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Investigators of the UW Obstetric-fetal Pharmacology Research Unit

team photo
Dr. Hebert, second from left, with study staff

Our team of investigators, led by Dr. Mary F. Hebert, includes some of the best and brightest minds at the University of Washington. Because research on how medications affect pregnant and nursing women and their infants matters to everyone.

Mary F. Hebert, PharmD, FCCP
Principal Investigator

Dr. Hebert is a Professor of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy and Core Member of the University of Washington, Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health. She is also recognized as a Fellow by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. Dr. Hebert received her PharmD degree (1987) and completed a Clinical Pharmacy Residency (1988) and Fellowship (1990) at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Hebert joined the University of Washington Faculty in 1996 after serving on the Clinical Faculty at the University of California, San Francisco for 6 years.

Thomas Easterling, MD
Obstetrics Director

Dr. Easterling is a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Acting Director of the Division of Perinatal Medicine. He is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal Fetal Medicine. Dr. Easterling received his B.A. in Psychology (1972) at Davidson College, teaching certification (1973) at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and MD (1981) at the University of North Carolina. He then completed his OB/GYN Residency (1985) at Oregon Health & Science University and his Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship (1987) at the University of Washington. Dr. Easterling joined the University of Washington Faculty in 1985.

Kenneth E. Thummel, Ph.D.
Basic Science Director
Dr. Thummel is Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Boise State University (1981) and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science from the University of Washington (1987). He completed a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. John Schenkman at the University of Connecticut Health Science Center, studying in the field of cytochrome P450 structure and function. In 1989, he joined the faculty at the University of Washington and was promoted to the rank of Professor in 2001. In 1997, he was appointed to the Institute for Public Health Genetics, and currently serves as the program deputy director.

Joanne Wang, Ph.D.
Co-Investigator
Dr. Wang is Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics and an affiliate investigator of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She is a member of the editorial board of AAPS and has served as a referee for several biochemical and pharmacological journals. The research theme in Dr. Wang's laboratory is focused on understanding on the role of membrane transporters in drug distribution into the central nervous system and drug elimination in the kidney. In collaboration with investigators at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Dr. Wang is also investigating the genetic basis that underlies individual variations in transport, metabolism and toxic response to anticancer drugs.

Qingcheng Mao, Ph.D.
Co-Investigator
Dr. Mao is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy. He joined the University of Washington in 2002. Research in Dr. Mao’s laboratory is directed towards understanding the structure and function relationship, molecular mechanisms of medically important ABC transporters, and their role in drug disposition. Currently, his research centers on 1) identification of substrates and inhibitors of the Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (BCRP/ABCG2); 2) molecular mechanisms by which BCRP gene expression is regulated; 3) identification of amino acid residues in BCRP that are critical for substrate recognition and selectivity; 4) in collaboration with structural biologists, he is also engaged in determining BCRP structure; 5) role of BCRP in drug disposition during pregnancy. Knowledge gained from these studies will help us develop new ways to circumvent drug resistance in diseases such as cancers, and will be important for prediction of potential drug-drug interactions and changes in pharmacokinetics of drugs that are BCRP substrates. Dr. Mao’s research has been continuously supported by NIH since 2002.

Danny Shen, Ph.D. 
Co-Investigator
Dr. Shen is currently Professor of Pharmacy, and also holds a Full Professor appointment in the Department of Pharmaceutics. He is a member in the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he directs a pain pharmacology research program. Dr. Shen received his Ph.D. in pharmaceutics from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1975. He held faculty appointments at the University of Kansas Medical Center and State University of New York at Buffalo prior to his joining the faculty at the University of Washington in 1984.

Yvonne Lin, Ph.D. 
Co-Investigator
Dr. Lin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy. She received her B.A. in 1994 from the University of California of Berkeley, and her Ph.D. in 2002 from the University of Washington. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow from 2003-2005 at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.