Faculty / Research Overview

The Department of Pharmacology faculty research covers four main disciplines, which overlap in various ways. Explore the diagram below to see how our faculty's areas of expertise relate to one another.

Cancer Research at Stony Brook

Since its founding, a major focus of the Department has been molecular studies of DNA damage and DNA repair mechanisms, and their relation to cancer etiology and treatment. In addition, department faculty study structural and mechanistic aspects of proteins involved in oncogenesis; proteome-wide expression patterns associated with cancer; the regulation of signaling pathways in cancer; and protein-drug interactions. These studies benefit from inter-disciplinary collaborations with researchers all across campus, including the Zickler Laboratory for Chemical Biology in the Department, the Proteomics Center, the Laufer Center for Computation Biology, the Intitute for Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, and the Chemistry Department, with which several faculty are affiliated.

Metabolic Disorders Research at Stony Brook

Several laboratories focus on metabolic regulation. There is heightened awareness that metabolic dysregulation causes or results from diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Cell surface-acting ligands (e.g., hormones, drugs, growth factors) and nuclear receptor ligands (e.g., estrogens, anabolic steroids, progestins) impact metabolic machinery acutely. Obesity versus cachexia, normal cell growth versus cancer, immune function versus immunosuppression are key fulcrums of metabolic regulation. Complex pathways involved are high-value targets of drug discovery and new therapies. Specific receptors, kinases, metabolic enzymes continue to yield exciting new lead compounds from which powerful and novel new ethical drugs will emerge. Faculty interests in chemical biology and new drug development create broad opportunities in basic and clinical research as well as training.

Mitochondrial Biology Research at Stony Brook

Several aspects of mitochondrial biology are being explored in our department. Dr. Dan Bogenhagen studies nuclear-encoded proteins that are imported into mitochondria to replicate, repair, and transcribe mitochondrial DNA. Single-base mutations and deletions in mtDNA contribute to a variety of human diseases including aging and cancer. A long-term goal of his lab is to understand important features of mtDNA organization and nuclear-mitochondrial interactions. Dr. Miguel Garcia-Diaz investigates different aspects of mitochondrial gene expression, including transcription and postranscriptional processing, characterizes key protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions that are required for expression of the mitochondrial genome, and investigates the relationship between defects in mitochondrial gene expression and the pathogenesis of mitochondrial diseases. Finally, Dr. Michael Frohman is exploring the role of lipid signaling on the mitochondrial surface as a facilitator of mitochondrial fusion and as a key component in a pathway that generates a type of RNAi required for meiosis in spermatocytes and fertility.

Neuropharmacology Research at Stony Brook

Neuroscience research is a strong focus in the department with research interests ranging from the molecular basis of multiple sclerosis, the interplay between immune cells and neuronal cells to the function of glial cells, the biology of neural stem cells and synapse formation. The neuroscience program in our department is tightly integrated with the Department of Neurobiology at Stony Brook and Brookhaven National Lab. Our faculty has a strong track record of mentoring graduate students in Neurosciences graduate program.

Signaling Research at Stony Brook

Signaling Research is a major theme in the pharmacology department and encompasses the molecular pathways that couple signals initiated by hormones, neurotransmitters, extracellular matrix molecules and lipids to cellular responses in a variety of tissues. Studies focus on the molecular roles of cell surface receptors, integrins, G proteins and tyrosine kinases in mediating signaling between cells. These research programs include close interactions with other departments including Cell Biology and Biochemistry as well as Molecular Genetics.