Additional Faculty

Graduate Assistants

Frazier’s Lab

Casie Lindsly

Katovich’s Lab

Anandharajan Rathinasabapathy

Anand, joined the department in 2009 and the Katovich lab in 2010. Currently, Anand is investigating the mechanistic role of angiotensin (1-7) in reducing the detrimental effects of Doxorubicin in neonatal and adult rat cardiomyocytes (In vitro). In addition, Anand is exploring the possible use of adipose cell based gene therapy, in attenuating the cardiovascular disorders.

Erin Bruce

My research is focused on preventing doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy by elevating levels of the cardioprotective axis of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS).  As a potent anti-neoplastic agent, doxorubicin is used in the treatment of many cancers; however, its use can lead to cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure.  Recent studies have shown that blockade of the RAS with the use of ACE inhibitors (ACEi) and/or angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockers (ARBs) is protective against doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy.  Because blockade of this arm of the RAS leads to upregulation of the cardioprotective arm of the RAS, angiotensin type II receptors (AT2R) and the ACE2-Ang-(1-7)-Mas axis, we believe that elevation of this arm should provide similar beneficial effects as seen in RAS blockade.  We plan to test this hypothesis using recombinant adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (rAAV9) viral vector-mediated gene therapy to elevate levels of AT2R and Ang-(1-7) each in a rat model of doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy.

Keller-Wood’s Lab

Xiaodi Feng

My big project is to study how maternal cortisol influences fetal growth and development during late gestation. I have been investigating how maternal cortisol regulates fetal heart development. I specifically look at the different roles of cortisol receptors MR and GR.

Liu’s Lab

Garima Dutta

Yue Liu

I am researching on the mechanism of microglia-mediated neurodegeneration and the involvement of mitochondria in this process. Mitochondria are important cellular organelles that provide energy to eukaryotes. However, when the mitochondrial respiratory chain is inhibited, increased amounts of reactive oxygen species are generated from mitochondria to damage proteins, lipids and DNA. We hypothesize that Mn induces microglial H2O2 release by interfering with mitochondrial functions.

Heera Sharma

Haskell-Luevano’s Lab

Erica Haslach

Jay Schaub

Yunyang ” Ryan” Wang

I am interested in the research of the melanocortin signaling system’s role on regulating food intake and body weight. The hypothalamus melancortin signaling system is the center on regulating appetite as well as energy expenditure, and it is known from previous research that  insufficient signaling is linked with hyperphagic obesity in both humans and lab animals. By testing compounds activities on animal models, highly selective agonists/antagonists could be identified, which is useful for both research and drug discovery.

Peris’ Lab

James Kasper

Both the serotonin 5HT2A and 5HT2C receptors in nucleus accumbens have been implicated in mediating cocaine induced behavior.  These two receptors have opposing effects when activated but because of high sequence and structural homology, there are few selective ligands.  Our lab is testing novel compounds with agonism specific for only one receptor and measuring changes in extracellular neurotransmitter concentrations via microdialysis with online capillary electrophoresis.  The pathway of neurons involved in these changes is then investigated using specific antagonists.  This yields possible therapeutic targets and advances the literature about a key receptor family.

1st Year

Dipanwita “Deepa” Pati

At present, I am rotating in Dr. Ellis’ lab. We are looking at the expression of sodium potassium ATPase pump in tissues of mouse models of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a fatal, motor neurodegenerative disorder. The different mutation strains used in the study have high copy numbers of human SOD1 (Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase 1), an enzyme implicated in familial type of ALS.

Rajiv Tikamdas

I’m doing my first lab rotation in Dr. Katovich’s lab whose main research interest is studying the various components of renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and its effects on the cardiovascular system.


These Departmental alumni have volunteered to share their experiences as scientists since graduating from our program.

Kelly Gridley, Ph.D.
Coordinator/Asst. Professor
Biotechnology Program
Santa Fe Community College
office:(352) 395-5687
fax: (352) 395-4157

Kelly completed her Ph.D. in Pharmacodynamics in 1999 and is currently running the Biotechnology program at Santa Fe Community College.

Ming Hu, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of Michigan
1012 East Hall
530 Church Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1043

Since graduation from the PD program, Dr. Hu has been employed first as a post-doctoral fellow and recently as a Senior Research Associate to perform research on drug abuse related problems in Dr. Jill Becker’s laboratory at University of Michigan. The goal of research in Dr. Becker’s lab is to better understand the relationship between brain activity and behavior. Under this broad umbrella, Dr. Hu’s research is focused on the nigrostriatal dopamine system important for the integration of sensory and motor information. There are two major research projects in which Dr. Hu has been involved. 1) Investigating the mechanisms through which estrogen affects neural activity in striatum, as well as the behavioral consequences of estrogen-modulated striatal dopamine activity. 2) Investigating gender differences and hormonal influences on behavior in rats associated with cocaine addiction.

Euni Lee, Pharm.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy Science
School of Pharmacy
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Euni Lee has graduated from the PD program in 1996 and subsequently finished her professional program in 1998. While at the PD program, she worked with Dr. Keller-Wood on effects of steroid hormones on cardiovascular system. Soon after she graduated from UF, she made an informed decision to pursue patient-based research on drug utilization. In 2001, she completed postdoctoral fellowship training at the Center for Drug and Public Policy under the guidance of Dr. Ilene Zuckerman at the University of Maryland. Euni is currently an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Administration and a health services researcher with research interests in women’s health.

Feng Li, Ph.D.
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Since graduation from the PD program, Dr. Feng Li has been working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the laboratory of Oliver Smithies at UNC Chapel Hill. Her current research involves studying a mouse model of preeclampsia.

Robin L. Ciupidro, Ph.D.

Robin completed her Ph.D. in 2000 with Dr. William Millard studying the interaction between leptin and growth hormone in regulating body weight. She currently works as a Pharmaceutical Scientist for Xcelience, LLC in Tampa, FL.

Some of the types of testing Robin performs in the Analytical Department include method development and qualification/validation, method transfer, chromatography, release testing, stability sample analysis, dissolution testing, identification of impurities, raw material USP testing, and spectroscopy.

Some of the tests Robin performs for the Preformulation Department (part of Analytical) include purity determination, thermal analysis, vapor sorption (hygroscopicity) analysis, pKa testing, partition and distribution coefficient testing, solubility testing and solubility profiles, photostability, lot-to-lot analysis of API, drug substance characterization, excipient selection and compatibility studies, polymorph screening, particle sizing, and polarimetry.

Darren Roesch, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Georgetown University
Lab Web Site

While at the University of Florida, Darren Roesch worked in the laboratory of Dr. Maureen Keller-Wood, graudating in May 1998. He then completed postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph G. Verbalis in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Georgetown University, and worked for one year in the laboratory of Dr. Pierre Corvol at the prestigious Collège de France in Paris. Darren is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University.

Meharvan “Sonny” Singh, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience
University of North Texas HSC

After graduating from the department of Pharmacodynamics in Spring of 1994, I accepted a post-doctoral research position at Columbia University, in the department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. After three years, I was promoted to Associate Research Scientist, and three years later, was appointed to Clinical Assistant Professor (non-tenure track). During this latter period and while still at Columbia University, I obtained my first extramural source of funding, which helped me greatly in finding a tenure-track faculty position here at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas, where I currently hold the position of Assistant Professor in the department of Pharmacology & Neuroscience and also serve as the Graduate Coordinator for the department.

My laboratory is focused on two major biological questions. The first relates to the mechanisms by which the gonadal hormones, progesterone and testosterone, exert protective influences on the brain. The second, while still under the general umbrella of how hormones influence the brain, addresses the neurobiological basis of premenstrual disorders of affect, including PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder).

retired faculty

Gerald Gause

Other Faculty

Frazier’s lab

Mackenzie Hofmann, Ph.D. – Post Doc Associate

Haskell-Luevano’s lab

Anamika Singh, Ph.D – Post Doc Associate

Hua Yao, Ph.D. – Post Doc Associate

Keller-Wood’s lab

Elaine Sumners, Ph.D. – Assistant Research Scientist

Liu’s lab

Ping Zhang – Assistant Research Scientist