When the School of Medicine opened in 1972 the Department of Pharmacology was among the small number of basic science departments. At its start, the department had only three faculty members (Joseph R. Bianchine, M.D. PhD was the departments first chair) and was located in Drane Hall on the Texas Tech University Campus. Dr. John (Barry) Lombardini, Ph.D. one of the founding faculty members in the department recalls "with three of us teaching the medical pharmacology course to some 36 first year medical students, we brought in a number of quest lecturers and made a lot of follow up phone calls when students had questions about the material". In 1976 the department moved into a new building located on 4th street and Dr. Alexander D. Kenny, Ph.D. became departmental chair a position he would hold for the next 17 years. Under Dr. Kenny the number of faculty in the department expanded to eight and faculty began training both masters and doctoral students. As Dr. Lombardini recalls "with most faculty having NIH R01 funding and with additional state funding (Tarbox Foundation), the research productivity in the department expanded quickly". By 1993 under the tutelage of a new chair, Dr. Lou Chiodo, Ph.D., the mission and name of the department expanded to include the field of neuroscience and the number of faculty in the department nearly doubled. This focus continued under the departments next chair, Dr. Reid Norman, Ph.D. (2000-2014) and the department became the home of the South Plains Alcohol and Addiction Center (SPAARC), a school of medicine center of excellence.
The Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience is currently chaired by Dr. Volker Neugebauer, M.D./ PhD. As Dr. Neugebauer explains “We are in the middle of a major period of growth and transformation from traditionally strong expertise in the area of alcohol and addiction to pain and related neuropsychiatric disorders. Great collegiality and collaborative work environment are hallmarks of our departmental culture. We are strengthening existing interactions with basic scientists at TTUHSC and TTU while building translational bridges with our clinical departments”. As part of this transformation, SPAARC has evolved into the Center of Excellence for Translational Neuroscience and Therapeutics (CTNT) with a faculty membership of greater than 30 basic scientists and clinicians. This new emphasis on translational strategies has also been incorporated into the name and mission of the graduate training program (Translational Neuroscience and Pharmacology). In addition to this research mission, the core faculty within the department are continuing the long tradition of pursuing excellence in medical education and graduate training and this has been reflected in the number of research, teaching, and service awards that departmental faculty have received over the years. In addition, graduates of the department's doctoral program have gone on to have very successful careers both in and outside of academia and this is in part reflected in that several doctoral trainees have been selected as Distinguished Alumni by the TTUHSC Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (e.g. Dr. Susan K. Paulson, (‘82); Sasanka Ramanadham, Ph.D., ('85)).
Translational Neuroscience and Pharmacology (TNP):
The objective of the Translational Neuroscience & Pharmacology graduate concentration is to prepare students for a broad range of potential careers, including research and teaching.
Specialized research training is available in the following areas:
For additional information on the TNP concentration, click here.
Center of Excellence for Translational Neuroscience and Therapeutics:
The overall goal of The Center of Excellence for Translational Neuroscience and Therapeutics (CTNT) is to serve as an incubator for the generation and dissemination of knowledge related to the neurobiology of clinically relevant disorders. CTNT strives to generate, facilitate, and coordinate multidisciplinary efforts to build bridges between basic science and clinical departments required for the development of novel and improved diagnostic and therapeutic tools and strategies.
For additional information on CTNT, click here.