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Jill Siegfried Jill Siegfried, Ph.D., Frederick and Alice Stark Endowed Chair and Head of Pharmacology 

Pharmacology explores the mechanisms that drugs use to cause therapeutic effects. The basic principle of pharmacology is that therapeutic agents are effective because they mimic or block molecules that regulate natural processes like blood pressure, organ development, and pain perception.

Pharmacology uses knowledge from many sciences such as cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics to identify new ways to treat disease. Pharmacology also can focus on the toxic effects of chemicals and drugs as well as how individuals differ in their responses to both therapeutic and toxic agents. The interdisciplinary approach of pharmacology allows researchers to integrate different scientific perspectives in the study of how drugs act and how to improve them. Our goal is to identify new druggable targets, and in particular our department focuses on treating neurodegenerative disease, cancer, and drug addiction. We have state-of-the-art facilities to accomplish this.

Our department -- which is part of the Medical School -- is active in both laboratory research and teaching, and we have courses and research opportunities for graduate students, undergraduates, and professional students. As our knowledge of the molecular basis for disease grows, more pathways are discovered that have potential for therapeutic intervention. Drugs are essential to treat and prevent disease, and pharmacologists have growing opportunities to work in academia, industry, hospitals, and government to improve human health. We are preparing students for the biomedical careers of the future.