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Department of Clinical Pharmacy

Drug Research Unit

The Drug Research Unit (DRU) is the biomedical research unit of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy. The primary goal of the DRU is to provide a working and learning environment in which clinical faculty, research fellows, pharmacy fellows, pharmacy residents, and students carry out drug research, particularly in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Areas of expertise include clinical trial design, pharmacokinetic analysis, statistical analysis, analytical methodology, and drug assay development. Analytical services are provided by the UCSF community, other academic institutions, and the pharmaceutical industry.

Studies in drug stability, drug bioequivalence, pharmacokinetics, drug-drug and drug-disease state interactions are conducted at the DRU. Specific drug classes studied include antiretrovirals, antimicrobials, antifungals, and immunosuppressive agents. Our most recent analytical emphasis has been quantification of the intracellular phosphorylated anabolites and nucleoside analogs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Furthermore, the DRU has been investigating various facets of protease inhibitor pharmacokinetics, such as use in pregnancy and penetration into the central nervous system. The Drug Research Unit is also a Core Pharmacology Laboratory for the Adult and Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group and the National Institutes of Health.

The DRU is located at San Francisco General Hospital, where we occupy approximately 2300 square feet of renovated laboratory and administrative space. Clinical trials are conducted in the General Clinical Research Center, under the direction of the DRU's principal investigator, Dr. Francesca Aweeka.

The Drug Research Unit is directed by Dr. Aweeka. Support personnel include one research chemist, one research coordinator, one staff research associate, two pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics fellows, two postdoctoral researchers and an administrative assistant. Department of Clinical Pharmacy residents utilize the professional expertise and the DRU facilities to carry out their residency research projects.

For more information, contact the Program Director, Francesca Aweeka, Pharm.D.


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