Welcome new faculty

James Frank, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

James Frank, Ph.D. joined the Department of Chemical Physiology and Biochemistry as Assistant Professor on July 1, 2021. The Frank lab develops light-sensitive small molecule probes to manipulate neurons with increased spatiotemporal precision. In particular, we focus on developing photo-switchable and photo-caged ligands which permit remote control over cannabinoid receptor (CBR) activity. We use these tools to understand the mechanisms by which cannabinoid signaling mediates the secretion of neurotransmitters and hormones from excitable cells, and how these concerted events drive behavior and energy homeostasis in vivo.

Discovery raises possibility of new medication for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's

Drs. Sky Ferrara and Tom Scanlan in the Department of Chemical Physiology and Biochemistry have for the first time demonstrated it's possible to use a synthetic thyroid hormone to regulate a gene implicated in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis. Read about the discovery HERE.


Congratulations to Drs. Mike Andresen, Ginny Brooks, and Oline Ronnekleiv on being awarded Professor Emeritus in recognition for their distinguished service to OHSU and science. 

Highlighted publications

Research findings raise the possibility of development of new medication to treat debilitating diseases. Ferrara, S.J., Chaudhary, P., DeBell, M.J., Marracci, G., Miller, H., Calkins, E., Pocius, E., Napier, B.A., Emery, B., Bourdette, D., Scanlan. T.S. TREM2 is thyroid hormone regulated making the TREM2 pathway druggable with ligands for thyroid hormone receptorCell Chemical Biology, 2021.

Recent News

Dean's Research Scholar Program

The Dean's Research Scholar Program (DRSP) was developed to recruit top interdisciplinary postdoctoral researchers to OHSU to catalyze novel interdisciplinary research. DRSP is a distinctive opportunity to start a research career pursuing a state-of-the-art project at the cross-section of disciplines.