bordeaux Segalen, France
The control of cerebral blood flow by ion channels and calcium signaling in the pericytes, endothelial cells, and smooth muscle cells that constitute the brain microcirculation. We use this information to combat brain diseases with a vascular component.

Dell'Acqua, Mark L.
Professor and Vice Chairman
Ph.D., 1995, Harvard Univ.
Organization of signaling complexes by protein kinase and phosphatase anchoring proteins; mechanisms regulating neuronal second messenger signaling in synaptic plasticity.

Ford, Christopher
Associate Professor
Ph.D., 2003, Univ. of Alberta
We study the synaptic mechanisms by which neuromodulators like dopamine and acetylcholine are encoded in mesolimbic and nigrostriatal circuits through their G-protein coupled receptors and the alterations that occur in these systems in neurological and psychiatric diseases. 

Freed, Curt R.
MD, 1969, Harvard Univ.
The dynamic role of dopamine in movement; neural transplantation for Parkinson’s disease.

Heinsbroek, Jasper
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., 2018, Medical University of South Carolina
We are interested in the basal ganglia circuits that regulate motivation, mood and reward with a particular focus on addition using a combination of behavioral neuroscience, optogenetics, chemogenetics, calcium/neurotransmitter imaging and electrophysiology.

Hoffman, Paula L.
Ph.D., 1974, City Univ. of New York
Neuropharmacology; mechanisms of alcohol tolerance, dependence, and craving; genetic aspects of alcohol dependence and affective disorders; biochemical/molecular biological/genetic analysis of CNS receptors and signal transduction systems.

Kennedy, Matthew J.
Assistant Professor
PhD, 2003, Univ. of Washington
Molecular mechanisms of activity-triggered synaptic remodeling.

Kutateladze, Tatiana G.
Ph.D., 1988, Moscow State Univ.
Epigenetics, phosphoinositide signaling, structural biology, NMR and crystal structures of proteins implicated in cancer, structure based drug design.

Peters, Jamie
Associate Professor
Ph.D., 2007, Medical University of South Carolina 
We study the neural systems involved in motivated behaviors and the alterations that occur in these systems after exposure to drugs of abuse. Techniques include optogenetics, chemogenetics, fiber photometry, and sophisticated rodent behavioral models of addiction. 

Quillinan, Nidia
Associate Professor
Ph.D., 2010, Oregon Health & Sciences University
Our research is focused on excitability and plasticity changes in the brain following ischemic insults such as cardiac arrest and stroke.

Serkova, Natalie J.
Associate Professor
Ph.D., 1996, Univ. of Bremen
Animal Imaging (MRI, PET, CT); Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) based metabonomics; Cancer Metabolism and Physiology; Anti-Cancer Drugs; Ischemia/Reperfusion in Organs.