Biological pharmacology

This is the website for the ongoing graduate course (Winter 2018). We will meet every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the main link (in case you didn't notice).


Here is the PDF version. Note that that it does not talk about the presentation option for evaluation; this is because I originally expected to teach this class in joint sessions with the 4th year students.


As stated in the first lecture, every student is expected to either write a review paper on a mutually agreed topic, or give a presentation on a research paper in class.

I realize a review is more work than a presentation, but you will also learn more from it. However, the choice is yours. Even if you are not sure about the topic, I would appreciate if you could let me know by January 28th whether your prefer a review or a presentation. This way, I can get a better idea as to how many presentations to accommodate in the class schedule. I would prefer to have one or at the most two presentations on a given date; I don't want to cram too many presentations into a single meeting.


Reviews should be not too long, not too short, just right ;) I consider the JBC minireview format a good example of suitable length and scope. If unsure, feel free to come by for discussion anytime.

You may choose your own topic, but please run it by me before actually starting to work on it. You might take a look at the topics addressed by the papers listed below; several of them are foci of current resarch interest.

Completed presentations

  1. Girennavar, B. et al. (2007) Potent inhibition of human cytochrome P450 3A4, 2D6, and 2C9 isoenzymes by grapefruit juice and its furocoumarins. J. Food Sci. 72:C417-21
    This paper was presented by Dominika Gruszecka on February 14th.
  2. Terés, Silvia et al. (2012) 2-Hydroxyoleate, a nontoxic membrane binding anticancer drug, induces glioma cell differentiation and autophagy. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109:8489-94
    This paper will be presented by Hernando Rosales on February 28th.
  3. Kundur, Avinash R. et al. (2017) Mildly elevated unconjugated bilirubin is associated with reduced platelet activation-related thrombogenesis and inflammation in Gilbert's syndrome. Platelets 28:779-785
    This paper will be presented by Emir Nazdrajic on February 28th.
  4. Nakajima, Ken-Ichiro and Wess, Jürgen (2012) Design and functional characterization of a novel, arrestin-biased designer G protein-coupled receptor. Mol Pharmacol 82:575-582
    This paper will be presented by Volition La on March 7th.
  5. Wehbi, Vanessa L. et al. (2013) Noncanonical GPCR signaling arising from a PTH receptor-arrestin-Gβγ complex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110:1530-1535
    This paper will be presented by Dalia Naser on March 14th.
  6. Friemel, Chris M. et al. (2014) The CB1 receptor as an important mediator of hedonic reward processing. Neuropsychopharmacology 39:2387-96
    This paper will be presented by Ashkan Hashemi on March 21st.
  7. Chandrasekera, P. Charukeshi et al. (2013) Adenosine A1 receptors heterodimerize with β1- and β2-adrenergic receptors creating novel receptor complexes with altered G protein coupling and signaling.Cell Signal 25:736-742
    This paper will be presented by Yibo Liu on March 21st.
  8. Hermanson, Daniel J. et al. (2013) Substrate-selective COX-2 inhibition decreases anxiety via endocannabinoid activation. Nat Neurosci 16:1291-1298
    This paper will be presented by Taylor Urquhart on March 28th.
  9. Leger, Andrew J. et al. (2006) Blocking the protease-activated receptor 1-4 heterodimer in platelet-mediated thrombosis. Circulation 113:1244-1254
    This paper will be presented by Jordan Rydzik on March 28th.

Upcoming presentations

  1. Fedorova, Olga V. et al. (2008) Monoclonal antibody to an endogenous bufadienolide, marinobufagenin, reverses preeclampsia-induced Na/K-ATPase inhibition and lowers blood pressure in NaCl-sensitive hypertension. J Hypertens 26:2414-2425
    This paper will be presented by Brian Youden on April 4th.

I hope you will find time to have a look at the papers to be presented ahead of the class, so that we can have a bit of questions and answers after each presentation.

Papers for presentations

Here are some papers that appear suitable for presentation – first come, first serve.

  1. Bannister, Roger A. et al. (2016) Distinct Components of Retrograde Ca(V)1.1-RyR1 Coupling Revealed by a Lethal Mutation in RyR1. Biophys. J. 110:912-21
  2. Barber, Annika F. et al. (2011) Molecular mapping of general anesthetic sites in a voltage-gated ion channel. Biophys J 101:1613-1622

As noted earlier, you may also hunt for a paper yourself, but please check with me before getting to work on it.

A presentation should last approximately 15-20 minutes. It should try to focus on the key findings of the study; a good general introduction to the topic that puts the study into context for the other students is more important than going over each and every figure or method from the paper. Feel free to discuss your presentation with me ahead of time.

Course notes and slides

These are all available on my website.