J. Julius Zhu in UVA Connect: Predicting Disease thru Measuring Molecules

One of UVA Pharmacology’s own researcher, J. Julius Zhu, PhD and his collaborators have created a breakthrough in medicine by developing a method to accurately and efficiently calculate tiny changes in gene mutations as they relate to and interact with molecular changes. Thanks to a new technique developed by Dr. Zhu and his team,  researchers now have a easy way to measure the incredibly subtle changes that go on between gene mutations and the interaction of molecules as they communicate with each other.  With Dr. Zhu’s development and use of a high-tech scientific instrument called “optical tweezers, ” scientists will be able to measure the force required to break up intermolecular bonds between the signaling molecules inside the body enabling researchers to dramatically improve the ability to diagnose disease. For more information on this story and this amazing advancement in medicine please visit:

The Pharmacology Department would like to congratulate Dr. Zhu and his team for this life-changing impact on medicine and research!

UVA leaders, faculty and colleages gather in honor of Dr. Vivian Pinn

Dr. Vivian Pinn, a 1967 graduate was the only woman and African-American in her class, even before women where able to enroll in the undergraduate College. She eventually became the first director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes.  She was also the first African-American woman to give the University’s Commencement Address in 2005.

The UVA community honored Dr. Pinn in Mcleod Hall yesterday, as the newly renamed Pinn Hall is being renovated right next door. Pinn Hall was originally named Jordan Hall in 1972, after Harvey E.  Jordan, a former dean of the School of Medicine and a proponent in the early 1900s of the now discredited scientific eugenics(which served as a basis for discriminating against minority groups, the mentally ill and impoverished communities).

The UVA Board of Visitors voted to change the name of the building last year.  Yesterday was the official dedication of Pinn Hall. UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan said, “For the University of Virginia, it is a privilege to dedicate this space in honor of someone who has spent much of her life shattering glass ceilings and breaking down barriers – someone who has made a powerful impact on the University’s history; the history of medicine and women in medicine; and the future for African-American women.”

To learn more about Dr. Pinn visit links below:

Vivian W. Pinn


Grad Students: Saturday Enrichment Program Employment Opportunities

The Curry School of Education sponsors a program for young scholars, offering fun, but academically advanced courses in a range of topics. The program serves elementary school children who are identified by their teachers as gifted, or highly-able. Courses are offered on 5 consecutive Saturday mornings in January and February – between the first day of spring semester and spring break.


We are seeking UVa graduate students who are pursuing PhD’s or Master’s Degrees in any specialty. No previous experience teaching children is required – just a desire to share your knowledge with a group of young, intensely curious people. If you enjoy interacting with young people, this is a very fun activity. We provide training and as much support as you want or need in preparing the 10 hour curriculum you will teach. We provide all supplies that you may need. We also pair you with at least one Teaching Assistant to help you manage the classroom. These Teaching Assistants are Curry undergraduates who are training to be school teachers. They are enormously helpful and they benefit from learning about your specialty as they move into their teaching careers. Classes are taught in the Curry buildings – Ruffner Hall and the Dells. Class size is 16.


The main motivation that has brought other grad students to this experience is outreach – a chance to introduce a young person to the wonders of your field of expertise. However, we also pay teachers and teaching assistants for their time and effort. Teachers will earn $900 for the 5 Saturdays.


Please consider clicking here to fill out the online application and joining the Saturday Enrichment Program in our effort to inspire the young people in our community. Applications are due Wednesday, September 20.  Paper applications are available and have details about the activity that will help you decide if this might be a good choice for you. This is a well-respected and very popular program, now in its 40th year! We would be thrilled to have you join us this year. If you have any questions or need a paper application, please contact Julie Baird at .



UVA Green Labs wants you to SHUT THE SASH on your fume hood! It is a safe and energy efficient practice when a hood is not in use.


We are recruiting labs in Pinn Hall, MR5, PLSB, and Chemistry to sign up for UVA’s first fume hood best practices competition. CLICK HERE to see competition details and to fill out a registration form. After registering, you will receive a competition form on Sunday October 1st and will have until Tuesday October 31st to complete as many items on the form as you’d like to earn points to WIN! Questions? Email


Congrats go to Michelle Bland: DAE in Teaching Award

The Pharmacology Department would like to recognize and congratulate Michelle Bland for being this year’s recipient of the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Award. UVA SOM recognizes faculty who excel in teaching students. Characteristics that may exemplify teaching excellence include being outstanding as class room instructor, laboratory research mentor, small group discussion leader, dissection group tutor, clinical instructor, student advisor, curriculum innovator, course director, student advocate or director of research. Dr. Bland  has made a major impact in UVA’s learning environment. Her prowess for being an outstanding mentor, teacher and student advocate did not go unrecognized by the many students who’s lives and careers she has impacted.

Keep up the great work Dr. Bland! You are well-deserving of this award! Everyone, please take the time to say thanks to Dr. Bland for being a major asset to the Pharm Department and to the development of our students!

FEAP offering a seminar on stress today at Noon

UVA FEAP is conducting a seminar today, August 17,  in the Old Medical School Auditorium,

Stress: First Aid- Caring for Self and Co-workers

This workshop covers the degrees of stress which can impact people and ways to identify and reduce the impact of such stress.  Most Health Care Professionals have a moderate to high level of stress as usual elements in the work environment.   Personal life can also have events and waves of moderate to high stress levels.  Independently or together those natural factors in life can accumulate and have heavy impact.  There are many ways to expand awareness of stress and how it can become symptomatic.  There are also on-going practices which can help heal, restore, and prevent stress from reaching a point of negatively effecting ones experiences and relationships.  This workshop provides ways to address these issues with tools and practices that can serve you and your co-workers.

To register visit:
Questions: Contact Halima Walker 434-243-9691 or

For more info on this seminar and other seminars offer through UVA FEAP, please visit:





UVA Day of Reflective Dialogue-August 12

In light of this Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally, the University is offering a day of events displaying its commitment to mutual respect and inclusion. If you are looking for an event to attend, consider coming on grounds to participate in a day of reflective dialogue. Please visit the following link for a full list of sessions that will take place throughout the day:

DGKs explained: Congrats to Caroline Franks!

Caroline Franks, a graduate student, co-authored an article, The Ligand Binding Landscape of Diacyglycerol Kinasaes,  by Dr. Ku-Lang Hsu, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at University of Virginia, that was recently published in Cell Chemical Biology. The research presented in the article will soon be highlighted on the ASBMB Lipid Corner website  as a significant advancement in the field. Please click here to view a video by Caroline and Dr. Hsu where they explain their work on DGKs.  The Pharmacology Department sends a huge congrats to Caroline on this major accomplishment!

Yu-Hsin (Eva) Chiu receives First Oral Award

Congratulations to Yu-Hsin (Eva) Chiu(Bayliss Lab) on her recent “mic drop.” Eva received the First Oral Award for best platform presentation by a postdoctoral fellow at the International Gap Junction Conference in Glasgow last week, where she gave a talk entitled “A quantized mechanism for caspase- and alpha1 adrenoceptor-mediated activation of Pannexin 1 channels.” Along with a nice certificate, Eva received a pewter Quaich, from which she will be happy to share fine Scotch in celebration with anyone who sees fit to pour her a wee dram.

Please join the Pharmacology Dept. in acknowledging Eva when see her around for her outstanding achievement!

Attention: Graduate Teaching Assistants

The deadline is fast approaching for the annual Teaching as a Graduate Student Workshop for incoming GTAs. Registration by Wednesday, August 9th is required by all that plan to attend.


Teaching as a Graduate Student(formerly known as the August Teaching Workshop) is a day-long workshop series for new graduate teaching assistants, hosted by the Center for Teaching Excellence. The workshop sessions focus on GTAs’ immediate needs.

Topics include:

  • Getting to know your students
  • Teaching the first day
  • Understanding the principles of learning-centered teaching
  • Negotiating potential pitfalls and difficulties
  • Grading effectively
  • Learning discipline-specific pedagogies such as facilitating discussions, leading labs, and teaching foreign languages

These practical and interactive sessions address teaching across disciplines and are designed to help graduate students teach more efficiently and effectively. For questions about the workshop sessions, please contact 

Since 1990, nearly 5,200 GTAs have found this workshop to be helpful in launching their UVA careers and building community. We encourage all GTAs to take advantage of this opportunity!

Please visit the link below to register: