Student Information Training Programs Research Centers

Pharmacology & Toxicology

Research and Graduate Training Faculty


Mills, Edward M., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pharm./Tox.
Bergen-Brunswig Fellow
BME 3.510D

Research Interests

Play Video The broad focus of our research group is to define the molecular pathways that regulate aging and age-related diseases.   In diverse organisms ranging from worms to mammals, the over-consumption of food dramatically decreases lifespan and calorie restriction markedly slows the rate of aging.  Obesity is caused by a surfeit of nutrients, and is one of the most important pro-aging conditions in the developed world; it shortens lifespan by significantly increasing the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, and numerous cancers.  In aggregate, these diseases account for the vast majority of deaths in most nations worldwide.  What are the biological mechanisms linking nutrient status and metabolism to this plethora of devastating diseases?  To address this question, we largely focus our scientific efforts on mitochondria for two main reasons.  First, mitochondria metabolize the vast majority of nutrients that we consume.  Second, mitochondrial dysfunction is strongly implicated in virtually every age-related disease.  The approaches we use include a combination of genetics, molecular biology, 'omics screens, and biochemical techniques in cells and genetically modified animals.   Some examples of research projects we are currently or soon to be working on include the following:

  1. The role of uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation (e.g. uncoupling proteins, UCP1-5) in the regulation of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue metabolism, and in obesity and type II diabetes development / prevention.

  2. The identification of the signals and cytoplasmic sensors that link mitochondrial metabolic changes to cell differentiation, growth and tumor development.

  3. The use of the C. elegans nematode as a genetic model system to understand the role of novel mitochondrial metabolic regulatory proteins in aging and metabolic physiology. 

  4. The development of drugs to stimulate metabolic fuel disposal as an anti-obesity and anti-aging pharmacologic strategy.

  5. The mechanisms regulating the efficiency of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. 

For more information see: Mills Lab

Last Reviewed: March 24, 2015

Division Information

Mailing Address:
Pharmacology & Toxicology
College of Pharmacy
The University of Texas
at Austin
107 W. Dean Keeton
Stop C0875
Austin, TX, USA

Email Address: pharmtox

Phone: 512-471-5158

Parkinson Gene Link May Aid Battle Against Disease

Dr. Som Mukhopad-
hyay led the research team that focused on the gene SLC30A10 and its role as a "door opener" in helping to remove elevated levels of manganese from cells. The study was published in the Oct. 15, 2014 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

> Read more about Dr. Mukhopadhyay's research.

Erickson Authors New Book

"Drugs, the Brain and Behavior" is co-authored by Dr. Carlton Erickson, the college's associate dean for research and graduate studies, and Dr. John Brick, executive director of Intoxikon International.

> Read more about Dr. Erickson's new book.

Gore receives SEBM award

Andrea Gore is named to the SEBM Distinguished Scientist Award.

> Read more about Dr. Gore's new award.

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