Research in the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Therapeutics addresses fundamental questions relevant to understanding the actions of drugs, hormones, antibodies, neurotransmitters, and growth factors at the molecular and cellular level, as well as their effects on the whole organism. Our laboratories work in a large range of disciplines from protein biochemistry through immunology to behavioral neuroscience and use a vast array of cutting-edge techniques. Faculty members have established many fruitful collaborations between labs within our department, across other USU departments and surrounding research centers (e.g. National Institutes of Health, Walter Reed), as well as academic institutions across the world.

Our research can be divided into three broad areas:  NeuropharmacologyMolecular Pharmacology, and Radiation Countermeasures.


Research in this area includes the development of novel therapeutics for traumatic brain injury. Epigenetic regulation induced by adverse environmental experiences or drug exposure is studied for long-term alterations of synaptic plasticity of circuits associated with substance abuse. Investigators are studying the development of novel drugs, such as ketamine, for the treatment of depression, PTSD and other psychiatric disorders.   Neuroadaptations following exposure to alcohol provide understanding of pathology and new treatments for alcohol use disorder.  Behavioral models are studied using the Rat Behavior Core and the CNRM.



The goal of molecular pharmacology is to develop new, targeted therapies to treat cancer and other diseases by investigating the genetic and molecular underpinnings of neurodegenerative diseases, RAS-driven tumors, and primary immune disorders.


Research into radiation pathogenesis and the development of radiation countermeasures utilizes the extensive resources of the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) here at USU. Faculty actively pursue the development of specific radioprotectors, radiomitigators and therapeutic tools to modify the effects of acute radiation injury. Pharmacological protections are designed for different organ systems to enhance survival and counteract toxicity. Radioprotectors may also be important adjuncts to reduce the adverse effects of cancer radiation therapy.