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The Department of Pharmacology is a leading center for research and training in the discipline of pharmacology, and is renowned for its strength in defining basic cellular and molecular mechanisms of signal transduction, elucidating molecular structure and function, and using computational science to translate basic knowledge into drug discovery relevant to treatment of cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases.


U.S. News & World Report 
has ranked UC San Diego's
Department of Pharmacology
in the top 5 in Best Global Universities for Pharmacology and Toxicology since 2017

Our department has consistently ranked 2nd or 3rd  amongst other Pharmacology departments in total NIH funding throughout the last decade.



Cutting-edge seminars are hosted almost every Tuesday in the UC San Diego Department of Pharmacology.  

January 19, 2021

Anton Bennett, Ph.D.

Yale University School of Medicine
“Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases in Health and Disease" 
12:00p Zoom        

Webinar Registration

January 21, 2021

Michael Karin, Ph.D.
UC San Diego
“The Fat that Feeds the Fire: Nonalcoholic Steatohepatis and Liver Immunology and Cancer” 
4:00p Zoom        

Webinar Registration

January 26, 2021

Anne Bertolotti, Ph.D.

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
“Therapeutic benefit of manipulating protein quality control systems” 
12:00p Zoom        

Webinar Registration

2020 Fall and 2021 Winter Schedules

Previous Seminars

Gordon Mills, Ph.D.
Oregon Health & Science University “Targeting adaptive responses to therapy: PARP inhibitors as a model”  
Webinar Video

Frank Bennett, Ph.D.
Ionis Pharmaceuticals
“Antisense drugs for genetic diseases”  Webinar Video 

Andrew Tobin, Ph.D.
University of Glasgow, UK
"Validating G protein coupled receptors in asthma and dementia using genetic approaches" Webinar Video

Cédric Blanpain, Ph.D.
Universite Libre de Bruelles, Belgium “Mechanisms regulating tumor transition states”  Webinar Video 

Ehud Isacoff, Ph.D.
UC Berkeley
“Optical pharmacology of dopamine receptors”
Webinar Video 

Louis Staudt, Ph.D.
Center for Cancer Research National Cancer Institute
“Treatment of aggressive lymphomas with rational drug combinations targeting essential survival pathways”
Webinar Video 

In the News

December 2020

“Antimicrobial Soap Additive Worsens Fatty Liver Disease in Mice,” features Robert Tukey, PhD, Mei-Fei Yueh, PhD, and Michael Karin, PhD

November 2020

Congratulations are in order for Morton Printz who was awarded one of two 2020 Edward A. Dickson Professorships. This award, given annually on each UC campus, honors faculty who have made exemplary post-retirement contributions.

“When the Language of Cells is Interrupted,” features Alexandra Newton, PhD, Jin Zhang, PhD, Susan Taylor, PhD, Jack Dixon, PhD, Joan Heller Brown, PhD, Paul Insel, MD, J. Silvio Gutkind, PhD, Nathan Shaner, PhD, Michael Karin, PhD, Pradipta Ghosh, MD, Samara Reck-Peterson, PhD, and Andres Leschziner, PhD.

October 2020

Congratulations to J. Silvio Gutkind, PhD who's been named Chair of the Department of Pharmacology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.  Dr. Gutkind succeeds Joan Heller Brown, PhD, who served as chair of the Department of Pharmacology for 18 years. The department originated in 1987, with founding chair Palmer Taylor, PhD.

Robert Tukey, PhD and Louise Laurent, MD, PhD awarded $5M grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to implement a program of widespread testing for COVID-19 in San Ysidro, focused on pregnant women and children.

September 2020

Congratulations to Tim Baffi, PhD, a BMS graduate student and pharmacological sciences trainee, who has been selected as the recipient of the 14th annual 2020Roland K. Robins Pharmacology Outstanding Thesis Award.

Congratulations to Chair Joan Heller Brown, PhD who was selected as a 2020 Fellow of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (FASPET), an honor bestowed on members who have demonstrated excellence via their overall contributions to pharmacology and the Society.

Congratulations to JoAnn Trejo, PhD who was selected for the 2020 ASCB Prize for Excellence in Inclusivity.

Congratulations to Tannishtha Reya, PhD who has been selected to receive the Cancer Research Institute’s 2020 Fredrick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology.

David Gonzalez, PhD is featured in "How to Spot Patients Most Likely to Die from Blood Infections" for a study published on September 3, 2020 in Cell.  



April 2019
Pharmacology faculty attend the Experimental Biology meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Pictured are (L-R) Drs. K. Brandl, P. Taylor, S. Gutkind, T. Handel, P. Insel, J. Trejo, J. Zhang, J. Heller Brown and A. Newton.

February 2019
Nobel Laureate Dr. Robert J. Lefkowitz (Duke) presents the 46th MilliporeSigma Lectureship Series at UC San Diego.
Dinner with Dr. Lefkowitz
Pictured are (L-R) Drs. J. Zhang, E. Dennis, T. Handel, P. Taylor, P. Insel, A. Newton, J. Trejo, S. Taylor, L. Brunton, J.H. Brown, R. Lefkowitz, J-P. Changeux and R. Sunahara.