About CU Pharmacology
Heide Ford, PHD
Professor and CU Medicine Endowed Chair, Department of Pharmacology
Associate Director for Basic Research, University of Colorado Cancer Center
Welcome to the Department of Pharmacology at The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, one of six basic/translational departments in the School of Medicine. Our mission is to advance the field of Pharmacology through innovative and impactful research, and through training the next generation of scientists. While the classic definition of Pharmacology is the study of drugs, their toxicology, and their therapeutic use, we define pharmacology more broadly. Our definition includes the study of fundamental mechanisms of biological systems so that they can be targeted and manipulated in a therapeutic context to treat or prevent disease.
Our 18 primary faculty members, along with 3 emeritus and 12 secondary faculty members, work as a collegial and collaborative interdisciplinary scientific group, with interests in neuroscience, cancer research, cardiovascular biology, systems biology, and novel technology development. Specific strengths in these areas include regulation of gene expression, signal transduction, chromatin biology, cellular optogenetics, structural biology, bioinformatics, and in vivo modeling to study mitochondrial dynamics, cellular stress response pathways, mechanisms of genomic alteration, and phenotypic plasticity, in the context of normal homeostasis and disease. Our department consistently ranks amongst the top Pharmacology Departments for NIH research funding in the country, and our faculty serve as leaders in numerous centers and institutes, including the Neurotechnology Center, the Cancer Center, and the Linda Crnic Center for Down Syndrome, demonstrating our close ties with technology-based and clinically based research across the School of Medicine.
The department has a vibrant student and postdoctoral community, drawing students from the Cancer Biology, Neuroscience, Structural Biology, Molecular Biology, and Computational Biology Training Programs, as well as from the Pharmacology Graduate Program. The Pharmacology Graduate Program has been NIH supported through a pre-doctoral training grant since 1978 (44 years), making this program one of the longest, continually funded pharmacology training programs in the country. Our laboratories also attract many students from the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), as well as our institution’s umbrella Biomedical Sciences Program (BSP). Our students and postdoctoral fellows obtain prestigious positions in academia and industry, bolstered by the exceptional training they receive in our research laboratories.
The CU Department of Pharmacology is committed to promoting a collegial, collaborative, diverse and inclusive research environment where we work together to perform impactful research that contributes to a better understanding of human disease, with the goal of identifying novel and more effective treatment approaches. We are fortunate to have as our backdrop the Rocky Mountains, where we hold retreats to promote scientific discourse, innovation, and collaborations, and which help to enhance our creativity and well-being!