Pharmacology Training Program: From Bench to Bedside

The primary goals of this Pharmacology Training Program are to provide advanced training in basic and translational pharmacological sciences and to broaden the research perspectives and skills of trainees interested in pharmacology research by leveraging the highly collaborative multidisciplinary biomedical science environment at UC Davis to provide trainees with an “inside look” at and understanding of the drug development process from target identification into the clinic.  A secondary goal is to foster interactions among faculty, researchers, post- and pre-doctoral fellows from different departments and Graduate Groups that share an interest in pharmacological sciences. Our vision is that these goals will translate into increased understanding of and interest in the concepts, challenges and opportunities in pharmacology research and therapeutics, as well as increased collaborations between established research scientists in pharmacology and their future colleagues in basic and clinical research across academic, government and private sectors.  

Students eligible to apply to the Pharmacology Training Program should be in their first, second, or third year of a graduate program listed below and should be working on a thesis project related to pharmacology. Other graduate groups can be considered on a case by case basis. The student must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and be in good academic standing. The Pharmacology pre-doctoral graduate student training program is supported due to NIH T32 GM099608 grant funding.

Program Director:

Donald M. Bers
University of California, Davis
Department of Pharmacology
Genome Building,
Room 3513
Davis, CA 95616-8636
Tel: 530-752-6517
Fax: 530-752-7710
E-mail: dmbers@ucdavis.edu

Program Administrator:

Maria Horan
University of California, Davis
Department of Pharmacology
Genome Building,
Room 3502 
Davis, CA 95616-8636
Phone: 530-754-7390
Fax: 530-752-7710
Email: mhoran@ucdavis.edu

School of Medicine

Becket, Laurel A. Pub Hlth
Berglund, Lars Intern Med
Berman, Robert F. Neurosurg
*Bers, Donald M. Pharmacol
Bossuyt, Julie Pharmacol
Chen-Izu, Ye Pharmacol

Chiamvimonvat, Nipavan

Intern Med

Clancy, Colleen E.


DeGregorio, Michael

Intern Med

Deng, Wenbin

Cell Biol Anat
Diaz, Elva Pharmacol
Gelli, Angie Pharmacol
Ghosh, Paramita M. Biochem, Molec Med
*Gorin, Fredric Neurol (also SOVM)
*Hell, Johannes W. Pharmacol
Hertz-Picciotto, Irva Pub Hlth
Heyer, Wolf-Dietrich Microbio & Mol Gen
Isseroff, Rivkah Dermatology
Jialal, Ishwarlal Pathol
Kenyon, Nicholas J Intern Med
Knowlton, Anne A . Intern Med
Kung, Hsing-Jien Biochem, Molec Med
*Lam, Kit Biochem, Molec Med
Lee-Way Jin Pathol
Martha O’Donnell Physiol
Navedo, Manuel Pharmacology
Noctor, Stephen Psychiatry
Pinkerton, Kent E. Pediatrics
Ripplinger, Crystal M Pharmacol
Rocke, David M. Pub Hlth
*Rogawski, Mike Neurol
Sack, Jon Physio & Membr Bio
Segal, David J. Biochem, Molec Med
Takada, Yoshikazu Dermatol
Tarantal, Alice Pediatrics
Trainor, Brian C. Psychol
*Wulff, Heike Pharmacol
Xiang, Kevin Pharmacol
Zheng, Jie Physiol


School of Veterinary Medicine

Barthold, Stephen W. Path/Micro/Immu
Buckpitt, Alan R Molec Biosci
Havel, Peter J. Molec Biosci
Kynch, Heather Molec Biosci
*Lein, Pamela J. Molec Biosci
Murphy, Christopher Path/Micro/Immu
*Pessah, Isaac N. Molec Biosci
Raybould, Helen Anat-Physiol
Van Winkle, Laura Anat-Physiol
Xinbin, Chen Surg/Radiol


College of Engineering

Athanasiou, Kyriacos A. BME
Ferrara, Kathy BME
Fyhrie, David P. BME
Revzin, Alexander BME
Simon, Scott BME


College of Letters and Sciences

Chen, Xi Chem
David, Sheila Chem
Franz, Annaliese K. Chem
Lebrilla, Carlito B. Chem
Shaw, Jared T. Chem


College of Agric & Environ Sci

Hammock, Bruce Entomol
Rice, Robert H. Envir Tox


College of Biological Sciences

Bodine, Sue C. Neur/Physiol
Goldman, Mark S. Neur/Physiol
Privalsky, Martin L. Microbiol

School of Medicine

Bers, Donald M. Pharmacol
Gorin, Fredric Neurol (also SOVM)
Hell, Johannes W. Pharmacol
Lam, Kit Biochem, Molec Med
Rogawski, Mike Neurol
Wulff, Heike Pharmacol



School of Veterinary Medicine

Lein, Pamela J.  Molec Biosci
Pessah, Isaac N. Molec Biosci

Current Trainees
Left to Right: Maria Prada, Leif Anderson, Sean Kodani, Samantha Tucci, Michelle Guignet, Samantha Stuart, Kim Truong, Anna Kreutz, Alejandro Castaneda, Ian Kimball.

Leif Anderson

PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Year entered 2012, Projected 2017

Research Project Title: “Engineering the innate immune response to combat Staphaureus infection”

Trainer: Scott Simon


Alejandro Castaneda

PhD, Immunology, Year entered 2011, Projected 2016

Research Project Title: ”Assessing the use of Dendritic Cell Inhibitors to Reduce Allergic Sensitization and Particulate Matter Toxicity”

Trainer: Kent Pinkerton


Sean Kodani

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2012, Projected 2017

Research Project Title: “Dual sEH/FAAH Inhibition as a Therapeutic Approach for Targeting Hepatic Fibrosis”

Trainer: Bruce Hammock


Anna Kreutz

PhD, Neuroscience, Year entered 2012, Projected 2018

Research Project Title: ”Pharmacological attenuation of maternal immune activation mediated via microglia in the developing neocortex”

Trainer: Stephen Noctor


Ian Kimball

PhD, Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology, Year entered 2013, Projected 2018

Research Project Title: “Structure-function relationship of an endogenous modulator of sodium channel pharmacology”

Trainer: Jon Sack


Samantha Francis Stuart

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2014, Projected 2019

Research Project Title: “The Role of TSPO and Myocardial Inflammation in Incidence of Cardiac Arrhythmia”

Trainer: Crystal Ripplinger


Kim Truong

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2012, Projected 2017

Research Project Title: ”Do astrocytes mitigate or promote tetramethylenedisulfotetramine-triggered excitotoxicity and neuropathology?”

Trainer: Isaac Pessah


Samantha Tucci

PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Year entered 2014, Projected 2019

Research Project Title: “Locally activated novel nanotherapeutics in the treatment of pancreatic cancer”

Trainer: Katherine Ferrara


Maria Paz Prada

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2013, Projected 2018

Research Project Title: ”P2Y11-dependent mechanisms of diabetic vascular dysfunction”

Trainer: Manuel Navedo

Current Trainees
Left to Right: Anna Kreutz, Alejandro Castaneda, Maria Prada, Brad Hobson, Sucheta Mukherjee, Choung Nguyen (Not pictured: Ian Kimball and Kim Truong)

Past Trainees
Left to Right: Steven Vito, Brandon Brown, Nicole De Jesus, Brad Hobson, Sucheta Mukherjee, Anthony Herren, Sunil Sahdeo, Peter Henderson

Brandon Brown

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2011, Projected 2015

Research Project Title: “The Design of Anti-Hypertensive KCa3.1 Activators Modulating the EDH Pathway and Their Effects on the Immune System

Trainer: Heike Wulff


Nicole De Jesus

PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Year entered 2010, Projected 2014

Research Project Title: “The Role of Inflammation in Electrophysiological Remodeling and Arrhythmogenesis Following Myocardial Infarction

Trainer: Crystal Ripplinger


Michelle Guignet

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2014, Projected 2019

Research Project Title: “The effect of the small anti-apoptotic molecule P7C3-A20 on neurodegeneration following acute organophosphate intoxication with DFP”

Trainer: Pamela Lein


Peter Henderson

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2011, Projected 2016

Research Project Title: “How the Tyrosine Kinases Pyk2 and Src are Involved in the Regulation of Cav1.2 Activity by PKC

Trainer: Johannes Hell


Anthony Herren

PhD, Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology, Projected 2014, Year entered 2009, Graduated Winter 2015

Research Project Title: “CaMKII Based Regulation of the Cardiac Voltage Gated Na+ Channel

Trainer: Donald Bers


Brad Hobson

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2011, Projected 2016

Research Project Title: “Investigating the Anti-Inflammatory Compound TRAM-34 as Neuroprotective in Acute Organophosphate Intoxication

Trainer: Pamela Lein


Sucheta Mukherjee

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2009, Projected 2015

Research Project Title: “Evaluating MUS81-EME1 as a Novel Anti-Cancer Therapeutic Target

Trainer: Wolf-Dietrich Heyer


Chuong Nguyen

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2012, Projected 2017

Research Project Title: “ Effects of Serotonin Transporter Inhibition on Regenerative Ability of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Wound Healing

Trainer: Rivkah Isseroff


Sunil Sahdeo

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2012, Projected 2014, Graduated Spring 2014

Research Project Title: “Discovery and characterization of compounds that rescue Friedreich’s Ataxia biochemical defects in vitro and in vivo”

Trainer: Gino Cortopassi


Stephen Vito

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2009, awarded Masters of Science Degree Fall 2014 

Research Project Title: “Investigation of Potential Therapeutic Strategies to Mitigate Toxicity Induced by the Convulsant Poison Tetramethylenedisulfotetramine

Trainer: Bruce Hammock


Pharmacology Seminar Series Schedule

Chalk Talks are First Tuesdays of the Month as Scheduled by Trainees


  September 24, 2015 - UC Davis Conference Center
  Career Development Workshop

The trainee requirements for this position include: 

  1. Enrollment in the graduate-level course Drug Discovery and Development (PHA 207, 3 credits), unless trainee can show evidence of completion of an analogous course.  Students that have not taken PTX 201 or an equivalent course covering pharmacokinetics/dynamics will be offered a supplementary 8 hour module on this topic.
  2. Participation in an interactive course Problem Solving in Drug Development (each quarter);
  3. Participation in a once-a-month seminar that includes seminar attendance and active involvement in organizing the seminar series, including inviting and hosting speakers;
  4. Participation in a monthly chalk talk during which trainees discuss their research advances and challenges;
  5. Participation in an annual retreat. 
  6. Students and their faculty trainers need to commit to participate in this program for 3 years (i.e., participation in Problem Solving in Drug Development, the once-a-month seminar, monthly chalk talks, and the yearly retreats). 

The Pharmacology Training Program Predoctoral trainee positions will be available for one year periods, from July 1 to June 30. This fellowship includes a yearly stipend, a small allowance for trainee-related expenses, and partial student fees. There is the possibility of renewal for a second year if the student has made good progress during the first year..

Applications will be reviewed by the Pharmacology Training Grant Executive Committee on an annual basis. Selection is based on academic performance in graduate school, the relevance of the trainee’s proposed research and career goals to pharmacology, and the trainee’s potential to benefit from and contribute to the pharmacology training program.

Applications should be submitted by May 04. To apply (predoctoral students) or to upload letters of recommendation (Trainers), login to the Pharmacology training grant application system: http://pharmt32.ucdavis.edu/ (Accessible with Kerberos User Name and Password).

A complete application should consist of the following:

  1. The applicant’s biographical sketch or CV.
  2. A concise Research Project plan describing the proposed doctoral dissertation research, its relevance to pharmacology and the applicant’s career goals.
  3. Applicant’s graduate and undergraduate academic records.
  4. A signed statement indicating that both the trainee and the training faculty mentor agree to comply with the requirements of the pharmacology training program including regular participation in the seminars, Chalk Talks and Retreat not only during but also after the period of active funding support while the trainee is matriculated as full-time graduate students at UC Davis.
  5. Three letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a training faculty who has agreed to mentor the applicant’s thesis research.

Please have the following information on hand when completing the online application, since our system will not allow you to save information and go back to it.

Kerberos Login ID and Password; Student ID; Department; Lab Phone #; Email address; Major Professor (Trainer); Graduate Group; Year that you entered the UC Davis graduate program; Current GPA; Research Project Title; Research Project; Academic History information such as Degrees, Institutions, GPA, Years Awarded, Discipline; GRE Scores; Subject Test Scores; Demographic Info (this is voluntary); one PDF copy of your Transcripts, PDF copy of your CV, and PDF copy of the signed Commitment Letter (item 4 above).

UC Davis has a strong multidisciplinary and collaborative environment in research and training related to this Pharmacology Training Program (PTP). The 59 Training Faculty are from 22 departments in 6 colleges, where extensive collaborative interaction exist (e.g. many are members of the Pharmacology-Toxicology (PTX) Graduate Group, now in its 37th year). The PTP includes faculty trainers that smoothly span colleges, academic departments and centers.

The PTP objective is to provide predoctoral trainees with the core educational and research training required for translating pre-clinical mechanistic therapeutic discoveries into clinical trials. All of the educational components necessary for this translation PTP are provided by collaborative teaching and training. The training faculty are well-funded with ongoing disease-oriented and therapeutic discovery projects at UC Davis and some have pharmaceutical industry partners.  Their foci range from identifying novel therapeutic molecular targets, making or identifying therapeutic molecules, novel developing cell targeting strategies, immune-mediated, and stem cell pre-clinical therapeutics, to clinical trials being conducted at the UC Davis NIH-funded Clinical and Trans­lational Science Center (CTSC), NIH-designated Cancer Center, and within the UCD Health System.

The very rich and collaborative overall science environment at UC Davis, powerful and numerous state-of-the-art core facilities and centers will provide trainees with outstanding research opportunities (e.g. spanning from Chemistry’s emphasis on pharma­ceutical chemistry, imaging molecules (from single molecule to in vivo), genomics, molecular/system modeling, stem cell center, unique animal models (nationally recognized mouse center, Veterinary School and Primate Center) and CTSC.  

The disease targets of the training faculty cover a broad spectrum, but include strength in cardiovascular, neurosciences, cancer, and inflammatory diseases. All PTP trainees will develop a solid foundation in both modern physiology and pharmacology, including pharmacokinetics, pharmaco­dynamics, pharmaco­toxicology, drug meta­bolism, drug discovery and translation, biostatistics and responsible conduct of research. The PTP also provides training in skills that promote professional development. Previous trainees of the training faculty have had highly successful careers in both academia and industry. This PTP will provide an exciting training opportunity for motivated students and fellows in translational pre-clinical therapeutics.

Professional Development and Publications Links for Graduate Students