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Pharmacology and Toxicology was established as a department at the Medical College of Georgia in 1943.


Originally developed to discover how remedies and poisons effected man, modern pharmacology lays the groundwork to discover and develop future generations of therapeutics. Pharmacology's scope has broadened to include: computer-assisted drug design; genetic screens; protein engineering; and new drug-delivery vehicles like viruses and artificial cells.

 The department's history of accomplishments include the discovery of the adrenergic receptor subtypes-alpha and beta which led to developing several drugs used to treat cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular and neuroscience studies are the focuses of the department's research programs.

Raymond P. Ahlquist, working in this Department, first defined α and β adrenergic receptors in 1948. This discovery eventually led to the development of “β blocker” drugs for hypertension and heart disease.

β adrenergic receptors (blue) clustered into artificial microdomains on the surface of a living COS7 cell (red).

β adrenergic receptors (blue) clustered into artificial microdomains on the surface of a living COS7 cell (red).  

Contact Us

Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology

Health Sciences Campus

Carl T. Sanders R & E Building


Ashley Davis

RM 3530

Department Highlights

  • Research in the areas of cardiac, vascular, and pulmonary disease, schizophrenia, learning and memory, neuroprotection and drug abuse.

  • Experimental approaches range from the gene to whole animal.

Pharmacology & Toxicology News

man on the floor

Neuroscientist’s study explores how negative emotional state affects learning

“It turns out only a quarter of the people exposed to the same traumatic event will go on to develop PTSD and it’s not understood why some do and some don’t,” said Dr. Almira Vazdarjanova.

Man and woman in white lab coats

New evidence of how exercise can counter diabetes damage

Diabetes damages damages existing blood vessels and ability to grow new ones. Exercise could help.

Man and woman in white coat stand in hallway

Unusual partners aid blood vessel growth

The scientists worked in models of blood vessel development in the highly vascularized retina and in peripheral artery disease in a limb. 

Curly haired man in white lab coat

Three proteins found that help fine tune movement

The findings could point toward new therapeutic targets for movement disorders.