Department of Pharmacology

Pharmacology 100 Club

The Department of Pharmacology is now in its sixth year of growing the Pharmacology 100 Club and the number of contributors continues to increase!  For those who have participated in the past, Thank You!  Our graduate program turns 80 years old this year and we have just awarded our 286th Ph.D. in Pharmacology!  Your donations provide support for our graduate students to attend scientific programs that will enhance their graduate education and future careers as well as the direction of the program as a whole. 

We respectfully ask you to consider again participating in the Pharmacology 100 Club.  A donation of $100 will go toward funding awards such as: 

  • Allan D. Bass, Jr. & Sara Bass Graduate Assistance Fund:  Established by private donations in memory of Allan D. Bass, Sr. who served as Chair of Pharmacology for more than two decades, this fund is available for students experiencing family or other personal emergencies.
  • Pharmacology Graduate Education Enhancement Award:  Initiated by contributions from Pharmacology faculty to enhance training of graduate students, their ability to participate in collaborations, courses, and other endeavors to complement their training. 
  • Lee Limbird Dissertation Enhancement Award:  Established in 2005 by private donation, this fund has been used by students for dissertation expenses and travel expenses and for special training opportunities.

On behalf of the faculty, staff, and graduate students of the Department of Pharmacology, we extend our thanks for your generosity in continuing to provide funds that will be available to our students to build new and innovative programs that will ensure our ability to support the best trainees of the future.  To make a donation, please make your check payable to Vanderbilt University and mail to:  

Joey V. Barnett, Ph.D.

Acting Chair, Department of Pharmacology

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 460-B PRB

23rd Ave. South @ Pierce

Nashville, TN  37232-6600


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Pharmacology Graduate Education Enhancement Award

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

 The Pharmacology Graduate Education Enhancement Award was initiated by contributions from Pharmacology faculty to enhance training of graduate students.  The award supports students in their endeavors to learn new technologies and techniques, participate in cross-institutional collaborations, attend short courses or other endeavors complementing their training. 



"The training I received in the Pharmacology Department was invaluable for my development as a scientist.  The unique curriculum combined with the department-sponsored lectures and seminars exposed me to a wide variety of scientific topics.  These opportunities not only helped me to identify my scientific interest in neuroscience but aided me in my dissertation project, under the guidance Brian Wadzinski, in which we identified a novel regulatory mechanism for protein phosphatase 2A that is altered in Alzheimer’s disease.  The training I received in Pharmacology led me to pursue positions in the Alzheimer’s disease field, and I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in SangramSisodia’s laboratory at the University of Chicago studying the role of nicastrin in the γ-secretase complex.  The strong mentoring along with the exposure to a wide variety of scientific fields that the Pharmacology Training Program provides has given me the tools that I need to excel in my current position as well as in future endeavors."




"When joining the Department of Pharmacology, I was given at least two guarantees.  One, that the highest quality of education in Pharmacology would be available to me.  And two, I would be surrounded by mentors whose encouragement and support allowed me to make the best of this education.  Not only was I taught through rigorous coursework to think in ways that bettered my research, but how to eloquently communicate my ideas and work to others both inside and outside of the field.  The Pharmacology department is notorious for being a challenge, but with each fulfilled experiment, course, exam and presentation I gained more of a voice, more confidence, more patience and more persistence.  I learned that with every challenge lies opportunity. Now as a postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry at the University of Washington, I continually find myself wanting to thank the department for these gifts as they enable me to move forward in my goals. It was the push by my mentor, Seva Gurevich, backed by the department that allowed me to think like a scientist.  And it is something I will carry with me into my career".





This past summer I participated in the Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship (SIE) at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.  SIE is a four-week business program which examines the process of turning an innovative idea into a successful venture through a combination of lectures, guest speakers and workshops. I was part of a five-member team that developed a business model and twenty-minute ‘pitch’ for local initial investors and venture capitalists.  Through the classes and workshops, we were able to identify our markets, develop a business model with key technical and financial milestones, and address the possible avenues for partnering, distribution and alternative use.  Great friends and connections were made, providing an excellent foundation upon which to pursue my career .





The mentorship and support that graduate students receive from the Department of Pharmacology is unmatched by other universities in quality and scope. I often talk with other ‘Pharm’ alumni about the remarkable influence that getting a degree from the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt has made in our lives. Pharm 100 ensures that future generations of Pharmacology students experience the opportunities that we were given. That is why I support the Department of Pharmacology, and I hope you join me in saying thank you by making a donation to Pharm 100.Because of their encouragement to pursue my goals, I was able to follow a path that would have seemed ‘unconventional’ in the past. My mentor, Elaine Sanders-Bush, and faculty in the department, provided incredible guidance and opportunities that allowed me to achieve my goal of becoming an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow. In addition to the classroom and laboratory education I received, my real world experiences such as Pharmacology Advocacy Program with Dr. Hamm in which I presented the importance of biomedical research to Jim Cooper (D-TN), and my visit to Congress Dr. with Joey Barnett provided a foundation that put me ahead of my peers once I had completed the program. Thanks to that foundation, I currently work for the U.S. Government managing programs to develop vaccines and drugs for Biological Threat Agents.


I attended the Michigan State University integrative and organ systems pharmacology short course.  Being awarded the Pharmacology Dissertation Enhancement Award to attend this course allowed me to further integrate my interests in disease treatment through the field of pharmacology with my interests in biomedical engineering and material science. This combination will facilitate me in maximally using my education to develop new methods and techniques to further the pharmacological knowledge and treatments in the field of visual sciences and potentially others.  I also believe that this award will benefit my laboratory as a whole, providing technical knowledge that will enhance productivity and contributions to the vision sciences community





I received funding to attend the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy in Washington DC during May 2009.  I have had a burgeoning interest in pursuing a career in science policy, and this was my first direct experience interacting with policymakers in Washington DC and was an excellent experience.  The event was a unique opportunity for me to network with other students,  recent graduates and established science policymakers that will be invaluable as I pursue my career. 






I applied to the Enhancement Award for travel money to visit  Florida State University to perform EPR experiments with Betty Gaffney.  Through this collaboration, I will learn iron EPR technology and develop the skills to better achieve my project goal. My thesis project focuses on an unusual lipoxygenase (LOX), human epidermal lipoxygenase 3 (eLOX3), which has been implicated in human epidermal differentiation.  Unlike typical LOX, eLOX3 has no activity with typical polyunsaturated fatty acid substrates. One aim of my project is to answer the simple question:  Why is eLOX3 different from typical LOX?