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department of Pharmacology

History of Department of Pharmacology


Past Department Chairpersons

The Department of Pharmacology in Temple University School of Medicine has a long and proud tradition that dates back over 95 years.  However, the Graduate Degree Program in Pharmacology dates to 1958 when the first candidate for the PhD degree was admitted.



Dr. SevyRoger W. Sevy, MD, PhD was Chairperson at this time, serving until 1973 when he resigned as Chairperson to become Dean of Temple University School of Medicine. Until 1960, the major research interests in the Department of Pharmacology were in cardiovascular pharmacology with the investigators (Drs. Bello, Papacostas and Sevy) receiving support from the National Institutes of Health. In 1960, Martin Adler, PhD, whose research interest at the time was in the effects of chronic brain lesions on the responsiveness to drugs, was recruited. With the expertise of Dr. Adler, the Department began to build capability in the area of neuropharmacology. Other faculty members recruited during this period were Concetta Harakal, PhD (cardiovascular pharmacology), James McElligott, PhD (neuropharmacology), George van Rossum, PhD (biochemistry), Leon Salganicoff, DSc (biochemistry) and Ronald J. Tallarida, PhD (cardiovascular pharmacology and biomathematics).



Dr O'NeillFrom 1975 to 1986, the Department of Pharmacology was chaired by John J. O'Neill, PhD. However, during a one-year period, George D. V. van Rossum, PhD served as Acting Chairperson. Under the leadership of Dr. O'Neill, the Department maintained research interests in molecular, biochemical, and cellular and cardiovascular pharmacology.  It also further strengthened the area of neuropharmacology with the recruitment of Alan Cowan, PhD.




Dr. SmithJ. Bryan Smith, PhD was appointed Chairperson of the Department of Pharmacology on January 1, 1986.  During this period, there was a major modernization of the laboratories and equipment in the Department, and a further strengthening of research interests with the recruitment of Drs. Lee Yuan Liu-Chen and Ellen Unterwald, who have major research interests in neuropharmacology, in addition to and Drs. James Daniel and Barrie Ashby, who have interests in biochemical pharmacology.  Dr. Gerald Sterling also joined the Department and is responsible for the organization of the Medical Pharmacology course.  He now also serves as Associate Dean for Curriculum in the School of Medicine and was the recipient of the Temple University Great Teacher Award.   Dr. Ronald Tallarida  served as Acting Chairperson from 2002 to 2003. Dr. Thomas Rogers, with an interest in immunopharmacology, joined the Department in 2003.


Dr. Nae DunNae Dun, PhD served as Chairperson of the department from 2003 – 2012. He appointed two new faculty members (Dr. Eugen Brailoiu and Dr. Gabriela Cristina Brailoiu). He also recruited Drs. Hong Wang and Xiao-feng Yang and they quickly joined the Department of Pharmacology. Dr. Wang is interested in cardiovascular pharmacology and Dr. Yang is interested in immunopharmacology. He further expanded the department by inviting Dr. Domenico Praticò to join Temple University. Dr. Praticò’s research area is clinical pharmacology with a special focus on the cellular and molecular aspects of cell oxidative biology and a particular interest in small molecules such as bioactive oxidized lipids.


Walter J. Koch, PhD, FAHAThe current Chairperson is Walter J. Koch, PhD, FAHA who was appointed in 2012. Dr. Koch became the inaugural William Wikoff Smith Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine in 2013. Under Dr. Koch the Department has brought in several new faculty members including Drs. Joseph Rabinowitz and Douglas Tilley in 2012 where their laboratories are housed in Temple’s newly established Center for Translational Medicine that is also directed by Dr. Koch. In 2013, Dr. John Elrod was recruited to the Department and Center for Translational Medicine and Dr. John Muschamp was recruited where he is housed in the Center for Substance Abuse Research. In 2014, Drs. Konstantinos Drosatos, Ying Tian and Raj Kishore were all recruited to the Department and Center for Translational Medicine. Dr. Kishore heads a stem cell biology program within the Center and Department. The Department is looking for more faculty that carry out cardiovascular research and also neurodegenerative disease research to build on strengths of the Department.