Creighton INBRE Mentors-Pharmacology

Peter W. Abel, Ph.D.
Professor
E-mail: pabel@creighton.edu

Research Interests:  Research in my laboratory focuses on understanding the actions of G protein-coupled receptors including adrenergic receptors and neuropeptide receptors. Current projects focus on α1-adrenergic receptor subtypes, α2-adrenergic receptor subtypes and the calcitonin gene related peptide receptor family. We are interested in identifying and characterizing receptor subtypes to aid in the design and testing of agonist and antagonist drugs that act at these receptors. The role of the sympathetic nervous system and the immune system in the regulation of receptor functions is also under study.

For more information on Dr. Abel:  Web Site 

Charles Bockman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
E-mail: cbockman@creighton.edu

Research Interests:  The focus of the research in my laboratory is the study of receptors and their signal transduction pathways coupling to physiologic and therapeutic responses.  Specifically my research is to characterize the role of alpha-1 adrenergic receptors in regulating fluid secretion in the parotid gland. Alpha-1 adrenergic receptors are cell membrane-spanning proteins that interact with the neurotransmitter norepinephrine to mediate the action of the sympathetic nervous system in causing salivation.  The patch-clamp technique and other biochemical approaches are used to study the mechanisms coupling alpha-1 adrenergic receptors to secretion in parotid acinar cells.

For more information on Dr. Bockman:  Web Site

Shashank Dravid, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
E-mail: ShashankDravid@creighton.edu

Research Interests:  Glutamate, one of the fundamental amino acid building blocks of proteins, is also a major excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS).  Neurons synthesize and package glutamate into presynaptic vesicles for release into the postsynaptic cleft where it binds to receptor proteins. Glutamate receptors are encoded by 18 genes, and are subdivided into four major families on the basis of pharmacology and sequence homology.  Our laboratory focuses on studying the members of this glutamate receptor family with regards to how they function as single molecule machines and also in understanding their functional role in the CNS.  We utilize a range of electrophysiological, calcium imaging and molecular biology techniques to investigate our aims.   

For more information on Dr. Dravid: Website

Janee Gelineau-vanWaes, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Associate Professor
E-mail: JaneeVanwaes@creighton.edu

Research Interests:  Birth defects are an important problem.  Our lab is interested in how to prevent them.  One problem we are interested in is how low levels of folic acid in pregnant women are associated with the development of birth defects in the fetus.  We are looking at how disruption of  of folic acid metabolism in mice can disrupt the development of the heart and how folic acid supplement of the mothers can help.  We are also looking at how toxins found in mold growing on corn can cause birth defects after consumption by the mother.

For more information on Dr. vanWaes: Website

Thomas F. Murray, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
E-mail: tfmurray@creighton.edu

Research Interests:  Natural products, especially neurotoxins, play prominent roles as tools in pharmacology and cell biology due to their potent and selective targeting of specific biochemical pathways and receptors. Marine cyanobacteria and algae are rich in structurally-diverse and biologically-active natural products. We are engaged in an ongoing collaborative program with a natural products chemist (Dr. Bill Gerwick at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography) to characterize biologically-insightful neurotoxins. The long-range goals of this project are the identification of new probes for pharmacology and cell biology, and the development of marine neuroactive substances as potential lead compounds for drug discovery. We have recently described the ability of sodium channel gating modifiers to enhance neuronal growth. This finding has potential implications for novel therapeutic approaches in the treatment of stroke, traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disease.
These studies involve the assessment of natural product influence on neuronal Ca2+ and Na+ dynamics, membrane potential, cell signaling pathways and neuronal growth.

For more information on Dr. Murray: Website

Margaret Scofield, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
E-mail: mscof@creighton.edu

Research Interests:  The goal of our laboratory is to understand how receptors are regulated at a transcriptional level in a tissue specific manner.  This information may provide important knowledge for the pharmacological development of drugs.  Specific areas of research include the distribution of alpha1-adrenergic receptors in tissues; the functional role of alternative splicing in the alpha1-adrenergic receptor gene; and the regulatory elements in the human glycoprotein hormone alpha-subunit gene and the human calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor gene.

For more information on Dr. Schofield: Web Site

Yaping Tu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
E-mail: yapingtu@creighton.edu

Research Interests:  My research focuses on the regulation of the interaction among G protein coupled receptor (GPCR), G proteins and RGS (Regulators of G Protein Signaling) proteins in cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer. GPCR/G protein-mediated signaling controls many cellular processes. G proteins stimulate intracellular signaling proteins (effectors) when they bind GTP in response to receptor. RGS proteins can act as GTPase-Activating Proteins (GAPs) and may accelerate the deactivation of G proteins by 1000-fold. It is important to understand how RGS proteins can act as tightly regulated modulators and integrators of multiple GPCR/G protein signaling pathways. This elucidation will not only help us understand the roles RGS proteins play in physiology and diseases, but has the potential to provide crucial information for RGS-target drug development.

For more information on Dr. Tu: Web Site

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