Dr. Thomas P. Davis is Professor of Medical Pharmacology in the College of Medicine and Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the College of Pharmacy, at the University of Arizona. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Loyola University (1973), his M.Sc. in physiology with honors from the University of Nevada (1975) and his Ph.D. in physiology/biochemistry with high honors from the University of Missouri (1978). He carried out award winning, postdoctoral training at Abbott Pharmaceutical Company as a development chemist and founder of the analytical HPLC confirmation laboratory in the therapy monitoring venture group (TDx) before joining the University of Arizona faculty in November of 1980. Dr. Davis’ research interests include studies of the molecular, biochemical and pathophysiological mechanisms associated with maintenance and disruption of the blood-brain barrier / endothelial cell tight junction proteins and neurovascular unit that leads to CNS drug delivery challenges, in several disease states associated with stroke and acute pain states. He has studied these challenges of drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier with continuous basic research grant awards from the N.I.H. from 1981 to 2025 (44 years). His pioneering program of research has published 245 well cited, peer-reviewed research articles with a H index of 66 and a i10 index of 187. He has served as a chartered member on five N.I.H., brain disorders clinical neurosciences (BDCN) study sections, including N.S.F. and V.A. study sections. Dr. Davis also directed the synthesis of the new stroke drug, 3K3A activated protein C, while continuing to serve on the scientific advisory board (SAB) of ZZ-Biotech LLC since 2006. 3K3A-APC recently completed a very successful Phase 2 “Rhapsody” Clinical Trial in 2018 and has received FDA “Fast Track” recognition. Dr. Davis was awarded a special citation from the University of Arizona Chair of the Faculty for his extraordinary and expert service to the University in 2001, a special award citation from Loyola-Marymount University College of Science and Engineering for inclusion on their Alumni Wall of Fame in 2003, and awarded The Founders Day Award from The University of Arizona College of Medicine in 2011. Dr. Davis continues as a P.I. of a newly awarded NIH RO1 drug delivery grant out to 2025, while also teaching two very popular honors undergraduate Pharmacology and Toxicology classes and a Ph.D. level graduate course in medical pharmacology at the University of Arizona Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy in Tucson , where he has completed his 40th year of service to the University.
Our Brain Barriers Reserach laboratory continues its long-term biodistribution / neuropathology research program, continuously funded by N.I.H. since 1981, by studying the mechanisms involved in delivering drugs across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) to the central nervous system (CNS) in neuropathological disease states. We have recently discovered specific drug transporters affected by pathologies that can be targeted to enhance drug delivery. We are also actively studying the effect of neuropathologies such as hypoxia, stroke, and acute versus chronic pain on endothelial cell tight junction integrity , leak, permeability and P-glycoprotein transporter trafficking at the BBB. We have recently shown that short-term hypoxia and MCAO leads to significant alterations in permeability that can be reversed by specific calcium channel antagonists. This work has significant consequences to the study of stroke. Additionally, we have shown that peripheral inflammatory pain and drug-drug interactions have significant effects on BBB transporter trafficking to the lumen of the brain endothelial cells leading to limitations in the delivery of analgesics such as codeine and morphine, to the CNS. We are now in the exciting position of coupling our program in analgesic drug biodistribution with our program in neuropathology at the neurovascular unit.