Center for Clinical Pharmacology

News from the Center

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

Recent News

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: https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/01/reviewing-nidas-2019-achievements-looking-to-future

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Center for Clinical Pharmacology Named 2020 Arcus Award Winner

February 28, 2020

ACS Award 2

Read the full story here!

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

January 16, 2020

Ream INRC Award

Read the story here: https://anesthesiology.wustl.edu/inrc-honors-ream-al-hasani-phd-with-2020-young-investigator-award/

Learn more about the INRC at https://www.inrconference.org/

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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: https://www.stlcop.edu/news/archive/2019/summer-research-scholars-program.html

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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 jmaslin@wustl.edu.

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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: https://www.stlcop.edu/news/archive/2019/brian-kobilka-speaks-at-college.html

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

August 15, 2019

Kyle Cell Paper

Read the manuscript here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article

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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.

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

June 28, 2019

Sineadh Web

https://postdoc.wustl.edu/items/funding-resources/#Keck

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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:  https://www.acs.org/content

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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: https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/latest-science/brain-in-pain

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

May 1, 2019

Abdel Award

https://www.philippefoundation.org/

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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.

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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. 

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

September 19, 2018

Bhooma Award_News

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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 jmaslin@wustl.edu.

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

August 13, 2018

Blanca Award

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.