Research

Advancing the science of human pharmacology and therapeutics through translational research

Faculty in the Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology conduct clinical and translational research. This cross-disciplinary paradigm translates basic scientific discoveries into safe and effective therapeutic uses by providers and patients, through laboratory experiments and clinical studies. Clinical data can also prompt new questions and investigations, leading back to the bench and beginning a new cycle of translational research.

Research conducted by department faculty can focus on a range of topics, diseases/conditions, and investigational methods. Some current and recent projects are highlighted here:

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease

HDL Mimetic Peptide Mediated Enhancement of Neurovascular Function to Mitigate Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy and Alzheimer's Disease

The primary goal of this project is to elucidate the mechanisms by which HDL mimetic peptides modulate the function of blood-brain barrier and trafficking of amyloid-β in transgenic mouse models of cerebral amyloid angiopathy and Alzheimer’s disease.

PI: Ling Li, PhD
Funding: NIH, National Institute on Aging

Dysregulation of Protein Prenylation in the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease

The main objective is to unravel the mechanistic relationship between dynamics of protein prenylation and the development of Alzheimer’s disease in mouse models and humans.

PI: Ling Li, PhD (contact) and Mark Distefano, PhD
Funding: NIH, National Institute on Aging

Testing a Unique HDL Mimetic Peptide to Reverse ApoE4 Lipidation Deficiency and Alzheimer's Neuropathology

This project investigates the potential of a clinically tested HDL-mimetic peptide to enhance apoE lipidation in human apoE4 vs. apoE3 mice with or without amyloid pathology.

PI: Ling Li, PhD
Funding: NIH, National Institute on Aging

Community Health and Clinical Care

Community Health and Clinical Care

Treatment of Acute Pain: An Evidence Map

Co-PI: Shellina Scheiner
Funding: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

A Community Pharmacy Coordinated Program to Enhance Control of High Blood Pressure and Diabetes in a Suburban Minnesota Community

PI: Jeannine M. Conway
Funding:  Centers for Disease Control/MN Department of Health

Creating a 21st Century Precision Medicine Intensive Care Unit

Co-I: Pamala A. Jacobson
Funding:  College of Pharmacy

Reducing Health Disparities through Precision Medicine

Co-PI: Pamala A. Jacobson
Funding:  University Grand Challenge

A Path to Identifying Effective Treatments for Hmong Adults with Gout-Related Comorbidities

Co-PI: Robert Straka
Funding:  Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute

Drug Dependence

Drug Dependence

Vaccines for Prescription Opioid and Heroin Abuse

PI:  Angela K. Birnbaum (Co-PI)
Funding: Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation/NIH

Use of Medicinal Nicotine for Preventing Cue-Induced Craving and Withdrawal Symptoms

PI: Michael Kotlyar
Funding: Clearway MN

Use of Medicinal Nicotine for Preventing Cue-Induced Craving and Withdrawal Symptoms

About the project:
This study tests whether using nicotine lozenges prior to exposure to smoking cues attenuates the increase in craving and withdrawal symptoms that occur during cue presentation. Data from the study should determine if instructions to smokers regarding how to properly use nicotine lozenges should be modified from those currently used.

PI: Michael Kotlyar, PharmD
Funding: 2012 Global Research Award for Nicotine Dependence (GRAND), sponsored by Pfizer

Smoker Response to Banning of Menthol-Flavored Cigarettes

About the project:
This study investigates the impact of eliminating menthol cigarettes on smoking behavior, on motivation to quit smoking, and on biomarkers of tobacco-related carcinogen exposure in African-American menthol smokers.

PI: Michael Kotlyar, PharmD
Co-investigators: Dorothy Hatsukami, PhD; Kola Okuyemi, M.D., M.P.H.
Funding: ClearWay Minnesota

Medicinal Nicotine for Preventing Stress-Induced Craving and Withdrawal Symptoms

About the project:
By measuring craving and withdrawal symptoms prior and subsequent to a stress task, this laboratory study will identify the optimal time-frame (relative to the stressor) during which a nicotine lozenge should be used. Data from this study could be used to assess if counseling smokers to use nicotine lozenge in anticipation of a smoking trigger results in higher cessation rates than the current practice of counseling smokers to use these products when they need them (i.e. after symptoms of craving or withdrawal have already occurred). Ultimately this line of research should lead to more effective use of medicinal nicotine and higher smoking cessation success rates.

PI: Michael Kotlyar
Funding: NIH / National Institute on Drug Abuse

Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases

Pharmacology of Antiretrovirals in Anatomical Brain Tissue among Persons with Chronic HIV Infection

Co-PI: Melanie Nicol
Funding: NIH, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Evaluating Antiretroviral Pharmacology in the Female Genital Tract to Optimize HIV Prevention

PI: Melanie Nicol
Funding: NIH,  National Institute of for Allergies and Infectious Diseases

Pharmacogenomics

Pharmacogenomics

Pharmacogenomics and Pharmacokinetics of Lamotrigine in Early Pregnancy

PI: Angela K. Birnbaum (Co-PI)
Funding: Epilepsy Foundation of America, Inc.

Pharmacogenetics and Drug Interactions

PI: Richard C. Brundage
Funding: NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Pharmacogenomics of Transplantation

PI: Pamala A. Jacobson
Funding:  NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Microbiome and Immunesuppressants in Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

PI: Pamala A. Jacobson
Funding:  Masonic Cancer Center Chainbreaker Award

Pharmacogenomics of Once Daily Tacrolimus

PI: Pamala A. Jacobson
Funding:  Industry

Pharmacogenomics of Cyclophosphamide

PI: Pamala A. Jacobson
Funding:  Internal Funding

Pharmacogenomics in Minnesota Native Americans

Co-PI: Pamala A. Jacobson
Funding:  University Grand Challenge

Genomics of Kidney Transplantation – Genomics Core

PI: William S. Oetting
Funding:  NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Pharmacometrics/ Pharmacokinetic modeling

Pharmacometrics/ Pharmacokinetic modeling

Novel Targeted Chemo/Immunotherapy Approach for Localized and Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Co-I: Mark N. Kirstein
Funding: NIH National Cancer Institute

Innovative Drug Discovery Pipeline for Preclinical Development of Novel Drugs

Co-I: Mark N. Kirstein
Funding: Children's Tumor Foundation/Synodos

Cancer Center Support Grant

Co-I:  Mark N. Kirstein
Funding:  NIH National Cancer Institute

Maternal Outcomes and Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs – Pharmacokinetics Laboratory Core

PI: Angela K. Birnbaum
Funds: Epilepsy Foundation of America, Inc.

Pharmacogenetics and Drug Interactions

PI: Richard C. Brundage
Funding:  NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Neuropharmacology

Neuropharmacology

Characterizing and Predicting Drug Effects on Cognition

About the project:
The study will examine the relationship among exposure to TPM (a second-generation, broad-spectrum antiepileptic drug) as measured by plasma drug levels, its neurophysiological effects, and consequent effect on the cognitive processes observable in everyday language. The long-term goal of the project is to enhance clinical strategies and inform drug development in order to maximize the benefits of individual medication therapy while minimizing adverse cognitive/language-related side effects.

PI: Susan Marino, PhD
Co-investigators: Angela Birnbaum, PhD; Ilo Leppik, M.D.; Serguei Pakhomov, PhD, M.A., M.S.
Funding: NIH / National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Rare Diseases

Rare Diseases

Use of Antioxidant or Anti-inflammatory Medications to Mitigate Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Type 1 Gaucher Disease (GD1)

PI: Reena Kartha
Funding: Pfizer

Seizure Disorders

Seizure Disorders

Maternal Outcomes and Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs – Pharmacokinetics Laboratory Core

PI: Angela K. Birnbaum
Funding: NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Maternal Outcomes and Neurodevelopmental Effects of Anti-Epileptic Drugs (Pharmacokinetics Core)

About the project:
Part of a 19-site national study exploring drug exposure in women with epilepsy and their children. The goal is to study several populations of women with and without epilepsy in order to compare the effect of antiepileptic drug exposure on the woman and child during pregnancy. Dr. Angela Birnbaum’s research team is performing the pharmacokinetic analyses for this project.

PIs: Kimford J. Meador, M.D.; Page B. Pennell, M.D.; Nancy Browning, PhD (EMMES)
PI of Pharmacokinetics Core: Angela Birnbaum, PhD
Co-investigators of Pharmacokinetics Core: Rory Remmel, PhD; Richard C. Brundage, PhD, PharmD
Funding: NIH / National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Identifying New Therapies for Infantile Spasms

About the project:
Infantile spasms are epileptic seizures in infants which often lead to emergence of other types of seizures, cognitive deficits, and neurodevelopmental disabilities. This project will evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of drug therapies in mouse models of infantile spasms, in order to identify treatments that achieve rapid and sustained suppression of spasms and determine whether these are effective and safe in infantile spasms of various pathologies. The goal of this project is to identify new treatments for infantile spasms that have rapid onset and stop spasms early with anti-epileptic and disease-modifying effects that persist through adulthood.

PIs: Aristea Galanopoulou, M.D., PhD; Rodney Scott, M.D.; Gregory Holmes, M.D.; James Cloyd, PharmD
Co-investigators: Lisa Coles, PhD; Krista Johnson, ECP graduate student
Funding: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy; Department of Defense

Facilities

The Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology (ECP) is located within one of the largest academic health centers in the United States, with nationally recognized programs in public health, medicine, nursing, dentistry, and veterinary medicine. Major campus research facilities include a Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the Biomedical Genomics Center, and the Masonic Cancer Center. In addition, numerous affiliated health care systems with exceptional research and educational programs partner with the COP. The Twin Cities also has a large number of cutting-edge biomedical companies eager to collaborate with the academic community.

Our regular faculty and staff are located in four buildings within the University of Minnesota's Academic Health Center on the Twin Cities campus:

  • Weaver-Densford Hall
  • McGuire Translational Research Facility
  • 717 Delaware
  • Phillips-Wangensteen Building

Several ECP faculty also work at clinical sites around the Twin Cities, directing experiential clinical residencies of fourth-year students in the College's PharmD program. These include North Memorial Medical Center and University of Minnesota Medical Center.