Center for Clinical Pharmacology

News from the Center

Read the latest news and updates from the Center for Clinical Pharmacology.

Recent News

Majumdar Lab in the press: Journal of Medicinal Chemistry

December 4, 2020

Drs. Susruta Majumdar and Abdelfattah Faouzi recently co-published a paper in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry highlighting their work to uncover a compound that could play a key role in the future development of alternative therapeutics for pain management.

They served as the lead authors on the paper, which represented a collaboration of more than 15 researchers from a variety of prestigious institutions including the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Arizona Health Sciences College of Medicine Tucson and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Over the past three years, the researchers have studied a series of carfentanyl amide-based opioid derivatives targeting the mu and delta opioid receptor complexes with the overall goal of identifying a safe, pharmacological agent with the ability to provide pain relief without the usual adverse side effects associated with conventional, clinical opioids, such as addiction and respiratory depression.

Read the full manuscript here:


Drs. Thomas Burris and Kristine Griffett publish breakthrough research on alzheimer’s disease and brain cancer

November 20, 2020

 Burris Lab Paper

To view in Cell Chemical Biology click here.


Alex Evers, MD, named Interim Director of the Center for Clinical Pharmacology

November 13, 2020

Alex Evers Headshot

Dr. Alex Evers, Washington University School of Medicine's Henry S. Mallinckrodt Professor of Anesthesiology and Professor of Developmental Biology [Pharmacology] and Internal Medicine, has accepted the role of interim director of the CCP effective November 9, 2020. During his tenure as Head of the Anesthesiology Department at Washington University, he was a founder of CCP and contributed much to its many ongoing successes. As such he is fully committed to the Center’s continued vibrancy and growth. 

Read the full story here.


NMR Spectrometer Moves to Campus

October 22, 2020 nmr-spectrometer

University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis has moved a 500 megahertz (MHz) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to the Academic and Research Building (ARB).  Previously, University researchers and research students had been renting time from the School of Medicine to use its NMR spectrometer.

Click here to read more.


Center faculty in the press: Dr. Kristine Griffett

October 10, 2020

 Kristine Paper

Access the manuscript here:


Dr. Susruta Majumdar receives NIH Neuropathic Pain Relief Grant

September 24, 2020

Group Photo_Majumdar

Dr. Majumdar recently received a $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop compounds to treat neuropathic pain. The research digresses from studying the compounds found in the plant kratom, which has long been a focus of Majumdar’s work. Through his previous research, Majumdar has studied kratom’s potential to create safer alternatives to the use of opioid pain medications. But his work on this project is taking him in a new direction.

Read the full story here.


Dr. Loc Thang, M.D., Ph.D. promoted to Intstructor, Anesthesiology

August 15, 2020

Loc Promotion


Center faculty in the press: Drs. Ream Al-Hasani and Kyle Parker

July 30, 2020

Ream_Kyle MP Paper
Read the manuscript here:


Dr. Jordan McCall receives his first R01 research grant from the National Institutes for Health

July 15, 2020


The goal for Dr. McCall’s R01 grant is to better understand how chronic stress modifies the ability of central norepinephrine system, an important source of endogenous analgesia, to increase or decrease control of pain. Psychological stress can either suppress or enhance pain, but it is not well understood how this switch occurs. Most evidence suggests that the type and duration of stress differentially modulates the pain experience with acute stress typically thought to be analgesic, while chronic stress is thought to exacerbate pain. In particular, McCall will use mouse models to identify stress-induced adaptations in neural circuits that supply the dorsal spinal cord with norepinephrine.

Read the full story here. 


Center welcomes fourth graduate student from the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University

June 27, 2020

Chayla Vazquez HeadshotChayla Vazquez
Second-year, Neuroscience Program; McCall Lab

As a new graduate student in Dr. Jordan McCall’s Lab, Chayla will strive to understand more deeply about the impact of stress on the locus coeruleus (LC) circuitry. She specifically will be defining mechanisms, such as activity from certain receptors, which regulate the LC and thus can influence changes in behavior. Chayla is interested in a career in academia and would like to eventually become Dean of an institution because of her passion for mentorship. With this future role, she plans on positively impacting students by increasing diversity in science on campus and highlighting the importance of high-quality mentorship. Chayla chose the McCall lab because of the community it provided and the emphasis it has on the research she is interested in.  


The National Institute on Aging Awards Dr. Bahaa Elgendy $426,000 to Support Alzheimer’s Research

May 20, 2020

Through his work, Elgendy will investigate the estrogen-related receptor alpha (ERRα) and the critical role it plays in regulating genes involved in oxidative stress and inflammation. Elgendy’s research will work to develop first-in-class chemical probes to validate ERRa as a potential target for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Elgendy is serving as principal investigator on the project and will be supported by Dr. Tom Burris who will serve as co-investigator.

Read the full story here


Faculty in Press: Dr. Susruta Majumdar; "G protein‐biased kratom‐alkaloids and synthetic carfentanil‐amide opioids as potential treatments for alcohol use disorder"

April 10, 2020

Dr. Susruta Majumdar, recently co-authored a paper demonstrating that certain alkaloids from the plant kratom could potentially be developed into a treatment for alcohol use disorder.

A link to the paper, which was featured in the British Journal of Pharmacology can be found in this article:


Center Faculty Highlighted in NIDA's Review of 2019 Achievements in Opioid Research

March 30, 2020

Dr. Susruta Majumdar: NIDA-supported basic science is also shedding important light on opioids and the brain’s opioid signaling systems. Research published in June in ACS Central Science provided new insights while raising new questions about the drug kratom. Its active ingredient mitragynine acts as a weak partial agonist at the mu-opioid receptor (MOR), but new findings by a team that included researchers at Columbia and Memorial Sloan-Kettering found that the drug’s analgesic properties are significantly mediated by a metabolite produced when mitragynine is consumed orally, called 7-hydroxymitragynine. In mice, at least, this compound seems to provide analgesia but with fewer respiratory-depressing and reward-associated side effects than other opioids such as morphine. These findings point toward the potential of this drug in pain research as well as the need for further research on the pharmacology of kratom’s constituents, their toxicity and potential value in the treatment of OUD.

Drs. Ream Al-Hasani & Jordan McCall: Although the MOR system is most commonly associated with pain and pain relief, other receptors are also involved.  One important dimension of pain is the negative affect commonly associated with it, and NIDA-supported research published in Neuron in March found that the kappa-opioid signaling system, specifically in cells located in the shell of the nucleus accumbens, are involved in processing pain-associated negative affect. This discovery could perhaps provide new targets for treating the emotional distress associated with many pain-associated syndromes.

Read NIDA's full article here:



Center for Clinical Pharmacology Named 2020 Arcus Award Winner

February 28, 2020

ACS Award 2

Read the full story here!


Dr. Tom Burris Receives $740,000 Grant from Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

February 20, 2020

Tom Burris, Ph.D., FAAAS, FAHA, recently received grant funds totaling more than $740,000 from Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.

The funding will support Burris’s research in the Center to develop drugs targeting muscle function. Specifically, the research will focus on the creation of therapeutics to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy and muscle loss caused by aging, known as sarcopenia.

Read more here


INRC Honors Dr. Ream Al-Hasani with 2020 Young Investigator Award

January 16, 2020

Ream INRC Award

Read the story here:

Learn more about the INRC at


2019 Summer Research Scholars Program Highlights

December 10, 2019

SRS ProgramP1 student Yearam “Esther” Tak presented her research on cerebral palsy at the American Neurological Association Annual Meeting and the 48th Child Neurology Society Annual Meeting in October. Under the direction of McCall and Bhooma Aravamuthan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neurology at the School of Medicine, Tak created symptoms of cerebral palsy in mice to learn what causes dystonic movement, involuntary muscle contractions that make normal movement and posture difficult.

“In order for us to understand how to treat cerebral palsy, we have to understand the disorder in general because there isn’t a lot of existing research out there,” Tak said. “By activating neurons in mice brains after introducing hypoxia, we are able to see if a particular neuron activation creates dystonic movement. Once we better understand how dystonic movement occurs, we can work toward an understanding of how it occurs in people who have cerebral palsy.”

Read the full story here:


Center Announces 2020 Event Schedule

November 1, 2019

Join us at the Center in 2020 for our seminar series. Unless otherwise noted, the monthly seminars are held on Thursday's from 12:00 - 1:00pm. All seminars are located in the Academic & Research Building on the St. louis College of Pharmacy campus.

Click here to download a copy of the seminar schedule.

In addition to this seminar series, the Center will continue hostingjournal clubs. For more information, please contact Ms. Jodi Maslin at


Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Brian Kobilka, M.D., Presents at Seminar Series

September 16, 2019

brian-kobilka"Brian Kobilka, M.D., professor of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford University and winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry, recently visited St. Louis College of Pharmacy to present his current research. He was invited by the Center for Clinical Pharmacology as part of its 2019-2020 speaker series.

Kobilka won the Nobel Prize for his work on G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) which constitute a large protein family of receptors that detect molecules outside the cell and activate internal signaling pathways. These receptors have great promise for the treatment of many common diseases, as they interact with the proteins that are responsible for almost all of the body’s functions, including the heart and the brain.   

Read the full story here:


Center faculty in the press: Dr. Kyle Parker, Ph.D.

August 15, 2019

Kyle Cell Paper

Read the manuscript here:


Center Faculty Named 2019 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar

July 22, 2019

Jordan Rita Award 


“This funding makes what is easily the riskiest project in the lab a much more secure venture. One of the biggest challenges we face using rodents as models of complicated human conditions is that we cannot ask the animals how they feel. A simple question, but a very difficult one to answer. With this award, we will be working to overcome this barrier by extracting detailed information from videos of the animal’s behavior to determine whether they are in pain, or distress. We will use new types of data analysis from mathematics to essentially ask the mice that simple question, “How do you feel?” By the end of this award, we aim to have made strides in identifying stress and pain in animals without having to disturb their daily routine. This approach will hopefully enable new strategies for understanding neural circuit function and therapeutic development." - Dr. Jordan McCall, PhD, MPH

Click here to read more.


Postdoctoral Fellow Recieves the 2019 W.M. Keck Fellowship Award

June 28, 2019

Sineadh Web


Center faculty in the press: Dr. Susruta Majumdar, Ph.D.

June 1, 2019

Sush ACS Paper

"“What we found through our studies in mice was that the 7-OH metabolite was responsible for inducing most of the pain relief the mice experienced,” said Majumdar. “Through our research, we discovered that the opioid pharmacology of mitragynine is complicated by the role of 7-OH in mediating its activity. In mouse and human liver preparations, the analgesic effects of mitragynine are actually dependent on 7-OH as a metabolic mechanism.” - Dr. Susruta Majumdar, PhD

Read the manuscript here:


Center faculty in the press: Dr. Ream Al-Hasani, Ph.D.

May 9, 2019

Ream Neuron Paper

“I like to call it the forgotten phase of addiction. I look at the negative effects of relapse and examine what physiological and behavioral changes are happening to drive relapse. I’m also looking at whether less severe withdrawal can prevent relapse. My hope is that if scientists thoroughly understand the neurological effects of withdrawal, they can develop better treatments to help those who are addicted to opioids fully recover from their disease.” - Dr. Ream Al-Hasani, Ph.D.

Read the manuscript here:


Postdoctoral Fellow awarded an individual fellowship from The Philippe Foundation, Inc. 

May 1, 2019

Abdel Award


STLCOP hosts its 10th annual Student Research Symposium

April 15, 2019

Group_BhoomaSush Group

Center faculty and research students attended the symposium to present their recent findings in the lab. Their posters and podium presentations highlighted the research projects carried out during the 2018-2019 academic year.


The Center welcomes three first-year graduate students from the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University

April 1, 2019

Makenzie HeadshotMakenzie Norris
First-year, Neuroscience Program; McCall Lab

As a budding neuroscientist, she aims to develop her skills to continue to push science to new heights both in and out of the lab. She is interested in dissecting how stress circuits and endogenous opioid systems interact in the brain to modulate the perception of pain. Specifically, as one of the brain’s primary norepinephrine sources she hopes to study the potential involvement of the locus coeruleus as a mediator in this intersection. With this in mind, it is her long term goal in science to contribute information to aid in the development of new pain medications with reduced addiction liability to combat the current opioid epidemic. Outside of lab, her long term goals are to make a positive impact on increasing diversity in STEM while also implementing better science communication strategies to increase medical/scientific awareness in the public, importantly in places where science education is lacking. She chose Dr. McCall’s lab because he actively supports both parts of her goals as a graduate student, those of course being scientific development as well as scientific outreach. 

McKenna HeadshotMcKenna Wilhelm
First-year, Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology Program; Burris Lab

In March, McKenna joined the lab of Dr. Thomas Burris who studies the pharmacology and chemical biology of nuclear receptors. Currently, she is diving into two distinct projects to decide what would be best fitting for her thesis project. She aspires to work on drug discovery and understanding the pharmacology of ligand interactions with nuclear receptors for therapeutics. Choosing Dr. Burris’ lab was a natural fit for her because of her long term goals of working in the pharmaceutical industry. The spunky lab environment and diversity of projects in the lab was another determining factor in her decision. She looks forward to working with everyone in the Center for Clinical Pharmacology and is enthusiastic about the innovative research that is being done here.

Marwa headshotMarwa Mikati
First-year, Neuroscience Program; Al-Hasani Lab

Marwa has also just recently joined the lab of Dr. Ream Al-Hasani. She is interested in unraveling the relationship between opioid withdrawal and the inflammatory response. She also seeks to understand the role of the immune system during withdrawal. Opioid research is very timely due to the current crisis, and understanding the endogenous circuitry is essential for the synthesis of safer opioids. She was drawn to the Al-Hasani lab due to the topics, cutting-edge techniques, close partnership with the McCall lab, and Dr. Al-Hasani's leadership. 

Dr. Bhooma Aravamuthan wins international award from the Child Neurology Society

September 19, 2018

Bhooma Award_News


Center Announces 2018 - 2019 Event Schedule

September 10, 2018

The Center will launch its monthly seminar series on Thursday, October 4, 2018. The seminars will be held on the first Thursday of every month at the Academic & Research building on the St. Louis College of Pharmacy's campus.

Click here to download a copy of the seminar schedule.

In addition to this seminar series, the Center will also begin holding monthly journal clubs. The first is scheduled for Friday, September 21st. For more information, please contact Ms. Jodi Maslin at


Visiting Scholar Wins National Award from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training of Spain

August 13, 2018

Blanca Award


Summer research student wins Washington University's 2018 Amgen and BP-ENDURE Fellowship Writing Competition on Friday, August 3rd at the Eric P. Newman Education Center.

 August 3, 2018

 Barclay Award

Center faculty sponsored Kia Barclay, undergraduate student at Wellesley College, this summer for the Washington University in St. Louis Neuroscience Pipeline Program. Ms. Barclay received the 2018 Amgen and BP-ENDURE Fellowship Writing Competition at the program's goodbye lunch earlier today.

Click here to read more.


Read the Latest Press on Dr. Majumdar's Research Featured in Scientific American

July 10, 2018

Majumdar headshotThe United States is in the grip of an epidemic. Opioid drugs are powerful pain-relieving medications, but come with a high risk of addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, and that figure is rising.

Dr. Majumdar and colleagues are working to combat the epidemic, but perhaps the frontline science is chemistry. 

Click here to read the full article.


Leadership Announcement: Dr. Karen Seibert, Ph.D., named Executive Director

July 1, 2018

Seibert_white_coatDr. Karen Seibert, Ph.D., founding director since May 2016, has been appointed the Executive Director of the Center.   Under her leadership, the Center has successfully recruited five faculty and more than 25 postdoctoral research associates, graduate and undergraduate researchers, and technical staff.  Dr. Seibert is Professor of Anesthesiology, Pathology and Immunology, and Genetics at Washington University School of Medicine and serves as the Associate Director for Shared Resources for the Siteman Comprehensive Cancer Center.



Welcome Dr. Susruta Majumdar, Ph.D., to the Center faculty

June 29, 2018

Dr. Susruta Majumdar, Ph.D. has officially joined the Center faculty. His research is aimed at attaining functional selectivity of opioid agonist action from its own target adverse effects while integrating chemical synthesis with biochemical, genetic and pharmacological approaches. He will work in collaboration with faculty at the Center, STLCOP, and across WUSM to advance our research mission and objectives.


Dr. Jordan McCall, Ph.D., is awarded the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award

June 22, 2018

The Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards provide seed money for research by junior faculty at ORAU member institutions. These awards are intended to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty and result in new funding opportunities.

Jordan ORAU

Dr. McCall shakes hands with Washington University's Chancellor, Dr. Mark S. Wrighton, Ph.D., as he receives the 2018 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award on June 22, 2018.


Launch of Inaugural Summer Research Scholars Program

May 14, 2018

Four STLCOP students were selected to participate in the Center's inaugural Summer Research Scholar Program. Students are introduced to research in pharmacology, neuropharmacology, and neuroscience under the guidance of Center faculty mentors. Students gain a sophisticated and practical knowledge of the research enterprise as they enter the research environment and network within the community of scientists. Students experience the process of research as a creative intellectual activity and gain a more realistic view of the opportunities and demands of a professional research career. 


Center Faculty Represented at the 9th Annual STLCOP Student Research Symposium

April 14, 2018

Students and research faculty gathered at the Academic and Research Building on Saturday to highlight and share their research accomplishments. 

STLCOP Symposium 2018

Click here to read more about the symposium.


Center Announces New Faculty

March 1, 2018

Dr. Susruta Majumdar, Ph.D. will join the Center for Clinical Pharmacology on July 1, 2018. His research is aimed at attaining functional selectivity of opioid agonist action from its own target adverse effects while integrating chemical synthesis with biochemical, genetic and pharmacological approaches. 


Center Announces New Faculty

February 1, 2018

The Center welcomes Dr. Thomas Burris, Ph.D. on February 1, 2018. Dr. Burris brings with him a robust laboratory whose research focuses in the area of development of new small molecule therapeutics targeting diseases such as inflammation and autoimmunity, metabolic disease, behavioral disorders, and cancer.

Burris Lab Group Photo


Center Announces Fall 2017 Event Schedule

August 14, 2017

The Center for Clinical Pharmacology has announced its schedule of events for the fall 2017 semester. 

Read more about the events and register to attend.


First Faculty Appointments Announced

March 13, 2017

Ream Al-Hasani, Ph.D, and Jordan McCall, Ph.D.With the appointment of the first faculty researchers, the ‭center is taking key steps toward executing its vision. Faculty ‭at the center will hold academic appointments at both the ‭College and WUSM. Three of the five laboratories that make ‭up the center will be led by researchers holding primary ‭appointments at the College and adjunct appointments ‭at WUSM. The other two researchers will hold primary ‭appointments at WUSM and adjunct appointments at ‭the College.

‭The first two researchers, Ream Al-Hasani, Ph.D., and Jordan G. McCall, Ph.D., have been appointed, and they will ‭assume their new roles May 1.

Learn more about Al-Hasani and McCall.


Announcement: Pharmacy, Medical Schools Create Research Partnership

August 29, 2015

CCP Sign

St. Louis College of Pharmacy and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are joining forces to find better, safer and more effective ways to use prescription medications to improve health. Researchers from the two institutions are collaborating to create the Center for Clinical Pharmacology.

The center’s initial focus will be on translational and clinical research to better understand and improve the treatment of pain. The new center will concentrate on how to best use existing drugs to treat pain, as well as on developing and identifying new analgesic drugs and other therapeutic approaches for pain.

Read more about the Center.