The Department of Pharmacological Sciences focuses on the biological mechanisms underlying complex physiologies and pathophysiologies and on translating biological knowledge into new therapeutics. Here are some of our research milestones:
Dean Irving Schwartz appoints Panayotis Katsoyannis, PhD as the founding Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Katsoyannis later achieves a measure of fame for his studies on the synthesis of oxytocin and vasopressin and as the first to chemically synthesize human insulin.
Jack Peter Green, PhD, MD, becomes founding Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology, paving the way for the development of an unparalleled research department.
Jack Peter Green, MD, PhD, along with Harel Weinstein, PhD, and their colleagues, institute the use of computational techniques to study drug-receptor interactions to predict biological activity, thereby providing a model for the development of rational drug use.
Harel Weinstein, PhD, and his colleagues describe, for the first time and long before the first receptor molecule was cloned, a discrete molecular mechanism for the action of a neurotransmitter on its receptor, a mechanism that is still considered valid today.
While conducting research on the hepatitis virus, George Acs, PhD and his colleagues establish the first stable cell system in which Hepatitis B virus replicated and then demonstrate that the virus produced by those cells could cause hepatitis in chimpanzees. Over the years, more than 200 schools and pharmaceutical and biochemical companies have requested samples of that cell line.
Francesco Ramirez, DSc, is appointed the Dr. Amy and James Elster Chair of Molecular Biology (Connective Tissue Diseases) and Professor of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, and of Medicine-Cardiology.
Ravi Iyengar, PhD, is appointed Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology.
Because of the commonality of research interests in biochemical mechanisms, we create the Dorothy H. and Lewis Rosensteil Department of Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry, bringing together many former members of the Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Pharmacology under Ravi Iyengar, PhD.
The Department of Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry becomes the Dorothy H. and Lewis Rosensteil Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics.
Ravi Iyengar, PhD, leads a multi-principal investigator project funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to systematically assemble functional human kidney tissue from tissue modeled on a computer under the project, Dynamics Underlying Tissue Integrity. This approach could lead to a more predictable way for researchers to engineer tissue outside the body and, consequently, to screen for new drugs.
Ravi Iyengar, PhD, leads a new study toward the ability to predict adverse drug reactions, using genetic, cellular, and clinical information to learn why some medicines cause heart arrhythmias in patients.
Terry Krulwich, PhD, Sharon and Frederick A. Klingenstein-Nathan G. Kase, MD, Professor of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, and David Hicks, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, enhance our understanding of the mechanism by which cells achieve energy conversion, the process in which food converts into the energy required by cells. This groundbreaking research helps scientists gain atomic-level insight into how organisms synthesize their major form of chemical energy. The researchers’ findings were published in the August issue of PLoS Biology.
Led by Lakshmi Devi, PhD, researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine discover a major mechanism underlying the development of tolerance to chronic morphine treatment. The discovery may help researchers find new therapies to treat chronic pain, and reduce tolerance and side effects associated with morphine use. The findings are published in the July 20 issue of Science Signaling.
A team led by Avi Ma’ayan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, a team at Mount Sinai integrates the results from ChIP-seq and ChIP-chips experiments, collecting data from more than 100 proteins that bind DNA to regulate gene expression, called transcription factors, into one database.
Robert Blitzer, PhD, in collaboration with Cristina Alberini, PhD, evaluates the effect of IGF-II at the cellular level. They find that IGF-II has an impact on long-term potentiation (LTP).
Researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine identify a regulator protein that plays a crucial role in kidney fibrosis, a condition that leads to kidney failure. Finding this regulator provides a new therapeutic target for the millions of Americans affected by kidney failure. The research is published in the March 11 issue of Nature Medicine and was led by John Cijiang He, MD, PhD, Professor of Nephrology and Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, and Avi Ma'ayan, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers have discovered that marijuana-like chemicals trigger receptors on human immune cells that can directly inhibit a type of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) found in late-stage AIDS, according to new findings published online in the journal PLoS ONE. The study author is Cristina Costantino, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics.
Avi Ma’ayan, PhD, and Neil Clark, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Ma’ayan Laboratory, develop a computational method to help organize scientific data, making it easier for scientists to identify and prioritize genes, drug targets, and connections between drugs.
Venetia Zachariou, PhD, leads study investigating whether a protein called RGS4 may be a useful target in developing new treatments or adjuvant therapies for depression and neuropathic pain. The study is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Lakshmi Devi, PhD, identifies a receptor in the brain's feeding center, important in obesity and other eating disorders. Dr. Devi's laboratory works with drugs that show promise in targeting the receptor.
Ravi Iyengar, PhD, leads a study using the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS), a hospital electronic health records database, and an animal model to show that by adding a second drug to the diabetes drug rosiglitazone, adverse events drop significantly.
Paul Kenny, PhD, is appointed as the Ward-Coleman Professor and Chair of the Dorothy H. and Lewis Rosensteil Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics. A leading researcher in the neurobiology of obesity and drug addiction, Dr. Kenny has helped advance the understanding of the mechanisms behind addiction-like behaviors, and his work has led to the development of medications for these behaviors.
Venetia Zachariou, PhD, leads a study on identifying the specific pathways that promote opioid addiction, pain relief, and tolerance. This understanding is crucial in developing more effective and less dangerous analgesics, as well as developing new treatments for addiction. It also reveals that opiate use alters the activity of a specific protein needed for the normal functioning of the brain's reward center.
Ming-Hu Han, PhD, and Allyson K. Friedman, PhD, lead a study that points to a conceptually novel therapeutic strategy for treating depression. Instead of dampening neuron firing found with stress-induced depression, researchers demonstrated for the first time that further activating these neurons opens a new avenue to mimic and promote natural resilience.
Avi Ma’ayan, PhD, and his Mount Sinai research team receive a $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a center to integrate databases and build computer models that glean new insights on how human cells react to drugs and toxins. The goal is to accelerate the discovery of new therapies and diagnostics by mining data.
Ian Maze, PhD, discovers that histones are steadily replaced in brain cells throughout life – a process that helps to switch genes on and off. This histone replacement, known as turnover, enables our genetic machinery to adapt to our environment by prompting gene expression, the conversion of genes into the proteins that comprise cellular structures and carry signals in the brain.
The Systems Biology of Disease and Therapeutics training program merges with the Structural/Chemical Biology and Molecular Design Program to create the Biophysics and Systems Pharmacology training program.
Dorothy H. and Lewis Rosenstiel Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics and the Department of Structural and Chemical Biology combine to form the Department of Pharmacological Sciences.