News & Announcements


Divakaruni named 2023 Agilent Early Career Professor

Dr. Ajit Divakaruni

Dr. Ajit Divakaruni, Assistant Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, received the 2023 Agilent Early Career Professor Award. This award recognizes contributions to the development of live cell analytical tools to identify and measure novel critical quality attributes to advance biomanufacturing applications.  Dr. Divakaruni’s laboratory aims to develop mitochondrial proteins and metabolic pathways as therapeutic drug targets.

Glioblastoma research collaboration among Pharmacology faculty highlighted in Cancer Cell

Nathanson, David
Dr. David Nathanson

An interdisciplinary collaboration between the Nathanson, Bensinger, and Graeber labs, as well as UCLA Neurosurgery and Neuro-Oncology, led to the creation of a large resource (>150 unique samples) containing glioblastoma patient tumor and derivative models to search for clinically relevant relationships between recurring oncogenic genetic alterations and altered lipid metabolism in these brain tumors. This analysis discovered GBM tumors having deletion of the tumor suppressor, CDKN2A, rewires the GBM  lipidome consequently creating a metabolic vulnerability that could be exploited to promote ferroptosis mediated cell death.


Pharmacology members lead team identifying eye-disease drug as a potential response to COVID

Arumugaswami, Vaithi
Dr. Vaithi Arumugaswami

Gustavo Garcia, a former Pharmacology staff researcher, and Dr. Vaithi Arumugaswami are key scientists exploring the Hippo signaling pathway and its response to the drug verteporfin as another avenue to treating COVID-19.

Pharmacology faculty highlighted for developing technology to aid in detecting liver cancer

Dr. Hsian-Rong Tseng

Drs. Hsian-Rong Tseng, Yazhen Zhu, Lily Wu, and Vatche Agopian co-authored a recent paper in Hepatology describing their research on technology to help identify early-state hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Dr. Ajit Divakaruni receives 2021 Keck Foundation Award

Dr. Ajit Divakaruni

Dr. Ajit Divakaruni was selected by the W.M. Keck Foundation to receive one of the two 2021 UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine W.M. Keck Foundation Junior Faculty Awards.  This award supports outstanding early career scientists to pursue creative and impactful research.


Pharmacology faculty study the effects of STING activating drugs on pancreas cancer cells

Radu, Caius
Dr. Caius Radu

Donahue, Tim
Dr. Timothy Donahue

Drs. Timothy Donahue and Caius Radu are senior authors of a study using imaging to evaluate STING-activating drugs as a cancer therapy.

Technology developed by Pharmacology faculty used to detect potential life-threatening pregnancy complication

Dr. Hsian-Rong Tseng

Dr. Yazhen Zhu

The NanoVelcro Chip, developed by Crump Institute faculty Drs. Hsian-Rong Tseng and Yazhen Zhu, has been identified as a key tool for early screening of placenta accreta spectrum disorder.
The findings are published in Nature Communications.

Drug study led by Pharmacology faculty a potential treatment for COVID-19

Arumugaswami, Vaithi
Dr. Vaithi Arumugaswami

Damoiseaux, Robert
Dr. Robert Damoiseaux

Drs. Robert Damoiseaux and Vaithi Arumugaswami co-authored a recent study in Cell Reports on berzosertib, a drug shown to be effective in blocking the coronavirus’s ability to replicate without causing significant harm to cells.

FDA approves prostate cancer imaging technique developed by Pharmacology faculty

Czernin, Johannes
Dr. Johannes Czernin

Calais, Jeremie
Dr. Jeremie Calais

The FDA recently granted a New Drug Application (NDA) for a novel prostate cancer imaging approach (PSMA-PET) to UCLA and UCSF, the outcome of a four-year interdepartmental and inter-institutional collaboration. The UCLA cohort was directed by Drs. Johannes Czernin and Jeremie Calais.

Pharmacology faculty part of team receiving $13M from NIH for melanoma research

Graeber, Thomas
Dr. Tom Graeber

Dr. Tom Graeber, along with colleagues Drs. Antoni Ribas and Roger Lo, have received a five-year $13 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to better understand melanoma resistance to certain targeted therapies and immunotherapies.