Training Program in Pharmacology: From Bench to Bedside

This Program broadens the research perspectives and skills of trainees interested in pharmacological research. It leverages the multidisciplinary biomedical research environment at UC Davis with its highly successful programs in drug development. One goal is to provide trainees with a detailed “inside look” at and understanding of drug development from target identification into clinic. The second goal is to provide students from PhD programs outside the Pharmacology PhD program training in the core concepts of Pharmacology including Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics. The Program fosters interactions among investigators and predoctoral fellows from different departments and PhD programs that share an interest in pharmacological sciences. The Program increases understanding of and interest in the concepts, challenges, and opportunities in pharmacological research and therapeutics. It fosters 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 are in their first year of a graduate program listed below and are working on a thesis project related to pharmacology.

Other graduate groups can be considered on a case by case basis. The student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and be in good academic standing. The Training Program is supported by the NIH T32 GM099608 grant and internal funds at UC Davis.

Program Statistics

Pre- PhD degree Trainees
Total trainees 2012-2017 25
Currently in program 10
Graduated 8
Still in graduate school 16
Time to degree 5 years
Post graduation  
Academic Postdocs 6
Industry 2


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

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

School of Medicine

*Bers, Donald M. Pharmacol
Bossuyt, Julie   Pharmacol
Carraway, Kermit   Biochem, Molec Med
Chen-Izu, Ye   Pharmacol
Chiamvimonvat, Nipavan   Intern Med
Clancy, Colleen E.   Pharmacol
Christiansen, Blaine   Orthopedic Surgery
Cortopassi, Gino   Molec Biosci
Diaz, Elva   Pharmacol
Gelli, Angie   Pharmacol
Ghosh, Paramita M.   Biochem, Molec Med
*Gorin, Fredric   Neurol also SOVM)
Gray, John   Neurol, Cntr for Neurosci
*Hell, Johannes W.   Pharmacol
Heyer, Wolf-Dietrich   Microbio & Mol Gen
*Lam, Kit   Biochem, Molec Med
Martha O’Donnell   Physiol
*Navedo, Manuel   Pharmacology
Noctor, Stephen   Psychiatry
Nolta, Jan   Inst Reg Cures
Pinkerton, Kent E.   Pediatrics
Ripplinger, Crystal M   Pharmacol
*Rogawski, Mike   Neurol
Sack, Jon   Physio & Membr Bio
Santana, Fernando   Physio & Membr Bio
Segal, David J.   Biochem, Molec Med
Tarantal, Alice   Pediatrics
Tian, Lin   Biochem, Molec Med
Trainor, Brian C.   Psychol
*Wulff, Heike   Pharmacol
Xiang, Kevin   Pharmacol
Yu, Aiming   Biochem, Molec Med
Zheng, Jie   Physiol


School of Veterinary Medicine

Angelastro, James   Molec Biosci
Chen, Xinbin   Surg/Radiol
Griffiths, Leigh   Vet Med-Epidem
Havel, Peter J.   Molec Biosci
Henderson, Paul   InteMed-Hemat/Oncol
Kynch, Heather   Molec Biosci
*Lein, Pamela J.   Molec Biosci
*Pessah, Isaac N.   Molec Biosci
Raybould, Helen   Anat-Physiol
Van Winkle, Laura   Anat-Physiol


College of Engineering

Ferrara, Kathy   BME
Lewis, Jamal   BME
Revzin, Alexander   BME
Simon, Scott   BME


College of Letters and Sciences

Ames, James   Chem


College of Agric & Environ Sci

Hammock, Bruce   Entomol


College of Biological Sciences

Bodine, Sue C.   Neur/Physiol
Goldman, Mark S.   Neur/Physiol

School of Medicine

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


School of Veterinary Medicine

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

Current Trainees
Front row, left to right: Sami O’Dwyer, Sam Tucci, Maria Prada, Sam Francis Stuart, Anastasia Berg
Back row, left to right: Sean Kodani, Peter Deng, Joe Jilek, Leif Anderson, Brandon Pressly, Glyn Noguchi

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


Anastasia Berg

PhD, Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Year entered 2014, Projected 2019

Research Project Title: “Targeting apoptosis-resistant breast cancer stem cells with an amiloride derivative”

Trainer: Kermit Carraway


Peter Deng

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

Research Project Title: “Nanoparticle delivery of TALEs in a transgenic mouse model of Huntington’s disease”

Trainer: David Segal


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


Joseph Jilek

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2014, Projected 2015

Research Project Title: “Harnessing microRNA for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Therapy: Elucidating Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Novel Bioengineered miRNA Prodrugs”

Trainer: Aiming Yu


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


Glyn Noguchi

PhD, Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Year entered 2015, Projected 2020

Research Project Title: “Evaluating the pancreatic delta cell as a diabetic control center”

Trainer: Mark Huising


Samantha O’Dwyer

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2015, Year Projected 2020

Research Project Title: “The physiological implications of BIN1 clustering L-type CaV1.2 channels in vascular smooth muscle”

Trainer: Luis Santana


Brandon Pressly

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2015, Year Projected 2020

Research Project Title: “Design of a K2P1 Channel Inhibitor for Hypokalemia-associated Arrhythmia”

Trainer: Heike Wulff


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

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.

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, Graduated Winter 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


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


Nicole De Jesus

PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Year entered 2010, Graduated Fall 2015

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


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


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


Sucheta Mukherjee

PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Year entered 2009, Graduated Fall 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


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


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


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


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 20, 2016 - Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center

Trainees will participate in the following courses and activities:

  1. Students that have not taken PTX 201 or an equivalent basic graduate level pharmacology course covering pharmacokinetics/dynamics will be offered custom-tailored four two-hour modules on this topic;
  2. 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;
  3. Participation in the interactive course Problem Solving in Pharmacology (PHA205, 1 credit; each Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarter for two years);
  4. Attendance of the monthly seminar series Frontiers in Pharmacology and the monthly PTX Seminars series;
  5. Participation in a monthly chalk talk during which trainees discuss their research advances and challenges;
  6. Participation in two clinical case study discussions (each summer quarter);
  7. Participation in one luncheon meeting in Winter and two meetings in Summer to discuss T32-related issues and to continue training in Responsible Conduct in Research;
  8. Participation in the annual retreat;
  9. Students that have not taken the general UC Davis Responsible Conduct in Research or an equivalent course when admitted to the program must do so within their first year in this Training Program. 

Students and their faculty trainers need to commit to participate in this program for 2 years (including 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. The appointment will be renewed for a second year if the student has made good progress during the first year and if sufficient funds are available.

Applications will be reviewed on an annual basis by a committee appointed by the Program Director. The committee typically consists of members of the Pharmacology Training Grant Executive Committee. Selection is based on academic performance in undergraduate and graduate school, GRE scores, 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 April 24 (Monday) at 12pm. To apply (predoctoral students) or to upload letters of recommendation (Trainers), login to the Pharmacology training grant application system: (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.

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