Kathy Giacomini, Dean, UCSF School of Pharmacy
The Giacomini research group focuses on expanding our understanding of membrane transporters. Membrane transporters are of great biological and pharmacological importance, as they play a major role in human physiology and in drug disposition and response. Major questions addressed in the laboratory include: What is the function of orphan membrane transporters? What is the in vivo role of membrane transporters in the disposition of endogenous solutes as well as in drug disposition and response? How does genetic variation in membrane transporters affect solute disposition, human disease and drug response? What are the structural determinants of specificity?
Dr. Kathy Giacomini is leading an effort to deorphan transporters in the Solute Carrier 22 Family, and to determine the clinical implications of specific genetic variants in membrane transporters. Research ventures, ranging from basic discovery to clinical studies, have demonstrated that common variants of membrane transporters contribute to differences in drug response in ethnically diverse populations. Ultimately, these studies will increase our knowledge of the genetic basis underlying drug response and will contribute to advancing the era of personalized medicine. Furthermore, our studies will elucidate the genetic mechanisms of decreased drug response and, ultimately, contribute to improving drug design for safe and effective treatments of subgroups of patients who do not respond to standard treatments.
Research in the laboratory focuses on drugs used in the treatment of diseases associated with metabolic syndrome. We are particularly interested in identifying the genetic determinants of the anti-diabetic drugs, metformin and sulfonylureas, highly prescribed drugs. In particular, our research focuses on discovering functional genetic variants that underlie variation in response to these drugs in large ethnically diverse patient populations. Finally, Kathy Giacomini and her collaborator, Russ Altman of Stanford University are the Co-PIs of the UCSF–Stanford Center of Excellence in Regulatory Sciences and Innovation (CERSI) funded by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Established in 2014 and renewed in 2021, the UCSF-Stanford CERSI aims to advance the field of regulatory sciences and improve the development and evaluation of diagnostics, therapeutics and medical devices. The UCSF-Stanford CERSI is the first FDA funded CERSI on the west coast and seeks to address key challenges related to education and research that will advance the discovery and development of medical products.