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Department Chair

  • Claudio R. Alarcón

    Assistant Professor of Pharmacology

    Our lab uses multidisciplinary approaches to understand the impact of RNA metabolism in development, health and disease. We are primarily focused in identifying the physiological and pathophysiological roles of RNA modifications and non-coding RNAs at the molecular, cellular and organismal levels. Claudio, a native of Chile, obtained his Ph.D. from Cornell University in NYC. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University before joining Yale University in 2017.

  • Karen Anderson

    Professor of Pharmacology and of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; Co-Leader, Developmental Therapeutics, Yale Cancer Center; Co-Director Therapeutics/Chemotherapy Program

    Karen S. Anderson is a Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. She is involved in teaching undergraduates and graduate students about drug discovery and structure-based drug design. She also serves as an undergraduate research mentor and is a fellow at Pierson College at Yale serving as a undergraduate freshman advisor. Dr. Anderson's research utilizes mechanistic enzymology and structure-based drug design. Her work focuses on understanding how enzymes, playing critical roles in such diseases as cancer and infectious diseases, including AIDS, work at a molecular level. She uses that information to develop new drug therapies. She has trained over 50 undergraduates, graduate students, M.D./Ph.D. students and postdoctoral students who have gone on to graduate school and medical school as well as successful careers in academia and industry and who are involved in biomedical research.




  • Titus Boggon

    Associate Professor of Pharmacology and of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

    Dr. Boggon is a structural biologist interested in the molecular basis of cytosolic signal transduction cascades. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Manchester, U.K., and postdoctoral studies at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Columbia University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (at Harvard Medical School). His lab is interested in understanding how RhoGTPase signal transduction pathways are regulated at the molecular level, and the molecular basis for acquisition of a  cerebrovascular disorder,  Cerebral Cavernous Malformations (CCM).

  • Jonathan Ellman

    Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Pharmacology

    Jon was born and raised near Los Angeles and received his B.S. degree at MIT and his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley and subsequently joined the faculty at the same institution. Prior to coming to Yale University, he was Professor in the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and jointly held a faculty position in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UC San Francisco. He has published more than 290 research articles on the application of chemistry to biomedical research.

  • Kathryn M. Ferguson

    Associate Professor of Pharmacology; Member, Yale Cancer Biology Institute

    Dr. Ferguson’s research focuses on extracellular control of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), aberrant activation of which can drive cancer and other diseases.  Dr. Ferguson obtained her Ph.D. from Yale in 1996, and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.  She transitioned to an independent faculty position in the Department of Physiology at UPenn in 2003, returning to Connecticut in 2015 to join the Yale Cancer Biology Institute and Department of Pharmacology.

  • Mark A Lemmon

    David A. Sackler Professor of Pharmacology; Associate Cancer Center Director for Basic Science, Yale Cancer Center; Co-director, Cancer Biology Institute

    Mark Lemmon, PhD was appointed the Co-Director of the Cancer Biology Institute and the David A. Sackler Professor of Pharmacology in 2015. Dr. Lemmon returns to Yale, where he completed his PhD in 1993, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. At UPenn, he was the George W. Raiziss Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics as well as Chair of the department and an Investigator at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. Dr. Lemmon’s research focuses on the signaling pathways of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), which, when mutated cause cancers and other diseases.

  • Yansheng Liu

    Assistant Professor of Pharmacology

    Dr. Liu received his PhD of Biomedical Sciences at Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Liu completed a post-doctoral research fellowship (May 2011 - October 2017) in the Proteomics Laboratory of Dr. Ruedi Aebersold in the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Dr. Liu joined Yale Cancer Biology Institute as an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology in December 2017. His research group at Yale aims to contribute to the development of Data independent acquisition (DIA) mass spectrometry and other proteomic techniques and their applications in Cancer Biology and Systems Biology studies. 

  • Elias Lolis

    Professor of Pharmacology; Director of Graduate Studies

    Elias Lolis received his PhD in 1989 from MIT in Chemistry/Biochemistry studying the three-dimensional structure and mechanism of triosephosphate isomerase. He was a postdoctoral associate at the Laboratory of Medical Biochemistry at Rockefeller University studying the functional interaction between advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and the immune system. He joined the Yale faculty in 1991 as an Assistant Professor focusing on the structure, mechanism, and inhibition of chemokines, macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), and their receptors. He has received a

    Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association Faculty Development Award in Basic Pharmacology, the Donaghue Young Investigator Award, and the GlaxoWellcome Award in Drug Discovery.

  • Wei Mi

    Assistant Professor

    Wei Mi obtained his PhD degree in structural biology at Peking University, Beijing, China. Fascinated by structures of membrane proteins, he came to the US and received postdoctoral training at Purdue University, the University of Washington and Harvard Medical School (HMS). At HMS, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Maofu Liao and used single particle cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM) to determine structures of ATP-binding cassette transporters in lipid bilayer environment. In 2019, Dr Mi joined the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine. The focus of his research is to dissect mechanisms of membrane proteins with biochemical and structural approaches.

  • Gary Rudnick

    Professor of Pharmacology

    Professor Rudnick is a graduate of Antioch College, where he received a B.S. in Chemistry in 1968. He performed graduate studies in the enzymology of amino acid racemases in the laboratory of Robert H. Abeles in the Graduate Department of Biochemistry at Brandeis University, receiving a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1974. His graduate studies led to an understanding of the structure and mechanism of proline racemase that was confirmed by the crystal structure of a homologous protein in 2006. From 1973-1975, Professor Rudnick performed postdoctoral research on lactose permease with H. Ronald Kaback at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology. This work provided a greater understanding of binding and transport reactions using photoaffinity reagents and substrate analogs. In 1975, he left Roche to become an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Yale, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1980 and Professor in 1991.

    Professor Rudnick’s research at Yale has focused on the mechanism and structure of mammalian serotonin transporter (SERT). He developed a system of platelet plasma membrane vesicles with which to study the bioenergetics and mechanism of transport. These studies provided an understanding of the coupling of ion gradients to serotonin accumulation and also identified SERT as the molecular target for the antidepressant imipramine and the psychostimulant MDMA (ecstasy).

    Beginning in the 1990s, Professor Rudnick’s laboratory has been studying the molecular characteristics of SERT and other neurotransmitter transporters expressed in cultured cells. These studies led to the identification of the serotonin binding site in SERT and of regions in the protein undergoing conformational changes during transport. The availability of a crystal structure for a homologous bacterial transporter in 2005 allowed Professor Rudnick and his colleagues to use the conformational changes to propose a conformational mechanism of transport that is gaining wide acceptance. Because SERT is structurally related to many other transporters, the proposed mechanism is likely to apply to transporters functioning in many diverse biological systems.

    In addition to these mechanistic studies, Professor Rudnick’s laboratory has been investigating a spontaneously occurring SERT mutant associated with several psychiatric disorders. The mutation apparently inhibits removal of a phosphate group added to SERT by cGMP-dependent protein kinase. The mechanism by which this phosphate increases SERT activity is an active area of investigation.