Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology

Norma C. Adragna, Ph.D., Interim Chair

Department News

News from 2014

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology to host Ohio Valley Chapter of the Society of Toxicology annual meeting

The Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology will host the annual meeting of the Ohio Valley Chapter of the Society of Toxicology on Friday, Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in White Hall. 

Vishal Vaidya, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and environmental health at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, will give the keynote lecture, “Translational Toxicology in the Twenty-First Century.” The meeting also will include student and post-doc platform and poster presentations, lunch with an expert and information about K-12 activities.

The early registration deadline is Sept. 5. For more information and to register online, go to

More News from 2014

News from 2013

  • Yanfang Chen, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology, has been selected to be an abstract reviewer for the American Heart Association® Scientific Sessions, the leading cardiovascular meeting for basic, translational, clinical and population science in the United States. Scientific Sessions, which is Nov. 16-20 in Dallas, educates attendees about timely and significant advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Chen will review 30 abstracts, which are related to his research in the cardiovascular area.

News from 2012

Pharmacology grads enjoy 0% unemployment
  • CNNMoney reported that in the United States, college grads who studied astrophysics, geophysics, pharmacology and actuarial science had zero unemployment in 2010, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. See:
  • TEDActive 2013 approved membership for Elham Elhshik, a graduate student in pharmacology and toxicology. Elhshik will attend TEDActive 2013 in Palm Springs, Feb. 25-March 1. More than 1,000 people attend the TED conferences held annually in Long Beach and Palm Springs. The content includes science, business, the arts and global issues. Because of limited seating and high demand, all attendees must apply for membership. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to fostering the spread of great ideas.
  • The Society of Toxicology selected Fahimeh Fallahi, a graduate student in pharmacology and toxicology, to receive a Graduate Student Travel Support Award. The $1,000 stipend will assist Fallahi with expenses to attend the Society of Toxicology 52nd Annual Meeting in San Antonio, March 10-14.
  • The American Heart Association awarded Ji Chen, Ph.D., a research associate in pharmacology and toxicology, a Great Rivers Affiliate (GRA) Postdoctoral Fellowship for cardiovascular and stroke research. The $93,000 two-year award began Jan. 1, 2013, and ends Dec. 31, 2014. Chen will study the role of Angiotensin II/Angiotensin (1-7) balance in intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Richard Simman, M.D., CWS, FACCWS, associate professor, served as program director for the Second Annual Symposium on Advancing the Standards in Wound Care to be held at Sinclair Community College in Dayton on Sept. 14, 2012. View the symposium description for more information.
  • Nadja Grobe, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow, won first place in the poster competition at the Gordon Research Conference on Angiotensin for her paper “Novel insights into renal angiotensin metabolism through molecular imaging.”
  • Yanfang Chen, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology, is now on the Associate Editorial Board of the American Journal of Cardiovascular Disease as well as the Editorial Board at CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics.

News from 2010-2011

Richard Simman Translational Medicine Scholarship inaugurated

Dr. Richard SimmanImproving human health starts in the laboratory. Basic research must have a practical application if it is to transform from "bench to bedside." However, the process is complicated; limiting professional interest in the field and hampering the clinical research enterprise at a time when it should be expanding. The Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology is part of the Boonshoft School of Medicine and, as such, many faculty are dedicated to the conduct of translational research.

In 2011, the master's degree program in pharmacology and toxicology will offer for the first time the "Richard Simman Translational Medicine Scholarship" award for an incoming fall 2011 pharmacology and toxicology master's student. The student will receive a monthly stipend of $1,000, from September 2011 to June 2013. The student who receives the scholarship will work on a project under the guidance of Richard Simman, M.D., a research and clinical leader, as well as a practicing plastic surgeon in the field of wound healing.

Professor Alvarez-Leefmans publishes ground-breaking neuroscience book

Dr. Alvarez-LeefmansAcademic Press (Elsevier) has published Physiology and Pathology of Chloride Transporters and Channels in the Nervous System: From Molecules to Diseases, edited by Francisco J. Alvarez-Leefmans, M.D., Ph.D., WSU professor of pharmacology and toxicology, and Eric Delpire, Ph.D., a Vanderbilt University professor of anesthesiology. The first comprehensive book on the molecular structure and function of chloride transporters and channels and their impact on various neurological diseases published in almost 20 years, it was presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience held in October in Chicago.

"This book constitutes a tribute to Wright State University, and particularly to the Boonshoft School of Medicine," Dr. Alvarez-Leefmans says. "Eric Delpire began his academic career at WSU, and among the contributors are faculty members Norma Adragna, Mauricio DiFulvio, Peter Lauf and myself."

Department research touted by the American Heart Association

Dr. Mariana MorrisThe American Heart Association (AHA) publicized findings by a team of Wright State University researchers led by Mariana Morris, Ph.D., vice president for graduate studies and chair and professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the Boonshoft School of Medicine. On September 23, 2010, the AHA announced the findings of a study by Morris and her coauthors investigating sugar consumption habits in mice. The study found that when access to fructose, a dietary sugar, was limited to periods when mice normally sleep, the mice exhibited unusual blood pressure patterns, increased stress hormones and weight gain.

The study could have implications for human eating habits, according to Morris, who explained that "consideration must be given not only to the amount of calories consumed, but also the timing of intake." The study was presented at the organization's annual High Blood Pressure Research Conference in Chicago in September 2011. Co-authors are Swapnil V. Shewale, a master's degree candidate, and Danielle Senador, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate.