Genomic and Molecular Pharmacology of Cancer
Translational research seeks to quickly "translate" discoveries made at the laboratory bench into new modes of treatment for human disease. Our faculty members are focused on translational research in the areas of cancer biology, infectious disease, cardiovascular disease, and other areas of pharmacology. Many drugs used in treatment of these diseases are derived from plants, and one major effort involves harvesting potentially useful compounds from exotic locales such as tropical coral reefs and rain forests, and then subjecting these extracts and chemical entities to extensive screening to detect whether they can fight tumors or destroy the HIV virus. Studies are undertaken to characterize their mechanism of action and identify their molecular targets or pathways within the cell. Understanding these pathways is thus central to the fields of pharmacology and toxicology, and can be used to better tailor individualized approaches for the treatment of diseases, as well as to identify optimal prophylactic therapies for specific high-risk patient populations (i.e., heavy smokers at risk for lung cancer, or women with strong family histories of breast cancer).