Graduate Institute of Pharmacology was officially established in 1962. During the early period, most of the colleagues were devoted to pathological effects and action mechanisms of snake venoms under the leadership of Drs. Lee, CY, Ouyang, C, and Chang, C.C, thereby establishing a concrete academic foundation in the field of international snake venom research. Currently, we have ten full time faculty members.
Our major research fields comprise several areas.
1] Cardiovascular system:
(i) Utilizing conventional organ, electrophysiological and molecular cloning techniques in exploring the etiology of cardiac diseases and mechanism of action of drugs at the molecular level in order to find the potential candidates for cardiotonics and antiarrhythmia agents.
(ii) Systemic study on the mechanism of actions of the anti-thrombotic agents, especially antiplatelet ones.
(iii) Drug discovery in the field of anti-angiogenesis, and anti-tumor agents by investigating their effects on the proliferation and differentiation of vascular endothelial cells, smooth muscle and tumor cells. Most of the above-mentioned studies are performed with natural products, synthetic compounds, and snake venom polypeptides.
(iv) Identifying the appropriate pharmacological targets and agents being able to repopulate resident cardiac progenitor cells for cardiac repair.
(v) Using iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes for investigating disease mechanisms, drug discovery, and cardiac toxicity screening.
2] Nervous system:
(i) The pathophysiological mechanisms of several neurological or psychiatric diseases, including stroke, epilepsy, Parkisonism, Alzheimer's disease, pain, Schizophrenia, addiction, migraine, tic disorders and autism are actively explored by establishing a variety of model systems, including neuronal cultures, electrophysiological recordings using brain slices, cloning of ionic channels, and in vivo behavioral models.
(ii) Drug discovery research aiming to discover the potential candidates for treatment of central disorders.
(i) Signal transduction of cell death mediated by TNF receptor family, death receptors and immune inhibitory receptors.
(ii) Molecular mechanisms of stress-associated cellular processes, including autophagy, ER stress, DNA damage/repair and inflammation.
(iii) Innate immunity: TLRs, NLRs and inflammasome.
(iv) Adaptive immunity: immune tolerance and immunosuppression.
(v) Development of new therapeutics and drug discovery for the treatment of immunological diseases and cancers.
4] Cancer biology
(i) Search for the potential targets for cancer therapy
(ii) Investigate the molecular pathways and epigenetic regulation that lead to the tumorigenesis and metastasis
(iii) Explore the signal regulating pathways and intracellular mediators leading to cell death (e.g. apoptosis, necrosis and autophagic cell death)
(iv) Investigate the pharmacological mechanisms of anti-cancer agents (e.g. natural products, synthetic compounds)
5] Stem cell studies:
(i) Stem cell and cancer stem cell study: The study focus on isolation and expansion of lung stem/progenitor cells and the mechanism for differentiation of the stem/progenitor cells to terminal differentiated cells, type-I pneumocytes. The study for immunoregulation of lung stem/progenitor cells in virus infection are also ongoing. For “cancer stem cell and translational medicine” studies, breast cancer stem cells had been isolated by the technique of nonadherent mammosphere formation culture and the drug-resistant mechanism of the breast cancer stem cell will be focused .
(ii) Cell-therapy and regeneration medicine study: In the study, we had successfully identified and expanded mesenchymal stem cells from human placenta tissue. The study focuses on the applications for the cells in severe disease model, such as ALI/ARDS, and the immunoregulational potential of the cells.
Although each principal investigator has the individual interest and specialty, we are open-minded and actively seeking for opportunities to cooperate with other researchers in order to synergistically achieve the integrated breakthrough in the future. Graduate students are required to attend many inspiring seminars of special topics twice a week. Experimental pharmacology is designed for the special introduction of the ideas and concepts and the basic experimental skills developed by our laboratories. Of course, a creative thesis is the most critical task for graduation. Through these intense trainings, graduate students are expected to be capable of continuing their career either as an independent thinking, problem-solving and creative researcher or as a practitioner of pharmacological sciences.