Investigators in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology conduct well-funded and leading-edge research in modern facilities to advance the understanding of the interactions of chemicals and drugs with living systems and to assist in the development of new therapeutics and strategies to treat disease. Researchers are using state-of-the-art approaches to study biological mechanisms that lead to potential targets for the treatment of cancer, infectious and neurological diseases and toxicological effects.

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Research faculty throughout IU School of Medicine’s academic departments post updates about their work to the research updates blog. Stay up-to-date about medical research in pediatrics.

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Infectious Disease

The rise of antimicrobial drug resistance presents a formidable challenge to the treatment of infectious disease. In conjunction with the Biology of Intracellular Pathogen (BIP) group at IU School of Medicine, the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology is working to understand the biology of microbes and host-pathogen interactions in order to discover novel drugs and drug targets. In this department, current areas of investigation focus on the parasites plasmodium (malaria) and toxoplasma (toxoplasmosis). The department’s faculty are researching how these parasites regulate gene expression and cellular signaling events that are critical in pathogenesis. Basic research is identifying new ways to interfere with these processes and have potential for future clinical applications in the treatment of these devastating diseases.

Faculty with Infectious Disease interests:

Sabrina Absalon | Gustavo Arrizabalaga (lab)| Michael Holmes | Travis Jerde | Richard Nass | William Sullivan (lab) | Chunlin Yang


Cancer Research


The discipline of pharmacology is at the forefront of cancer research. The Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology researchers at IU School of Medicine are studying how cancer develops, grows, metastasizes and becomes resistant to current pharmacological therapies. As members of the esteemed IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center at IU School of Medicine, laboratories within the department are researching the cellular signal transduction mechanisms and cell-to-cell interactions of cancer biology with a strong focus on discovering and developing novel therapeutics to be applied to cancer therapy. Strong collaborations between researchers within chemical discovery cores at IU School of Medicine and Purdue University and at IU School of Medicine clinical oncology groups leads to outstanding translational opportunities in cancer research.

Faculty with Cancer interests:

Timothy Corson (lab) | Jill Fehrenbacher (lab) | Travis Jerde | Tao Lu (lab) | Ahmad Safa | Elizabeth Yeh


Neuroscience Research


The understanding of neurological disorders and their causes is one focus of the department’s research efforts. This area of study centers on neurodegenerative disorders, such as Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, brain and peripheral nerve injury due to drugs of abuse and chemotherapeutic agents, and mechanisms underlying central and peripheral pain. The Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology applies molecular biology, neurochemistry, neurophysiology, advanced microscopy, and optogenetic approaches. The team’s basic and translational research incorporates new ways of thinking that enhance understanding about neurological disorders that will hopefully lead to the identification of novel targets for therapeutic intervention.

Faculty with Neuroscience interests:

Brady Atwood (lab) | AJ Baucum (lab) | Michelle Block (lab) | Nickolay Broustovetsky | Timothy Corson (lab) | Jill Fehrenbacher (lab) | Kathryn Fischer | Jonathan Flak (lab) | Changyong Guo | Tao Lu (lab) | Yao-Ying Ma | Richard Nass | Braulio Munoz Ramirez | Patrick Sheets (lab) | Gonzalo Viana di Prisco