June 12, 1998

Emeson named Hardman Professor of Pharmacology

Emeson named Hardman Professor of Pharmacology

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Ronald Emeson, Ph.D., here working with post-doctoral fellow Minati Singh, was recently named the first Joel G. Hardman Professor of Pharmacology. (Photo by Donna Jones Bailey)

Ronald B. Emeson, Ph.D., associate professor of Pharmacology and director of Graduate Studies for the Pharmacological Sciences Training Program, has been named the first Joel G. Hardman Professor of Pharmacology.

The chair was named in honor of Hardman, previously chair of Pharmacology and recently retired as associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

"Ron Emeson is already an acknowledged leader in the now highly competitive research area of RNA editing," said Lee E. Limbird, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for research.

"At Vanderbilt, Ron is recognized for his shared enthusiasm, willingness to help and teach, and effectiveness in graduate student mentoring, which was recognized by his 1995 receipt of the Teaching Award by the graduate students in the Pharmacological Sciences Training Program."

Emeson, a member of the Vanderbilt faculty since 1991, said the establishment of the chair and its attached funds will enhance investigational opportunities.

"I¹m thrilled to be accorded such an honor. The endowment of this chair provides needed additional funds that will promote creativity in research," he said.

Emeson received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Following that, he did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Diego.

He joined the VUMC faculty as an assistant professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics in 1991. His early and continuing research involves the study of calcitonin-gene related peptide (CGRP), a pleitropic peptide neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.

Emeson is also pursuing research that involves an RNA processing event called RNA editing. RNA editing represents a unique cellular modification by which the coding potential of DNA can be subtly altered ‹ at the RNA level ‹ to increase the diversity of gene expression by producing multiple proteins from a single genomic locus with distinct physiological functions.

His research in this area has provided insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying RNA editing as well as the identification of additional RNAs that are subject to these modification events.

"Ron and his colleagues have contributed in initial and important ways to characterization of the adenosine deaminases that specifically participate in this RNA editing process," Limbird said.

Further studies, in collaboration with Elaine Sanders-Bush, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology, were the first to demonstrate that this RNA editing process also occurs for G-protein coupled receptors. As a result, editing gives rise to variants of serotonin receptors that manifest altered coupling to G proteins, and thus altered capabilities of effecting trans-synaptic communication.