The USC School of Pharmacy ranks first in the nation in total research funding among private pharmacy schools. USC Pharmacy faculty are internationally renowned for innovation in the design, discovery, targeting and delivery of novel therapies that improve human health—particularly in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, cardiovascular ailments, diabetes and immune system disorders.
The School maintains a long tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration across academic departments, industry and government—conducting cutting-edge translational research that encompasses the full spectrum from basic laboratory discoveries to clinical care advances, and sparking real breakthroughs on complex and pervasive health challenges.
Alcohol abuse and dependence affects more than 17 million Americans and costs nearly $200 billion annually. The USC School of Pharmacy is at the forefront of efforts to understand the neurochemical basis of brain function and behavior that is crucial to the development of new approaches to prevent and treat alcoholism, drug abuse and psychological disorders.
Two-thirds of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s are women, and Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, has found a key link between brain health at menopause and the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease onset 20 years later.
Is there a connection between menopause and the development of Alzheimer’s disease?
The outcomes research team—including the health economics and policy group, the clinical pharmacy group and the regulatory science group—emphasizes innovations in treatment models and the development of better policies to make sure that care is more accessible and affordable.
Outcomes Research Team
A grant from Quintiles is helping the School build upon its leadership role in both health economic policy and regulatory science to promote more effective and efficient health care delivery and to make medical products faster, safer and better.
Shaping Tomorrow’s Health Care
The biotechnology team focuses on drug design, development and delivery, working toward breakthroughs that will transform tomorrow’s medicine by generating new drug compounds for diagnostic and therapeutic use.
Biotechnology Research Team
A new study from a team at the USC School of Pharmacy details potential sources of bias that clinicians, pharmacy and therapeutic committees, health insurance companies, HMOs and government programs must be aware before using comparative effectiveness research based on retrospective data.
Is comparative effectiveness research the best way to choose your next treatment?
From visualizing exactly how therapeutics interact with tumors to developing novel approaches for the treatment of recurrent and resistant cancers, USC Pharmacy faculty continue to push the frontiers of discovery to combat cancer.
An expert in chemical genetics – the science of altering gene function using (transient) small molecules instead of (permanent) genetic engineering – Dr. Olenyuk is seeking new therapeutic treatments for cancer, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and more.
Bogdan Z. Olenyuk, PhD
The School unites an interdisciplinary team of pharmacologists, toxicologists and pharmaceutical and regulatory scientists to explore new directions in identifying, designing and targeting new therapeutic advances. Complementing this are researchers working in the clinical arena and in health economics and policy. Centers and institutes, based at the School and throughout the University, offer a structure for collaborative pursuits.
Formulating the Future
The molecular targets team focuses on the underlying biological mechanisms essential to the development of increasingly targeted and effective treatments for some of the most pervasive and challenging diseases and disorders.
Molecular Targets Research Team
USC has the 5th fastest super computer cluster in the US, and Associate Professor Ian Haworth is using it to advance his research in finding new therapies to treat diabetes and neurodegenerative disease.
Searching for Novel Therapies
The USC School of Pharmacy is a key partner in the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), funded with a $56.8 million NIH award and aimed at speeding research from the laboratory into sustainable public health solutions.
Solving Public Health Problems
Recipient of one of the first NIH “big idea” awards designed to “encourage projects so original that they have the potential to challenge fundamental beliefs,” Dr. Camarero was recognized for his research to develop a new generation of antibody substitutes.
Julio A. Camarero, PhD
A national expert in improving health outcomes while reducing cost, Dr. Chen is one of the School’s leading faculty serving in 12 safety-net clinics, providing medication therapy management for low-income patients with chronic conditions.
Steven W. Chen, PharmD
A two-time NIH Merit Award winner, Dr. Shih won international acclaim for discovering how the brain enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) affects behavior. Her research holds promise for treating aggression, depression, alcohol abuse, obesity, autism and schizophrenia.
Jean Shih, PhD
Patients who need prescriptions, such as statins for moderate risk of coronary heart disease, have improved access and increased utilization rates when those drugs are moved to behind-the-counter status with a pharmacist to provide counseling and medication management.
How do you increase patient access to medication while reducing costs?
Professor Roberta Diaz Brinton has received NIH funding for a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of Allopregnanolone in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease
Dr. MacKay’s laboratory is engineering a new generation of bioresponsive nanocarriers designed to more effectively target and destroy cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue and reducing side effects of chemotherapy.
J. Andrew MacKay, PhD
Some very healthy people, who also happen to be thin, believe that eating fewer calories may be a kind of fountain of youth – an anti-aging strategy. Professor Raj Sohal takes a look at this phenomenon.
Does caloric restriction extend life span?
A lifetime appointee to the Institute of Medicine, Dr. Goldman leads one of the nation’s premier centers for innovative, independent health policy research. Recent work looks at raising U.S. life expectancy while saving the government $632 billion by 2050.
Dana Goldman, PhD
A continuous recipient of NIH funding since 1994, Dr. Hamm-Alvarez is developing an inexpensive and easy-to-use new diagnostic tool that could dramatically reduce the current average of seven years to diagnose Sjogren’s syndrome.
Sarah F. Hamm-Alvarez, PhD
With well over 50,000 people living on the streets in Los Angeles County, a collaboration between psychiatric pharmacists and primary care physicians at a skid-row, safety-net clinic provides a model of care that helps bridge the gap in providing comprehensive heath care that includes quality psychiatric services.
How do we meet the rising demand for psychiatric services among the homeless population?
The School of Pharmacy houses numerous research faculty whose work centers on new insights and approaches to metabolic disorders such as diabetes, as well as exploring the relationship between premature aging and diabetes.
Associate Professor Jason Doctor, PhD, received an $11.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a project to dissuade physicians from unnecessarily prescribing antibiotics for common acute respiratory infections.