Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry

The Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry (PPBC) supports a broad spectrum of research aimed at improving the molecular-level understanding of fundamental biological processes and discovering approaches to their control. Research supported by the division takes a multifaceted approach to problems in pharmacology, physiology, biochemistry, and biological chemistry that are very basic in nature. The goals of supported research include an improved understanding of drug action and of anesthesia; mechanisms underlying responses to drugs; new methods and targets for drug discovery; advances in natural products synthesis; an enhanced understanding of biological catalysis; knowledge of metabolic regulation and fundamental physiological processes; and the integration and application of basic physiological, pharmacological, and biochemical research to clinical issues in anesthesia, clinical pharmacology, and trauma and burn injury. Research approaches are state-of-the-art and employ the optimal research organisms for the problems being addressed.

The division has two components: the Biochemistry and Bio-related Chemistry Branch and the Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences Branch.

Research areas NIGMS supports within this division and contact names are listed on the Contacts by Research Area page. For a list of all PPBC staff and links to their biographical sketches, see the Division Staff Contacts page.

Biochemistry and Bio-related Chemistry Branch

This branch supports basic research in areas of biochemistry, such as enzyme catalysis and regulation, bioenergetics and redox biochemistry, and glycoconjugates. It also supports research in areas of bio-related chemistry, such as organic synthesis and methodology, as well as bioinorganic and medicinal chemistry. Examples of biochemical investigations include studies of the chemical basis of the regulation and catalytic properties of enzymes, intermediary metabolism, the chemical and physical properties of the cellular systems for electron transport and energy transduction, the biochemical roles of normal and altered mitochondrial proteins, and the biosynthesis and structure of carbohydrate-containing macromolecules. Examples of chemical investigations include the development of strategies for natural products synthesis, studies of the structure and function of small molecules, the chemistry of metal ions in biological systems, the development of novel medicinal agents or mimics of macromolecular function, and the creation of new synthetic methodologies. The branch also supports studies in biotechnology. This work focuses on the development of biological catalysts, including living organisms, the production of useful chemical compounds, medicinal or diagnostic agents, or probes of biological phenomena.

Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences Branch

This branch supports research in pharmacology, anesthesiology, and the physiological sciences. Studies range from the molecular to the organismal level, and can be clinical in nature. In the pharmacological sciences and anesthesiology, important areas are the effects of drugs on the body and the body's effects on drugs, as well as how these effects vary from individual to individual. This includes traditional investigations of the absorption, transport, distribution, metabolism, biotransformation, and excretion of drugs as well as drug delivery strategies and determinants of drug kinetics. An area of emphasis is understanding the mechanisms of drug and endogenous stimuli interactions with receptors and their signal transduction mechanisms. This includes studies of soluble and membrane-bound receptors and channels, secondary and tertiary messenger systems, the membrane environment and its constituents, and mediator molecules and their regulation and pharmacological manipulation. Examples of studies in the physiological sciences include basic and clinical​ investigations directed toward improving understanding of the total body response to injury, including biochemical and physiological changes induced by trauma. Research supported in this branch includes studies of post-traumatic sepsis and the mechanisms of immunosuppression, wound healing, and hyper-metabolism following injury. This branch also supports research in basic molecular immunobiology, which focuses on cells of the immune system.

For more information about the NIGMS Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry, contact:

Dr. Rochelle M. Long
Director, Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
National Institutes of Health
45 Center Drive MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200