William T. Gerthoffer, Ph.D.

Research Professor of Pharmacology

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., Pharmacology, West Virginia University
  • B.S., Biology, Waynesburg College, Waynesburg, PA


  • 1978-1980 Postdoctoral Fellow, Section of Cardiovascular Sciences, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
  • 1980-1982 Research Associate, Department of Physiology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA
  • 1982-1987 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology, University of Nevada School of Medicine
  • 1987-1995 Associate Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology, University of Nevada School of Medicine
  • 1993 Sabbatical Leave, Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology, National Institutes of Health
  • 1995-2007 Professor, Department of Pharmacology, University of Nevada School of Medicine
  • 1996-2001 Interim Chairman, Department of Pharmacology, University of Nevada School of Medicine
  • 2006 Visiting Scientist, Molec. Integr. Physiological Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health
  • 2007-2017 Professor and Chair of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of South Alabama
  • 2017-present Research Professor of Pharmacology, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Research Interests

The current focus of my research the function of microRNAs in determining smooth muscle phenotype and the influence of signal transduction pathways on function of the miRNA induced silencing complexes (miRISC). Two miRNAs of current interest are miR-145 and miR-155. The miR-143~145 cluster regulates translation of messenger RNAs that code for transcriptional regulators of smooth muscle-restricted proteins. MiR-145 is emerging as a master regulator of structural protein composition of the vascular and airway walls. miR-155 is an important regulator of lung inflammation that is necessary for the innate immune response to allergens. We are testing the notion that miRNAs are important epigenetic regulators of protein expression that underlies adaptation of the cardiovascular, respiratory and immune systems to adapt to changes in environment. Such input varies under both normal and pathological conditions including vascular injury, hypertension and airways obstruction. These basic research problems led us to investigate ways to translate advances in microRNA biology to novel RNAi-based therapy of asthma and pulmonary hypertension.

Courses Taught

Graduate Education:

  • 1990-2005 Molecular Pharmacology Presented lectures to graduate students on autonomic pharmacology and the role of covalent modification of protein in drug receptor signal transduction. Topics included protein phosphorylation in signal transduction.
  • 1989-1998 Neuroeffector Pharmacology Served as the course coordinator and presented lectures to graduate students on cellular physiology and pharmacology of smooth muscles and current topics in neurobiology.
  • 1985-2007 Molecular Cell Biology - Lectures were presented to graduate students on muscle contraction, nonmuscle cell motility, cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix.
  • 1995, 1998 Communications in Pharmacology and Physiology - Graduate course on lecture techniques, preparation of seminars and professional presentations, preparation of manuscripts, grant applications and peer review process, scientific ethics.
  • 2007-2017 Univ. South Alabama - IDL 577, IDL 580, IDL 581, IDL 630 - Interdisciplinary graduate courses in biomedical sciences Ph.D. training program. Topics included electrophoresis, western blotting, smooth muscle physiology, skeletal muscle development, cytoskeleton and cell migration.

Medical Education:

  • 1974 1978: Graduate assistant in the Medical Pharmacology course at West Virginia University. The main duties were assisting with in vivo autonomic and cardiovascular pharmacology laboratories.
  • 1982 2007 Medical Pharmacology Primary assignment was antimicrobial drugs and cancer chemotherapy. Also presented lectures on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antihypertensive drugs and a brief overview of toxicology. Assistant course coordinator (1997-2001). Course Coordinator (2002-2007).
  • 1996-2004 Medical Cell Biology (1996, 1997, 2004) - Lectures were presented to medical students on nonmuscle cell motility, cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix proteins.
  • 1998-2007 Problems in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (1998 - 2002) - Fourth year elective rotation for medical students. Reviewed current topics in therapeutics of interest to the student.
  • 2007-2008 Medical Biochemistry - Lectures on molecular biology, protein and nucleic acid metabolism and nutritional biochemistry.
  • 2009-2011 Medical Biochemistry - Course coordinator.
  • 2012-2017 Foundations of Human Health - Module director and presented lectures and team-based learning lessons on molecular biology, genetic diseases and fundamentals of laboratory medicine. Developed "flipped classroom" modules for teaching medical molecular biology and protein biochemistry
  • 2013-2017 Gastrointestinal System module - Inborn errors of amino acid metabolism, protein metabolism

Selected Publications

  • Joshi SR1, McLendon JM, Comer BS, Gerthoffer WT. MicroRNAs-control of essential genes: Implications for pulmonary vascular disease. Pulm Circ. 2011 Jul-ep;1(3):357-64. PMC3224427
  • Joshi S.R., Comer B.S., McLendon J.M. and Gerthoffer W.T. (2012). MicroRNA regulation of smooth muscle phenotype. Mol. Cell. Pharmacol., 4(1): 1-16. PMC4190587
  • Gerthoffer W.T., Solway, J. and Camoretti-Mercado, B. Emerging targets for novel therapy of asthma. Current Opinion Pharmacol., 13(3): 324-330, 2013. PMC3686997
  • Comer, BS, Ba, M, Singer, CA and Gerthoffer, WT. Epigenetic targets for novel therapies of lung diseases. Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 147: 91-110, 2015. PMC4323764
  • McLendon, JM, Joshi, SR, Matar, M, Fewell, JG, Fukumoto, Y, Shimokawa, H, Abe, K, Oka, M, McMurtry, IF and Gerthoffer, WT. MicroRNA-145 inhibitor improves lung structure and heart function in severe pulmonary hypertension, J. Controlled Release, Jul 28;210:67-7, 2015. PMC4477514

Link to PubMed

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Gerthoffer +WT