February 2018

CMCT member, Dr. Jenny Jiang, and her lab were featured in Frontiers for Immunology for developing a new sequencing technique that detects T cell composition more accurately and with higher sensitivity than conventional methods, which could help better assess vaccine efficacy and treat cancer.

To view the online publication, please click here:

January 2018Dr. Somshuvra Mukhopadhyay

Dr. Som Mukhopadhyay was debuted by NIEHS in their Dert Success Story section in an article titled, “Studying the Biological Mechanisms of Parkisonism.”

“Pharmacologist Somshuvra Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D., from the University of Texas at Austin, is working to understand the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to parkinsonism, which causes Parkinson’s disease-like movement problems. By providing important insights into the biological processes involved in the condition, Mukhopadhyay’s research might one day inform the development of new drugs that help people with parkinsonism.One of the environmental factors linked to parkinsonism is exposure to high levels of the heavy metal manganese. Although the body needs some manganese, when levels get too high, the heavy metal becomes neurotoxic and leads to parkinsonism.”
Read more of Dr. Mukhopadhyay’s career and work here: 

-UT Austin’s College of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacology & Toxicology, and CMCT will host the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Lone Star Chapter of SOT on Sept 6-7, 2018 on UT Austin main campus. The theme of the meeting is “Mechanisms of Toxicity.” On Sept. 6, there will be a career development workshop on communication skills led by Dr. Carl Erickson, Prof. and former Assoc. Dean of Research, College of Pharmacy in the BME building (2-5 pm, Sept. 6, 2018). The main meeting will be on Sept. 7 in the Thompson Center with two scientific sessions, one focused on cancer biology and the other on organ specific toxicology. Keynote speakers are Dr. Karen Vasquez (UT Austin) for the cancer biology session and Dr. Michael Aschner (Albert Einstein College of Medicine) for the organ toxicology session. Remaining oral presentations, as well as poster presentations, will be given by students and postdoctoral trainees. The meeting provides a wonderful opportunity for trainees to present their work to a wide audience in TX and may be a useful stepping stone to presentations at national or international meetings. For more information, contact Stephanie D. Scott at

– CMCT Symposium 2018:  Save the data for the 2018 CMCT symposium that will be held Thursday May 17th.  More details will be provided as this date draws closer.

September 2017

Welcome New Members

Dr. Thomas Brenna, Professor of Pediatrics at Dell Med; Professor of Chemistry and of Human Nutrition in the College of Natural Sciences, UT Austin. Research interests: nutrition, metabolism, genetics, chemical analysis, and food chemistry of fatty acids and lipids in neurocognitive development and in disease; development of isotope ratio mass spectrometry and molecular mass spectrometry instrumentation and methods for lipid analysis and anti-doping drug testing; role of fats in ecology and human evolution.

Dr. Jaquelin Dudley, Professor of Molecular Biosciences, UT Austin. Research interests: retroviruses, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); breast cancer; mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) as a mouse model for HIV.

 Dr. Lauren Ehrlich, Associate Professor of Molecular Biosciences, UT Austin. Research interests: T cell development; thymocyte localization, thymocyte stromal interactions; thymic lymphomagenesis.

Dr. Ning Jenny Jiang, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, UT Austin. Research interests: technology development in systems immunology and immune engineering and applying them to study the immune system development, infection, and cancer immunology and immunotherapy.

Dr. Guliang Wang, Research Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, UT Austin. Research interests: understanding the effects of DNA modification and secondary structure on DNA damage/repair and genomic instability, and the cellular response to DNA damaging agents.

Dr. Richard Wood, Professor of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Research interests: analysis of pathways of DNA repair, DNA polymerases, and DNA damage tolerance.

August 2017


Dr. Karen Vasquez’s research was debuted on Texas Advanced Computing Center in an article entitled, “Mining Cancer Data for Treatment Clues” on May 22, 2107.

“A group led by Karen Vazquez, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at The University of Texas at Austin, has been working to find correlations between chromosomal rearrangements — one of the hallmarks of cancer genomes — and certain DNA sequences with the potential to fold into secondary structures.”

Read more here:

July 2017

CMCT members, Drs. DiGiovanni and Tiziani, teamed up on a collaborative study to identify combinations of natural compounds that can inhibit cancer.

“A new study from Dr. John DiGiovanni, professor of pharmacology and toxicology, and his colleague, Dr. Stefano Tiziani, assistant professor of nutritional sciences, identifies several natural compounds found in food, including turmeric, apple peels and red grapes, as key ingredients that could thwart the growth of prostate cancer, the most common cancer afflicting U.S. men, except for skin cancer and the third leading cause of cancer related death in men.”

The news release can be found here.

June 2017

This past spring we organized our first annual CMCT Symposium held May 18th at the Thompson Conference Center that included Dr. Gail Prins as our keynote speaker and research talks from a number of Center members. Posters were also presented by students and postdocs. This was a great event!







Drs. Vasquez and DiGiovanni reviewing a poster.

Dr. Andrea Gore presenting her talk.

CMCT News Spring 2015

San Diego Society of Toxicology Meeting photo

Faculty and graduate students share Longhorn spirit at the San Diego Society of Toxicology meeting.



Pharmacology/Toxicology LinkedIn group site

UT Tower and College LogosA LinkedIn group site has been developed for the alumni and friends of the graduate program in pharmacology and toxicology at The University of Texas at Austin. By joining the Pharm/Tox LinkedIn group you can keep in touch and network with your fellow alumni and friends as well as learn about the exciting events and discoveries occurring in the division. On the other hand, by having access to your LinkedIn profile, our staff members are able to keep track of your career progress and contact information without having to contact you via email. Join now by visiting our site.

 Lone Star SOT meeting

Photo at LSSOTCMCT was a sponsor for the Lone Star Chapter of Society of Toxicology (LSSOT) annual meeting at the Radisson Hotel in Austin on November 13-14, 2014. The theme of the meeting was “Environmental Influences on the Immune System,” with an outstanding keynote lecture from Dr. David Sherr, Boston University School of Public Health.

We had a great turnout from Texas universities, with exceptional platform and poster presentations by graduate students and postdocs. Prizes were awarded to the top three presenters in each category, including:


  • First place, Charles Zogzas (UT Austin)
  • Second place, Natividad Fuentes (A&M)
  • Third place, Stacey Gaskill (Baylor).


  • First place, Ashley Solmonson (UT Austin)
  • Second place, Dwayne Carter (UTMB)
  • Third place, Kristin Di Bona (UT Austin)
Congratulations to our UT Austin winners!

Dr. Wright with Students





Vasquez honored

VasquezDr. Karen Vasquez, professor of pharmacology and toxicology, is among five faculty members at The University of Texas at Austin recently elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  Vasquez, the James T. Doluisio Regents Professor in the College of Pharmacy, was recognized for pioneering contributions concerning genome instability, particularly by demonstrating that non-canonical DNA structures can be mutagenic, and for discovering new roles for DNA repair factors.

She identified three areas of research focus on her website including:

• DNA structure in genomic instability and human disease.

• Molecular mechanisms of DNA damage recognition and repair.

• Novel strategies to modify gene structure and function in living organisms

AAAS fellows are chosen annually by their peers to distinguish individuals who are members of the association cited for “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications which are scientifically or socially distinguished.”

Vasquez is joined by four other UT Austin faculty members in fellow selection by AAAS this year including from the College of Natural Sciences, Richard Warren Aldrich, professor of neuroscience, and Stanley Roux, professor of molecular biosciences; and from the Cockrell School of Engineering, Roger T. Bonnecaze, professor of chemical engineering, and Aramugan Manthiram, professor of mechanical engineering.

Trainee Highlights

  • Dr. Imee del Mundo (postdoc, Vasquez lab) is a recipient of a CPRIT fellowship.
  • Angela Stermer (graduate student, Richburg lab) was awarded an AFPE pre-doctoral award in pharmaceutical science.
  • Sarah Song (undergraduate student, Vasquez lab) received a CPRIT SURP fellowship.
  • Lisa Tremmel (graduate student, DiGiovanni lab) received a PhRMA pre-doctoral fellowship

Recent Awards

Jonathan Mercado (undergraduate student, Mukhopadhyay lab) was awarded the Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) Award for Excellence in Molecular Biology or Genetics Research ($500) from the 2015 Undergraduate Research Forum.

Momentum builds toward Acosta endowment

Dr.and Mrs. AcostaMomentum continues to build toward establishing the Daniel and Patricia Acosta Graduate Endowment in Pharmacy.  Dan and Patricia have gotten the fund-raising off to a great start with their $25,000 pledge toward establishing an endowment to assist graduate education within the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology.  Since their initial pledge, many alumni of the division have stepped forward with their own gifts. This endowment is the latest example of the couple’s commitment to giving back.  If you, too, are ready to pay it forward, you can make your gift.

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Texas Pharmacy: The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy