A little history: Originally founded by William MacNider in 1906 as the Laboratory of Pharmacology, UNC boasts one of the ten original departments of pharmacology in the United States. During the first five decades of its existence, the department never exceed three faculty, and often relied on part-time lecturers, sometimes drawn from the ranks of enrolled medical students, to fulfill its teaching mission. The department admitted its first doctoral candidates in 1968 and first conferred its PhDs in 1971 to Jo Ann Nuite, Ahmed Mahgoub, and James Stephen Kennedy. Under the early leadership of Paul Munson (1965-1976) and John Perkins (1977-1984) the department grew substantially in size, funding and scope. Subsequent chairs Rudy Juliano (1987-2002), Gary Johnson (2003-2016) and Henrik Dohlman (2016-present) have ushered in a new era of scientific prominence, technologies and emerging therapeutics, ranging from stem cells to RNA interference and gene therapy.


    • 74 faculty members
    • 19 primary tenure-track appointees
    • 25 tenure-track joint appointees
    • 8 adjunct faculty, with 5 at other institutions
    • 22 research assistant or associate professors
    • 35 graduate students and 32 postdoctoral scientists

Funding and Productivity


  • Located on the 4th Floor of the new Genetic Medicine Building
  • Wireless internet access is available throughout our space in the Genetic Medicine Building

Research strengths

  • Signal transduction
  • Cancer and antibiotic pharmacology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Experimental therapeutics
  • Network and pathway analysis and modeling

Supported facilities