Department Overview

Carmen Dessauer

Carmen Dessauer, Chair

The Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology (IBP) is interested in the cell biology, physiology and pharmacology of cell regulation and communication, relevant for numerous diseases. Our major research themes include the molecular mechanisms and spatiotemporal dynamics of membrane signaling, intracellular and metabolic signaling, the biology and physiology of cell-cell interactions, and the use of computational, structural and systems approaches to decipher signaling networks. These efforts are aimed at understanding how normal and abnormal cell function translates into whole animal physiology and pathophysiology, and exploring the molecular pharmacology of existing and novel therapeutics. In this context, IBP has research programs in cancer cell biology, cardiovascular biology, tissue regeneration and plasticity (especially in nerve and muscle), neuronal signaling in injury, inflammation and pain, and GI and renal physiology. Our investigators make extensive use of a wide range of genetically tractable model organisms including: mice, Drosophila, C. elegans and Aplysia; they use computational techniques, including classical and advanced molecular dynamics simulations, structural bioinformatics and novel bioinformatic approaches to interrogate gene expression data sets; as well as contemporary molecular cell biology, biochemistry and electrophysiology. IBP is home to a Nikon Center of Excellence for advanced cell-imaging that provides instrumentation and training for super-resolution, confocal, TIRF, electron, wide-field and FLIM microscopy, high content screening, as well as an IVIS system for small animal imaging. In addition there is a new departmental core for electrophysiology.

Members of the IBP faculty teach Physiology and Pharmacology to medical students in the foundations course and actively participate in 4 Graduate School programs: Biochemistry and Cell BiologyCancer BiologyNeuroscience and Therapeutics and Pharmacology. We also participate in the Center for Membrane Biology within the McGovern Medical School and in several training grants including those in Interdisciplinary Pharmacological Scientists and Computational Cancer Biology.

Carmen Dessauer, Chair