Chairman's Message

Howard E. Gendelman, M.D.The Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience has grown in number and stature and is truly interdisciplinary. We occupy nearly 66K square feet of modern or newly renovated laboratory space and are among the most well equipped research and educational facilities in its field worldwide. Our mission remains to:

  • Educate the next generation of health care providers
  • Perform on the cutting edge of science
  • Serve the people of our state and those worldwide

The strategic planning of the University of Nebraska Medical Center is reflected in the joining of experimental neurosciences and pharmacology. Concerted efforts have clearly bridged neurosciences and multiple pharmacologic and pharmaceutical discoveries. Growth in genomic, proteomic, metabolomic, nanomedicine and bioimaging has led to new discoveries in improving diagnostics and therapeutics in neurodegenerative diseases.

Unraveling disease mechanisms for degenerative disorders remains a mainstay of departmental activities. Immunotherapies and platforms for testing drugs in animal models of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, depression, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, neurological consequences for diabetes, and HIV-1 associated neurocognitive disorders abound in our laboratories. Core facilities and centers of technology excellence abound in the department with principal collaborators in confocal imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, and computed tomography/SPECT.

While discussions of the individual faculty research efforts are contained within the web site, the best place to read about the research is in the pages of the medical literature. In the last five years, our faculty published over 200 primary papers, the textbook Neuroimmune Pharmacology , and on PubMed the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology (2013 impact factor 3.802). Our papers have appeared in Blood, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), The Journal of Clinical Investigation, The Journal of Immunology, Molecular Pharmacology, The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Journal of Virology, The American Journal of Pathology, and others; and over 190 reports in xPharm.

The department's research portfolio includes grants from a wide range of agencies including the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Drug Abuse and a wide group of pharmaceutical companies. The funding for departmental research in 2009 reached over 12 million dollars.

Gratifying aspects of our own faculty's growth is their individual successes in peer-reviewed support for their research and their national stature. The department's faculty continues to grow with exceptional hires and young faculty who thrive and develop.

target="_self">Instruction of medical, pharmacy, graduate, nursing and allied health science students (physician assistants, physical therapists, radiation sciences, and clinical perfusionists) has continually generated high accolades from faculty peers and students. Placement of Ph.D. recipients into research and clinical programs at Washington University in St. Louis, Cornell University Medical Center, Duke University, Emory University, University of Arizona, and University of Michigan speak to the accomplishments of the graduate students in the department.

The textbook Neuroimmune Pharmacology (eds. Tsuneya Ikezu and Howard E. Gendelman, Springer US 2007)  and the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology brings together three fields - neuroscience, immunology and pharmacology. These were developed to help define for students and researchers the new academic field.

The department works with UNeMED, the marketing and licensing arm for UNMC, to commercialize new technology developed in the department.  Along with UNeMED, a biotechnology company Neuropel Pharma, Inc. was developed to bring some of our scientific discoveries to the patient bedside.

So where may we go next?

Medical practice relies to an even greater extent on basic research and on novel therapeutic modalities: from stem cells to nanotechnologies. Ongoing research initiatives in stem cells, neuroprotective vaccines and drug delivery systems have expanded rapidly. Many of our faculties have secondary appointments in the Center for Drug Discovery and Nanotechnology and Nebraska Center for Virology within the University of Nebraska.

The development of interdisciplinary teams has replaced single investigator-initiated research efforts within our group and worldwide. The department of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience has already met this challenge. Seeking a balance between purely scientific endeavors for the pursuit of new knowledge and research directed at understanding specific diseases is at the cornerstone of our research.

In view of what has already been done and what the future holds, we are poised to meet our challenges. All together, we have an incredible department and its future continues without bounds. With best wishes and welcome to our department.

Sincerely yours,
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Howard E. Gendelman, M.D.

Margaret R. Larson Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Chairman, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience
Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology

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