The department of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience has grown in number, stature and impact. We truly have now set a high bar in education, research, and mentorshipp for the field and beyond on a national and international scale. The department occupies over 40,000 square feet of modern laboratory space and is amongst the most well-equipped research and educational facilities of its kind worldwide.
Our mission remains to:
- Provide outstanding education to future generations of researchers and health care providers
- Realize impactful research discoveries that influence the health and well-being of our patients and the integrity of our field
- Sustain ourselves as role models for our students and colleagues
The joining of experimental neurosciences and pharmacology reflects the interplay between studies of disease pathobiology of the nervous system with an eye towards therapeutic interventions that lead to better treatments and inevitably disease cures. Concerted efforts have clearly bridged neurosciences with pharmaceutical discoveries define our mission. Growth in multiple interdisciplinary fields that define genomic, proteomic, metabolomic, nanomedicine, and bioimaging defines our science and the new discoveries made towards improving both diagnostics and therapeutics into inflammatory, infectious and neurodegenerative diseases.
Unraveling disease mechanisms for disorders of the nervous system remains a mainstay of departmental activities. Our laboratories focus on immunotherapies and platforms for testing drugs in animal models of HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Multiple Sclerosis and neuroinfectious and neuroinflammatory disorders and how they affect neurocognitive, psychiatric and motor function. Department core facilities and centers of technology excellence abound in the department with principal collaborators in confocal imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, and bioimaging.
While discussions of individual faculty members’ 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 300 primary papers and the textbooks Current Laboratory Methods in Neuroscience, Neuroimmune Pharmacology,The Neurology of AIDS, 3rd Edition and Humanized Mice for HIV Research. Our papers have appeared in Blood, Nature Materials, Nature Communications, Cell Reports, Science, 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, and others.
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 2017 reached over 14 million dollars and ranked in the top 5% of like departments in the nation.
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 members continue to grow with exceptional hires and young faculty who thrive and develop.
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 PhD 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; second edition 2015) and the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, Howard E. Gendelman, Editor-in-Chief, 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, the Nebraska Nanomedicine Production Plant was developed to bring some of our scientific discoveries to the patient bedside.
So where do 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 faculty members have secondary appointments in the departments of neurological sciences, anesthesiology, biochemistry, pathology and microbiology, the Center for Drug Delivery and Nanotechnology, and Nebraska Center for Virology within the University of Nebraska amongst many others.
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.
Howard E. Gendelman, MD
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