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Discovering and evaluating the factors that influence how therapeutic agents work

The primary focus of the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics(DPET) is the optimization of drug therapy through the discovery and evaluation of key factors that influence how therapeutic agents work in patients. Our faculty advance clinical practice by leading innovative clinical and translational research and by educating and training clinical scientists and current practitioners.

DPET_graphicOur faculty lead research programs that aim to translate experimental and clinical pharmacology discoveries into precision medicine and apply these discoveries to improve patient care. DPET is focused on collaborative clinical and translational research projects, with a particular emphasis on developing world-class research programs in quantitative pharmacology, pharmacogenomics and precision medicine, drug safety, and experimental therapeutics. DPET faculty also lead innovative educational research projects focused on the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Our graduate and postdoctoral training programs develop scientists who excel at conducting innovative and clinically relevant translational research that integrates biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences through use of laboratory-based and computational modeling approaches that leverage preclinical and clinical investigations.

Our research projects span several therapeutic areas:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Oncology/hematology
  • Special populations
  • Cardiology
  • Neurology
  • Hepatology/gastroenterology/transplant
  • Pulmonology

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Bob Blouin

Dr. Blouin’s academic interests are in the areas of leadership, pharmacokinetics, and the effect of disease and altered physiologic states on the disposition of drugs.

Kim Brouwer

Kim Brouwer

Dr. Brouwer directs an NIH-funded research program focused on hepatobiliary drug disposition and development and refinement of in vitro model systems to predict in vivo hepatobiliary disposition, drug interactions, and hepatotoxicity.

Yanguang Cao

Dr. Cao’s group is interested in developing system pharmacology platforms (models) integrating PK/PD to facilitate drug development and optimize therapeutics for cancers and autoimmune diseases.

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Rachel Church

Dr. Church has expertise in identifying and characterizing novel translational biomarkers of drug-induced liver injury and developing innovative methodologies to maximize the utility of traditional biomarkers.

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Amber Cipriani

Dr. Cipriani’s appointment is cofunded by UNC Hospitals, where she serves as a clinical oncology specialist in thoracic oncology.

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Amanda Corbett

Dr. Corbett’s expertise are in HIV, antiviral, and opportunistic infection clinical pharmacy and ethnopharmacology.

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Mackenzie Cottrell

Dr. Cottrell’s research focuses on describing pharmacokinetic
/pharmacodynamic relationships in mucosal tissues for antiretrovirals being used in HIV prevention and cure interventions.

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Daniel Crona

Dr. Crona’s translational research program focuses on how genetic variations can lead to differences in the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of therapeutic treatments used in oncology, and how inter-individual differences in clinical pharmacology measures can affect survival and drug toxicity phenotypes.

Julie Dumond

Dr. Dumond is currently conducting a clinical study in aging, HIV-infected subjects to explore the effects of cellular aging and frailty on antiretroviral toxicity and efficacy.

photo Bob Dupuis

Bob Dupuis

Dr. Dupuis has expertise in clinical pharmacology, drug metabolism, adverse effects, outcomes, and enhancement of care in solid organ transplantation.

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Amber Frick

Dr. Frick’s responsibilities at the School are to develop an expertise in the implementation and assessment of new approaches to and best practices in teaching while also taking part in collaborative teaching activities.

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Daniel Gonzalez

Dr. Gonzalez’s research interests include pediatric clinical pharmacology and the application of mathematical modeling and simulation techniques to characterize the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs, guide dosage selection, and improve drug safety in children.

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Erin Heinzen

Dr. Heinzen focuses on the genetic and genomic basis of epilepsy disorders, including analyses of the role of germline mutations, somatic mutations, and how regulation of the cellular transcriptome influences the risk and presentation of seizures.

Klarissa_Jackson

Klarissa Jackson

Dr. Jackson’s research interests focus on drug metabolism and toxicology to better understand the mechanisms and risk factors of adverse drug reactions and improve drug safety.

Angela_Kashuba

Angela Kashuba

Dr. Kashuba’s research focuses on the clinical pharmacology of drugs used in the treatment, prevention, and cure of HIV infection.

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Craig Lee

Dr. Lee’s research focuses on cytochrome P450 metabolism, cardiovascular experimental therapeutics, and precision medicine/pharmacogenomics.

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Benyam Muluneh

Dr. Muluneh’s research interests include optimization of pharmacotherapy in leukemias through the precision dosing initiative and a multidimensional approach to understanding and improving adherence to oral oncolytics.

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Herb Patterson

Dr. Patterson’s clinical research focuses on drugs used in heart failure.

Adam Persky

Dr. Persky’s research focuses on translating the science of learning and memory into practical application in the classroom and experiential settings.

Gauri Rao

Dr. Rao’s principal research interests surround quantitative systems pharmacology, and she is working to understand the processes of infectious diseases.

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Jo Ellen Rodgers

Dr. Rodgers’s primary research interest is in the care of heart failure patients.

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Elias Rosen

Dr. Rosen’s research focuses on the development of methods to measure intracellular distribution of therapeutics and their metabolites in a variety of biological matrices using mass spectrometry imaging.

deborah_sturpe

Deborah Sturpe

Dr. Sturpe’s research focuses on the scholarship of teaching and learning. In particular, she has interest in curricular development and competency-based assessment.

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Jacqueline B. Tiley

Dr. Tiley’s research interest is on disease- and drug-mediated alterations in hepatic and placental transport proteins and its impact on drug disposition and toxicity.

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Paul Watkins

Dr. Watkins focuses on developing innovative approaches to investigate the underlying mechanisms of rare or “idiosyncratic” toxicities that are often not discovered until late in clinical development.

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Dennis Williams

Dr. Williams is an associate professor in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics.

picture of Tim Wiltshire

Tim Wiltshire

Dr. Wilshire’s research focuses on taking the pharmacogenetic knowledge we already have and develop approaches for that information to be used effectively in clinical practice.

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William Zamboni

Dr. Zamboni’s research interests focus on the application of pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and pharmacogenetic principles in the optimization of the chemotherapeutic treatment of cancer.

A primary focus of DPET is the optimization of drug therapy and precision medicine. Given the expertise contained within DPET, we have built a precision dosing initiative into our strategic plan. This initiative is based on the premise that standard doses of many drugs evaluated in Phase III studies do not meet the needs of all patients, and lead to poor response or unnecessary side effects. We strive to improve patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs by transforming how medication dosing is selected and optimized at the time of prescribing. This premise is not new – therapeutic drug monitoring that targets patient variability has been used for decades for certain drugs, and pharmacists are adept at providing this monitoring. However, with the widespread implementation of the electronic medical record, and the expansion of pharmacometrics into modeling appropriate dosing for special populations, we believe initial dosing strategies could be better optimized at the time the prescription is written.

PrecisionDosingCertain drug classes, such as anticoagulants, antiinfectives, anticancer agents, and opioids are ideal candidates for individualized dosing due to their common use in high-risk patient populations, narrow therapeutic window, and substantial variability in response between patients.

DPET has established a multidisciplinary research network that converges expertise in clinical and quantitative pharmacology, data science, medicine, implementation science, and innovative clinical practice models to transform how medication dosing is optimized in individual patients. This involve Phase IV studies in real world patient populations, validating pharmacometric models and the appropriate covariates in these diverse populations, incorporating these models into the electronic medical record, studying optimal approaches for implementing the dosing tools, and evaluating the clinical and financial impact of early dose optimization.

Researchers in DPET occupy approximately 75,000 square feet of laboratory space in Genetic Medicine Building and Kerr Hall on the health sciences campus at UNC Chapel Hill.  

These research facilities are adjacent to the UNC School of Medicine, UNC School of Nursing, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC Adams School of Dentistry, and UNC Health Medical Center, allowing DPET researchers to collaborate closely with colleagues across disciplines and giving DPET faculty and trainees a strong presence in the heart of Carolina’s health sciences campus.

The labs in Genetic Medicine Building and Kerr Hall contain seating areas for lab personnel, lab bench areas, fume hood rooms, tissue culture rooms, equipment rooms and cold rooms. Both buildings also contain a vivarium for vertebrate animal research, and provide space for shared equipment, microscopy rooms, additional freezer storage, chemical storage, and meeting rooms.

Center for AIDS Research Clinical Pharmacology and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory

The purpose of the Clinical Pharmacology and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory (Core E) is to provide a centralized unit to facilitate the pharmacological and analytical studies of HIV/AIDS related clinical, translational, and basic science research at UNC-Chapel Hill and at our collaborating institutions, and to establish collaboration with AIDS investigators at other national and international institutions.

Advanced Translational Pharmacology and Analytical Chemistry (ATPAC) Lab

The ATPAC core lab consists of the Analytical Chemistry and Pharmacology Core (ACPC) lab and the Translational Oncology and Nanoparticle Drug Development Initiative (TONDDI) lab. The core lab uses analytical chemistry and pharmacologic infrastructure to support the translational development of drugs, anticancer agents, carrier-mediated agents and biologics.

Pharmacometrics Core

The Pharmacometrics Core assists investigators at each step in the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic research process, from study design and data analysis to publication.

Graduate Program

Our PhD program develops scientists who excel at conducting innovative and clinically relevant translational research that integrates biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences in a laboratory- and computer-based environments that leverage preclinical and clinical investigations. Details regarding the PhD program can be found here.

Postdoctoral Fellowships

We offer a variety of fellowships sponsored by the NIH, pharmaceutical industry partners, and traditional academic-funded fellowships. Details regarding these fellowships can be found here.

We are partnering across the campus, state, nation and around the world to advance research and advance knowledge and treatment for patients to discover solutions for the world’s most challenging health issues.

UNC Health Sciences Campus

The School is part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a major research university with a large teaching hospital and schools of medicine, public health, nursing, and dentistry.

  • Ranked 5th nationally for federal research among all universities
  • $1.1 billion in sponsored research from all sources annually
  • Eleventh largest research university in research volume and annual expenditures

 

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Eshelman Institute for Innovation

The Eshelman Institute for Innovation was established in 2014 with a $100 million commitment from Dr. Fred Eshelman.  The Institute encourages collaborations between universities, research institutions, foundations and industry that accelerate groundbreaking science from the bench to the patient by funding and translating ‘top tier’ scientific solutions to the market with speed.  Learn more here.

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Research Triangle Park

UNC anchors one corner of North Carolina’s famed Research Triangle Park, which hosts an abundance of pharmaceutical, biotech, and health-care companies. This environment offers many opportunities for collaboration in research, education, and patient care with partners in academia, industry, and health care.


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Pinnacle Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Deerfield Management have entered into a partnership to create Pinnacle Hill, a company seeking to discover new medicines to address the significant unmet medical needs of our times. Deerfield will invest up to $65 million of targeted funding through Pinnacle Hill, as well as providing significant drug development expertise to advance promising therapeutic research at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Learn more here.

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PharmAlliance

PharmAlliance is a unique international partnership between three global leaders in pharmacy education, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Monash University, and University College   London. PharmAlliance partners work collaboratively to inspire and train tomorrow’s professional leaders and practitioners to transform education delivery and address major research challenges in pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences.

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Structural Genomics Consortium

The SGC (Structural Genomics Consortium) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership that performs basic science of relevance to drug discovery. Research is conducted at several sites around the world to produce reagents, proteins, antibodies, assays, and data that support exploration of the human genome. All material and intellectual output of the SGC is placed in the public domain for use without restriction. The first SGC laboratory to operate in the USA is located in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Learn more here.

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