UTHSCSA Faculty Profiles v1.0

Berg, Kelly A

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
(210) 567-3528

Since 1994, I have been a member of the Pharmacology Department Faculty. My career has taken a non-traditional path as I received my first faculty appointment in the Department of Pharmacology here at UTHSCSA (now UT Health-San Antonio), as well as promotion to Assistant Professor/Research before beginning my Ph.D. degree program in the fall of 2002. My Ph.D. research was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Julie Hensler (Professor, Department of Pharmacology) and successfully defended in July of 2007. I was honored by the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences with the Armand J. Guarino Award for Excellence in Doctoral Studies in 2008. In September of 2011, I was promoted to Associate Professor/Research in the Department of Pharmacology. As evidenced by numerous publications and funding, I have maintained a productive collaboration over the years with my colleague, Dr. William Clarke, with whom I have laboratory space dedicated to me.

For over 20 years, I have played an integral role in obtaining NIH funding for pharmacological/neuroscience research. My work has centered on questions concerning the molecular nature of drug efficacy and the mechanisms by which the efficacy of drugs can be regulated. My major contributions (outlined below) have included providing foundational support for paradigm shifts in our understanding of G-protein coupled receptor pharmacology including the concepts of ligand functional selectivity, ligand independent (constitutive) receptor activity and inverse agonism, as well as demonstrations of regulation of agonist/inverse agonist efficacy by differential desensitization of signaling pathways. More recently, my work has focused on regulation of agonist efficacy at opioid receptors and opioid receptor heteromers in peripheral pain-sensing neurons (nociceptors). Currently I am a Principal Investigator on one NIH funded RO1 grant and co-investigator on an additional RO1 grant and 2 R21 grants from the NIH.

I strongly support the Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) Graduate Program at UT Health-San Antonio. I am credentialed as a mentoring faculty member of the Pharmacology/ Physiology Discipline and the Neuroscience Discipline. In addition, I am currently a member of the student oversight committee of the Neuroscience Discipline. Over the past 20 years, I have supervised numerous undergraduate summer rotations and PhD student rotations in our laboratory, and have played an integral role in training 6 PhD students. More recently, I have assumed the role of primary mentor. In the fall of 2015, one Ph.D. student under my direct supervision successfully defended her thesis. Currently, I have one PhD student under my direct supervision and co-supervise another with Dr. Clarke. I also support the training programs that provide research training for young investigators as well as programs focused on increasing diversity in our pool of biomedical research scientists. I currently serve (term 2015-2020) on the internal advisory board for NIH/NIDA T32DA031115 ?Training in Drug Abuse Research: Behavior and Neurobiology? (Dr Charles France, Director). In addition, I am listed as a primary mentor for the NIH/NIGMS R25 grant ?Initiative for Maximizing Student Development ? (Dr. Nicquet Blake, PI) which supports underrepresented minority students, a mentoring faculty member for the NIH/NINDS T32NS082145 "Integrated Graduate Training Program in Neuroscience" (Dr. David Morilak, PI) and a mentoring faculty member for the "Craniofacial Oral-Biology Student Training in Academic Research (COSTAR)" training grant (T32DE14318, Dr. Ken Hargreaves, PI).

9/2011 - Present Associate Professor / Research The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Pharmacology, San Antonio, TX