24th Annual Arthur H. Briggs Lectureship
Thursday, October 19th, 2017 @ 4:00PM
Medical Bldg - Lecture Hall Room 309L


Dr. Arthur BriggsDr. Arthur H. Briggs (pictured left) served as Chair of the Department of Pharmacology at UTHSCSA from 1968 - 1993, during which time he studied the actions of drugs on the cardiovascular system, hypertension, and drugs of abuse. His laboratory published the first papers on the central role of calcium in vascular smooth muscle contraction and the interrelationships between sodium and potassium ions and drugs. These studies led to important advances in the understanding of calcium in smooth muscle function. Since his retirement in 1993, an annual lectureship has been held in his honor.

This year's guest lecturer, Joan Heller Brown, Ph.D. (below), serves as Distinguished Professor and Department Chair at the University of California, San Diego. Her research covers two main topics, GPCRs in growth regulation where they are examining novel mechanisms by which inflammatory mediators that act on G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) stimulate astrocyte proliferation and gene expression and are studying two intriguing novel targets of RhoA. One is phospholipase C epsilon, unique in that it appears to localize to an intracellular compartment and to act as guanine nucleotide exchange factor for another small G-protein Rap1 which activates the oncogene BRaf and we carry out molecular analysis on glioblastoma cell lines, using siRNA or lentiviral shRNA expression to knock down molecules of interest, as well as primary astrocytes isolated from brains of wild type and knockout mice. We assess changes in cell signaling events by Western blotting, by FRET based fluorescence imaging of second messengers and kinases, and by cell proliferation and apoptosis assays. For in vivo studies we examine the role of PLC epsilon and Cyr61 on growth of tumor cells and on tissue response to brain or spinal injury in mice.

The second is signaling pathways in heart diseases, where we use isolated heart cells as a model system, and generate transgenic or knockout mice to probe the relevance of these signaling pathways to development of heart failure in vivo. Of particular interest is why theses mechanisms fail, causing cardiomyocytes to die and making the heart unable to contract effectively and heart failure to develop. We address these questions in cultured cells using knockdown of molecules of interest with siRNA or overexpression by adenoviral vectors. We then translate these findings in vivo using knockout or transgenic mice which can be experimentally manipulated to induce heart failure. We measure changes in gene expression or protein expression/phosphorylation (Western blotting), visualize intracellular localization of molecules (confocal microscopy or FRET), detect cell death (staining or ELISA), measure intracellular Ca mobilization and mitochondrial integrity and evaluate heart function.

The title of her talk is: 'GPCR coupling to RhoA elicits astrocyte inflammation and transcriptional regulation of glioblastoma proliferation and tumor growth'


Dr. Joen Heller Brown
24th Annual Arthur H. Briggs Guest Lecturer Joan Heller Brown, Ph.D.


Dr. Bruce A. Littlefield, 2016
Dr. Peter Senter, 2015
Dr. Husseini K. Manji, 2014
Dr. P. Jeffrey Conn, 2013
Dr. Michel Bouvier, 2012
Dr. James H. Woods, 2011
Dr. Floyd E. Bloom, 2010
Dr. Mark Von Zastrow, 2009
Dr. Tomas Hökfelt, 2008
Dr. Marc Caron, 2007
Dr. Terry Kenakin, 2006
Dr. G. Stanley McKnight, 2005
Dr. Brian Kobilka, 2004
Dr. David J. Triggle, 2003
Professor James Black, 2002
Dr. Raymond J. Dingledine, 2001
Dr. William A. Catterall, 2000
Dr. Henry Bourne, 1999
Dr. Ira Black, 1998
Dr. Lee E. Limbird, 1997
Dr. Ian Creese, 1996
Dr. Michael Moskowitz, 1995
Dr. Perry Molinoff, 1994