Todd W. Vanderah PhD

University of Arizona

Dr. Vanderah is a Professor and Head of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, at the University fo Arizona. He has worked in the area of Neuropharmacology for over 20 years that has resulted in 170 peer-reviewed publications and continual NIH funding since his appointment as an Assistant Professor. His work focuses on identifying novel molecular targets on pain pathways in order to attenuate acute and chronic pain while reducing unwanted side effects. He has established neural-networks within the brain stem that modulate pain and opioid reward. He has recently discovered a neural pathway from the prefrontal cortex to the brainstem that plays a role in enhancing chronic pain with goals of how to alter function in this pathway to attenuate chronic pain. He has investigated novel mechanisms in inhibiting opioid reward in the dopamine cells of the ventral tegmental region of the brain including NK-1 antagonists and non-psychotropic cannabinoids. Recently he has investigated the use of an Angiotensin fragment that may be active at a MasR to inhibit chronic inflammation while inhibiting CNS inflammation-induced cognitive impairment. These studies using a preclinical model of TBI demonstrate significant changes in cognition and histological changes in areas of the CNS. His work includes screening novel targets, measuring second messenger pathways, performing in vitro and in vivo preclinical assays, as well as recently working on clinical research trials. Dr. Vanderah has several years of experience in drug development including experience with pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and in vivo behavioral measurements. Previous experience with drug development stems from his 4.5 years as the Pharmacology Group Leader for Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc. While with Ferring Inc., he helped develope three compounds from the preclinical side that were pushed into clinical phase testing.
As a Professor Dr. Vanderah has mentored many junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduated 17 students while achieving 20 teaching awards from the COM. He currently sits on multiple NIH grant review study sections and is the author of three text books.