Pharmacological Science Summer Diversity Program (PSSDP)

About The Program

The Pharmacological Sciences Summer Diversity Program (“PSSDP” or “the Program”) provides research opportunities for talented undergraduate students from diverse social and cultural backgrounds to perform hands-on research in the basic biological and physical sciences, in the broadly defined areas of drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics, cellular pharmacology, molecular pharmacology, and biophysical virology.

The Program will host three undergraduate students in the Departments of Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmaceutics, and Pharmacology, selected from a national pool of applicants as well as those enrolled at the UW. In addition to intensive research experiences, participants will benefit from graduate student, post-doctoral, and faculty mentors. Participants will also receive a generous stipend, living accommodations, and a transportation allowance for travel to and from the UW campus.

About Seattle

Outside of research and the lab, students have the opportunity to explore the sights of Seattle and experience the local culture. For more information, visit the UW’s Seattle Life page.


The Program is open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and DACA recipients.  Application deadline for 2021: February 22, 2021.  Program dates for 2021: June 21 – August 20, 2021.   Students must be able to commit to these dates in order to apply and be considered for acceptance into the Program. Please note: The Program will proceed as planned in the Summer of 2021 if the state of the COVID-19 pandemic allows us to do so in a safe and reasonable manner. However, if necessary we may be forced to suspend or cancel the Program for this year. We sincerely apologize for the uncertainty. More information, and application instructions, can be found on the Information for Applicants page.


Participating Faculty

Department of Medicinal Chemistry

Atkins, William M.
Lab website
Structure-function mechanism of glutathione S-transferases and cytochrome P450; protein engineering of supramolecular aggregates.

Bhardwaj, Gaurav
Lab website
Computational Peptide design for targeted therapeutics; designing new antibiotics and antivirals; targeting chronic pain with non-opioid macrocycles; Integrating de novo peptide design with the high-throughput peptide library synthesis

Guttman, Miklos
Characterizing the structures and biophysical properties of complex antigen-antibody interactions; development of methods for glycosylation analysis.

Lee, Kelly
Lab website
Biophysical studies of conformational dynamics in viruses. Influenza Hemagglutinin: Structure, Dynamics and Cooperativity During Fusion.

Nath, Abhinav
Lab website
Protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases; protein-based therapeutics; single-molecule fluorescence methods; computational modeling.

Rettie, Allan E.
Drug metabolism: Structure-function relationships and pharmacogenetics of P450.

Totah, Rheem A.
Endogenous and exogenous functions of CYP2C8 and CYP2J2 and their role in extrahepatic toxicity.

Xu, Libin
Lab website
Mechanism of lipid oxidation and metabolism and their roles in human diseases; the interface of Organic Chemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Mass Spectrometry.

Department of Pharmaceutics

Thummel, Kenneth E.
Mechanisms of inter-individual variability in CYP3A expression and catalytic activity; pharmacokinetic modeling of human intestinal and hepatic drug metabolism and drug-drug interactions.

Hu, Shiu-Lok
Structure and function of Viral antigens; vaccine and therapy against primate immunodeficiency viruses (SIV, HIV-1 and HIV-2).

Isoherranen, Nina
Metabolism, disposition and biological effects of Retinoic acid; Role of P450 enzymes in fetal development; Drug disposition and safety during pregnancy; Pharmacokinetic modeling and molecular mechanisms of drug-drug interactions.

Lin, Yvonne
Drug Interactions, Mass Spectrometry, Pediatrics, Pharmacokinetics/Pharmacodynamics.

Mao, Qingcheng
ABC protein-mediated drug transport; structure, function and molecular mechanisms of ABC transporters; Role of ABC transporters in drug disposition during pregnancy.

Unadkat, Jashvant
Mechanisms of transport and metabolism of drugs used in the treatment of AIDS and AIDs-associated opportunistic infections.

Wang, Joanne
Mechanism of drug transport and disposition in the CNS; Role of membrane transporters in drug elimination in the kidney.

Department of Pharmacology

Bajjalieh, Sandra M.
Web site
Molecular basis of neurotransmission, the role of Synaptic Vesicle Protein 2 in modulating neurotransmitter release, and the role of lipid modifying enzymes in neuronal function.

Chavkin, Charles (Center for Drug Addiction Research)
Web site
Molecular signal transduction mechanisms mediating the addictive properties of drugs of abuse: morphine and cocaine.

Gardner, Richard G.
Web site
Ubiquitin-mediated regulation in the nucleus: nuclear protein quality control and its role in protecting against neurodegenerative diseases; regulation of chromatin structure in telomere silencing, gene activation, and DNA repair; global ubiquitin proteomics to identify novel ubiquitination pathways.

Hague, Christopher
Web site
G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs).

McKnight, G. Stanley (Population Research Center)
Web site
Cyclic AMP mediated signal transduction.

Ong, Shao-En
Web site
Quantitative proteomics to investigate protein complexes in cell signaling and gene regulation.

Scott, John  (Howard Hughes Medical Institute)
Web site
Specificity of signal transduction events that are controlled by anchoring proteins, regulation of signal transduction in time and space.

Stella, Nephi  (Psychiatry & Behavioral Science)
Web site
Cells and receptors controlling neuroinflammation.

Wang, Edith H.
Web site
Control of gene expression in cell proliferation, muscle differentiation and human disease.

Zheng, Ning
Web site
Structural biology of protein ubiquitination and protein degradation.