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College of Pharmacy


Neuroscience

The brain is a very complex structure, organized at the level of cell to micronetwork to structure to macronetwork.

The importance of functional understanding of the brain cannot be overstated. More than 1,000 disorders of the brain and nervous system result in more hospitalizations and lost productivity than any other disease group, including heart disease and cancer. Data from 2005 indicate that neurological illnesses affect more than 50 million Americans annually and cost more than $500 billion to treat.

In addition, mental disorders strike 44 million American adults a year at a cost of $148 billion. Advances in research could reduce these costs. For example, discovering how to delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease by five years could save $50 billion in annual health care costs in the United States alone.

To begin to address these problems, neuroscience researchers in the College of Pharmacy study the molecular basis of neurological disorders, addiction and neuroAIDS to understand the neuronal and cellular pathways that drive these diseases. Equipped with state-of-the-art pharmacogenomic approaches, region- and time-specific conditional knock-out mice, as well as the application of circuitry-level functional analysis, studies conducted by pharmacy faculty have successfully identified potential molecular targets for development of therapeutics in treating smoking cessation, neuroAIDS, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.