Understanding how to treat diseases of the brain and nervous system, like als, alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and pain, requires more than just research, discoveries, and development in one scientific discipline, but rather a multidisciplinary approach that brings together several experts across disciplines, all of whom are committed to better understanding how neuroscience works.
Colin A. Flaveny, Ph.D., and colleagues recently published a report on mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC). MEC is a life-threatening salivary gland cancer that is driven primarily by a transcriptional coactivator fusion composed of cyclic AMP-regulated transcriptional coactivator 1 (CRTC1) and mastermind-like 2 (MAML2).
Gina Yosten Awarded Grant from the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research
Gina Yosten, Ph.D., was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research in February in support of her proposal entitled, “Orphan GPCRs and the Neurobiology of Hyperphagia in Prader Willi Syndrome: Role of GPR160." The goal of Yosten's proposal is to evaluate the potential role of a molecule called cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript, or CART, in appetite regulation using a rat model of Prader-Willi Syndrome.
Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D., has accepted the position of Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, effective March 1, 2021. Dr. Salvemini also holds the William Beaumont Professor and Chair. Dr. Salvemini received her Ph.D. from London University. She completed her postdoctoral study at The William Harvey Research Institute at Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College and in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology at Monsanto Corporate Research.
Thomas C. Westfall, Ph.D., former William Beaumont Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology (1979-1990) as well as the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology (1990-2013) at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, recently published a book, entitled: "The History of Pharmacology and Physiology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine."
Earlier this month, Dr. John K. Walker, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology Science at the SLU School of Medicine, and colleagues from the University of Oklahoma, had their review titled "Multidrug Efflux Pumps and the Two-Faced Janus of Substrates and Inhibitors" published in Accounts of Chemical Research. The publication is a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal from the American Chemical Society. Additionally, Dr. Walker was recently elected to the rank of National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Senior Member by the 2021 NAI Senior Member Advisory Committee and Board of Directors.
After a lengthy international search the Publications Committee and Executive Council of the American Physiological Society have chosen Dr. Gina L.C. Yosten, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology at the SLU School of Medicine, to be the next Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Physiology (Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology).
Researcher Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and physiology at Saint Louis University, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for her contributions toward understanding and finding better treatments for pain. Fellows of the NAI are academic inventors who have made a significant difference in the quality of life in society.
Facing an urgent need for safer and more effective therapies for those suffering from debilitating pain in the midst of an opioid crisis, Saint Louis University researchers are on a mission to find a non-narcotic off-switch for pain.
In a paper published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, Saint Louis University researchers report that a new drug reduces fibrosis (scarring) and prevents loss of muscle function in an animal model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), providing a promising approach in designing new medications for those suffering from DMD.
Recent Pharmacology and Physiology Grants
Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D. was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse grant for research into the role of peroxynitrite in morphine hyperalgesia and tolerance.
Opioid drugs such as morphine are the most effective analgesics for treating acute and severe chronic pain. Their pain-relieving action, however, is often diminished during chronic administration, necessitating dose escalation that reduces quality of life for the patient.
Salvemini’s work will help elucidate the mechanisms and pathways in which the toxic by-product of superoxide and nitric oxide, peroxynitrite, negatively impacts opioid-induced analgesia. The outcome of this research will provide a novel mechanistic rationale for development of potent peroxynitrite-targeted therapies to maintain adequate pain relief during repetitive dosing for chronic pain, without engendering tolerance or unacceptable side-effects, thus addressing a large unmet medical need with major socioeconomic consequences.
Recent Honors and Awards
Willis K. Samson Ph.D., D.Sc., has been elected by the membership of the American Physiological Society to serve on its governing council and to serve as editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Physiology.