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Our faculty labs across all five divisions within the School bring together scientists and researchers from different backgrounds and varying specialties to advance knowledge and create solutions for the world’s biggest healthcare challenges.

Find and characterize new therapeutic targets and agents

Katelyn Arnold Lab

Dr. Arnold’s research interest is in therapeutic development of synthetic heparin. She uses chemoenzymatically synthetized oligosaccharides in various animal models to investigate the relationship between oligosaccharide structure and function to understand anti-inflammatory mechanisms. This work also involves pharmacokinetic studies using methods and standards specific for synthetic heparin.


Jeff Aubé Lab

The Aubé laboratory uses synthetic chemistry to enable the study of biological pathways and as starting points for drug discovery.


Alison Axtman

Active projects are aimed at finding pre-clinical small molecule candidates that address the need for new therapeutics in the areas of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), among others.


Albert Bowers Lab

Research in the Bowers Lab is concentrated on the synthesis, assessment, and modification of potential therapeutic leads, especially those derived from natural products.

Rafael Couñago Lab

Rafael´s research group at SGC-UNC uses protein biochemistry, structural biology and cell-based assays to illuminate protein function and explore new therapeutic strategies for human diseases. Current research at SGC-UNC is focused on enabling the discovery of new antiviral compounds and realizing SGC´s vision for Target 2035, an open science initiative that aims to create chemical and biological tools for every protein in the human genome with the goal of informing drug discovery.


David Drewry Lab

The Drewry lab in focused on designing, synthesizing, evaluating, and sharing small molecule chemical probes for protein kinases.


Kevin Frankowski Lab

Research in the Frankowski lab uses synthetic chemistry to develop new approaches for the treatment of unmet medical needs.


Stephen Frye Lab

The Frye lab focuses on chemical biology of chromatin regulation with an emphasis on proteins that bind methylated lysine, and collaborative oncology drug discovery with faculty in the Lineberger Cancer Center.


Lauren Haar Lab

The Haar lab focuses on investigating the role that refined spatial and temporal control of intracellular signaling cascades can play in the progression of cardiovascular injury. We use a research strategy involving plasmid and optogenetic protein engineering, high content screening, high resolution microscopy and physiologically based cell analysis.


Nate Hathaway Lab

The Hathaway lab was established at UNC with a founding idea that the group could make a contribution to understanding dynamic epigenetic processes by using unique chemical biology approaches they pioneered.


Lindsey Ingerman James Lab

The James lab is interested in modulating the activity of chromatin reader proteins with small-molecule ligands, specifically potent and selective chemical probes, in order to open new avenues of research in the field of chromatin biology and potentially translate to compounds of therapeutic value.


Michael Jarstfer Lab

The Jarstfer lab is interested in targeting telomere biology for aging disorders and cancer treatment strategies and exploring the mechanism of oxytocin in controlling social behavior.


David Lawrence Lab

Research in the Lawrence Lab focuses on the use of light to control cell behavior, remodel vascular pathways, and deliver drugs to diseased sites.


Andrew Lee Lab

Andrew Lee studies the role of conformational dynamics in protein function, conformational changes, enzyme catalysis, drug binding, and allostery. His laboratory uses a variety of biophysical and biochemical tools, especially NMR spectroscopy.


Jian Liu Lab

Research in the Jian Liu group is focused on glycobiology and glycobiochemistry, an emerging field that emphasizes the biological functions of carbohydrates.


Rihe Liu – Biological Therapeutics Lab

The Liu laboratory’s research interests focus on the development and application of novel drug target-binding affinity molecules by integrating directed molecular selection and evolution, ligand design and engineering, in vitro cellular and signaling characterization, and in vivo therapeutic efficacy studies in tumor mouse models.


Robert McGinty Lab

The McGinty lab studies molecular mechanisms of chromatin signaling. By pairing atomic precision protein chemistry with high resolution structural biology, they aim to understand how the nucleosome functions as a signaling hub for gene expression, DNA replication, and DNA damage repair in development and disease.


Samantha Pattenden Lab

The Pattenden lab develops innovative techniques in chromatin-based therapeutic target discovery and cancer diagnostics.


Kenneth Pearce Lab

The Pearce lab utilizes numerous methods for conducting early drug and chemical probe discovery research.

Konstantin Popov

Konstantin Popov Lab

The Popov Lab research expertise is at the interface of computational and structure-guided chemical probe and drug discovery, which is a vital part of the mission of the CICBDD. The lab develops inventive, cutting-edge approaches to solve problems in modern computational structural biology and drug discovery.


Bryan Roth Lab

Bryan Roth, PhD, MD, is a professor in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry and in the Department of Pharmacology.

Junjiang Sun Lab

Dr. Sun’s research interests focus on gene therapy for hemophilia, hemophilia associated joint disease (Hemophilia Arthropathy), by expressing bypassing agents (activated coagulation factor V, IX) via AAV vectors. This technology platform provides novel therapeutic approaches for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA).


Alexander Tropsha Lab

Alexander Tropsha’s lab develops new methodologies, software tools and applications in the areas of computer-assisted drug design, chemical toxicology, materials informatics, text mining, and health care informatics.


Xiaodong Wang Lab

The Wang lab is interested in developing drug leads/candidates for kinase, phosphate kinase and protein targets identified by UNC faculty and external investigators.


Tim Willson Lab

The Willson laboratory is home to the US site of the SGC, an open science consortium that accelerates research on the lesser studied regions of the genome.

Qisheng Zhang

Qisheng Zhang Lab

The Zhang lab studies lipid signaling pathways that are involved in human disease by developing novel chemical probes and technologies.

Learn more about Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry

Deliver therapeutic agents for successful outcomes


Kristy Ainslie, PhD

The Ainslie Lab focuses on modulation of immune responses to prevent and treat cancer, infectious and autoimmune diseases.

Owen Fenton, PhD

The Fenton Laboratory seeks to develop synthetic drug delivery platforms using RNA therapeutics.


Shawn Hingtgen, PhD

The Hingtgen lab develops engineered stem cell-based therapies for brain cancers and other tumors.

Yevgeny Brudno, PhD

The Brudno lab develops technologies to deliver drugs to disease sites, sparing patients from gruesome and toxic side effects.


Alexander “Sasha” Kabanov, PhD

The Kabanov lab focuses on nanomedicines for delivery of small drugs, nucleic acids and polypeptides to treat cancers and diseases of the central nervous system.


Sam Lai, PhD

The Lai lab focuses on infectious diseases at mucosal surfaces, targeted drug delivery and nanoparticle-immune interactions.


Juliane Nguyen, PhD

The Nguyen lab focuses on developing genetically encoded and genetically engineered biotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer, myocardial infarction, colitis, and other diseases.


Mark Schoenfisch, PhD

The Schoenfisch lab focuses on designing macromolecules for nitric oxide release and detection, glucose monitoring devices for diabetes and superhydrophobic interfaces.

Learn more about Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics


Discover and evaluate the factors that influence how therapeutic agents work

Photo of Derek Bartlett

Derek Bartlett Lab

Dr. Bartlett’s research aims to improve the translatability of preclinical studies and to unlock the potential of functional precision medicine through in vitro/ex vivo drug testing and combination therapy optimization.

Kim Brouwer Lab

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 Lab

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.


Daniel Crona Lab

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 Lab

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 of Erin Heinzen

Erin Heinzen Lab

The Heinzen Lab 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 Lab

Klarissa 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 Lab

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

photo of Craig Lee

Craig Lee Lab

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


Paul Watkins Lab

The Watkins Lab 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

picture of Tim Wiltshire

Tim Wiltshire Lab

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.


William Zamboni Lab

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

Learn more about Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics

Advance education and the practice of pharmacy


Sachiko Ozawa – GHEP Lab

The Global Health Economics for Pharmacy (GHEP) works to develop economic evidence for vaccines, medicines and pharmacy practice to save lives, improve quality of care and reduce poverty globally.

Jacqui McLaughlin – CIPhER

The Center for Innovative Pharmacy Education and Research works to improve the practice of pharmacy education and enhance the scholarship of and research on pharmacy education.


Jon Easter – CMO

The Center for Medication Optimization works to bring together healthcare stakeholders to create impactful real world research, generate evidence, disseminate best practices, and advance education that integrates medication optimization into value based care delivery and payment models.

Learn more about Practice Advancement and Clinical Education

Identify the health outcomes and value of therapies, policies and practices


Delesha Carpenter Lab

Dr. Carpenter directs a funded research program that is focused in the areas ofpatient-provider communication, mobile and digital health, and rural health.


Betsy Sleath Lab

Sleath’s research focuses on provider-patient communication in the areas of asthma, ADHD, diabetes, and glaucoma, engaging children and parents more in medication discussions during pediatric visits, and improving patient medication adherence and other health outcomes through interventions.

Megan Roberts Lab

Dr. Roberts’ research focuses on evaluating and improving the implementation of genomic medicine. In particular, she is interested in conducting research to understand how precision medicine technologies can be implemented to improve access to, and reduce disparities in, high quality care and prevention.

Carolyn Thorpe Lab

Carolyn Thorpe, PhD, MPH is an associate professor in the Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy. She conducts research to evaluate and improve prescribing quality and safety and medication adherence in older adults with multiple chronic conditions.


Joshua Thorpe Lab

Dr. Thorpe’s research program focuses on reducing the overuse of unnecessary or inappropriate medications in medically-complex older adults. He has conducted extensive research on unsafe use in older Veterans with dementia, chronic high-dose opioid use, non-adherence and oversupply of chronic disease medications, the role of over-the-counter medications in unsafe medication use, and the dyadic nature of unsafe use of dementia patients and their family caregivers, among other topics.

Alan Kinlaw Lab

Alan’s research focuses generally on pharmaco-epidemiology and health services research that leverages large and high-dimensional secondary data, including healthcare claims data, clinical registry data, and electronic health records.

Jennifer Elston Lafata Lab

The Elston Lafata Team is a diverse group of health care researchers, quality improvement leaders and analysts, students, and postdoctoral trainees. As a team, we work to understand how patient-provider communication and decision making affect the quality of healthcare delivered to and received by diverse populations of patients.

Scott Davis Lab

Dr. Davis’s lab is focused on the following areas: Improving patients’ ability to take their medications correctly to improve their outcomes; Implementing and evaluating the impact of quality improvement initiatives led by MAHEC, particularly in the area of maternal and child health; Improving mental health services in North Carolina and reducing health disparities by reducing barriers to mental health care access and utilization

Kathleen C Thomas Lab

We conduct research in behavioral economics to improve access to care, quality of care and outcomes for adults and children with mental health conditions. Our work is stakeholder engaged and uses a variety of data sources: primary and secondary data, electronic health records, claims, and other public records with input from stakeholders using interviews, focus groups and discrete choice experiments.

Learn more about Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy

Ready to take the next step?