CDDR Faculty and Staff

MoranJeffery H. Moran, Ph.D., is the Director for the Center of Drug Detection and Response.  Moran also serves as the Branch Chief in Environmental Chemistry at the Arkansas Public Health Laboratory, Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), and is concurrently employed as an Assistant Professor and Research Instructor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.    Through Moran and his laboratories, ADH partners with the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to support forensic investigations impacting public health. Moran began his toxicological training as an undergraduate at Arkansas Tech University in 1994 and published his first article in 1996, which reported a new analytical technique to detect cell death.    Since that time, his career and independent studies has focused on the detection and mechanisms of environmental toxicants, endogenous molecules and drugs of abuse

PratherPaul L. Prather, Ph.D., currently serves as a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).   Prather began his career as a registered pharmacist in Dallas Texas.     He later attended the University of Georgia where he completed his Ph.D. in Pharmacology, and had postdoctoral fellowships at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, and the University of Minnesota.     He became an Assistant Professor at UAMS in 2002.   His research interests involve understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the addictive states produced by drugs of abuse. Specifically, for over 20 years he has investigated the cellular and molecular mechanisms of signal transduction mediated by G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) with which drugs of abuse interact. His most research studies involve the pharmacological characterization of synthetic cannabinoids present in the emerging drug of abuse K2 or Spice. In collaboration with Moran, Radominska-Pandya and several members of the K2 Investigative Team at UAMS, he recently reported that several hydroxylated Phase I metabolites of JWH-018 (a commonly observed K2 cannabinoid) retain high affinity and activity for CB1 receptors.   Prather also just published a second manuscript showing that a metabolite of a second K2 synthetic cannabinoid JWH-073, acts as a high affinity neutral antagonist at CB1 receptors (Kb = 41.9 nM). Therefore, he proposes that these metabolites, exhibiting unique properties, may act “in concert” to produce the distinct pharmacology and toxicity of synthetic K2 cannabinoids observed in human users.

SPaT FantegrossiWilliam Fantegrossi, Ph.D., currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). He received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 2002, then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan Medical School. During this time, Fantegrossi became a member of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence Drug Evaluation Committee, and began investigating the abuse liability of emerging opioids, psychostimulants, and hallucinogens. His first faculty position was as an Assistant Research Professor at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Undergraduate Faculty at Emory University, and concurrently, as a visiting Assistant Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Fantegrossi was appointed as an Assistant Professor at UAMS in 2007, and currently serves as President of the International Study Group Investigating Drugs as Reinforcers. His research interests continue to focus on the behavioral pharmacology of emerging drugs of abuse. Specifically, Fantegrossi investigates the behavioral and physiological effects of novel psychostimulants, opioids, hallucinogens, and cannabinoids in mice, rats, and non-human primates. His laboratory has established several fruitful collaborations with others to expand behavioral observations, correlating changes in neuropharmacological measures with functional data. In March of 2013, Fantegrossi’s work with the synthetic cathinone analogue 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV, a common constituent of illicit “bath salt” products) was featured on the cover of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology

Laura James, M.D., is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute.   She is also the Section Chief of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology for the Department of Pediatrics, a position which she has held since 2006.      James received her MD from the University of South Carolina in 1988. James has extensive experience in NIH funded network grants and in clinical and translational research.  In addition, her laboratory has a mouse model of acetaminophen toxicity that has been used to study mechanisms of toxicity and liver regeneration in DILI.   James has a research support staff of three research nurses, one regulatory coordinator, two laboratory technicians, and two PhD’s.  As a clinical pharmacologist, she has worked with a large number of faculty members in the Department of Pediatrics at UAMS and other clinical pharmacologists at numerous institutions around the US.  In addition, from her expertise in acetaminophen toxicity, she has interacted with a large number of investigators from hepatology centers throughout the US, particularly the principal investigators of sites participating in the Acute Liver Failure Study Group funded by the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases.   The development of the HPLC-EC assay for determination of acetaminophen protein adducts in human blood samples may a significant contribution to the current understanding of drug induced liver injury in the US.   James and her collaborators are currently developing a rapid lateral flow assay for the detection of acetaminophen protein adducts in human samples that could be utilized in hospital laboratories and clinics.  She has an ongoing NIH grant to use proteomic and metabolomic approaches to determine new biomarkers of drug toxicity.

Anna Radominska-Pandya, Ph.D., currently serves as a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). She received her PhD from the University of Warsaw, Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland. She completed her postdoctoral training in Molecular Biology at Ohio State University in Columbus.  She began her career as a Research Scientist, and later an Assistant Professor, in the area of Gastroenterology at the University of Texas Medical School. She was an Associate Professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine before coming to UAMS in 1990 as an Associate Professor in the Gastroenterology Division. She has been a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology since 1998.  Over the past two decades Radominska-Pandya has been one of the leading investigators in the area of UGTs and glucuronidation. Her laboratory has been involved in the characterization and purification of UGT enzymes, cloning and expressing recombinant proteins, performing detailed structure function relationship studies, and investigating the transcriptional regulation of UGTs. Recently, the focus of her lab has been revealing the role of UGTs in the control of steady state concentrations of drugs and natural ligands for nuclear receptors and signaling pathways. Her laboratory has evaluated of the role of warfarin, resveratrol analog, and classical cannabinoid glucuronidation, in the potential biological functions of those compounds as well as the role of glucuronidation in maintaining overall homeostasis. Radominska-Pandya believes this present proposal, which focuses on establishing the importance Phase I and II biotransformation in synthetic cannabinoid metabolism, represents a logical extension of her research.

Gregory Endres, Ph.D.Gregory Endres, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Cayman Chemical in Ann Arbor, MI, a position which he has held since 2009.    Prior to this appointment, Endres has served in other positions at Cayman Chemical, first as an organic chemist from 1995-1997, and later as a scientist in the research laboratory from 2004 to 2007, and manager of medicinal chemistry from 2007 to 2009.    Endres previously was a senior scientist in medicinal chemistry at UCB Research in Cambridge, MA (2001-2004). Endres received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Wayne State University in 2001, following his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1995.

Cindy MoranCindy Moran is currently a Quality Assurance Manager with the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory (ASCL). She has held this position since 2009. Previously, she was the Assistant Chief Forensic Chemist from 2006-2009; Safety Officer from 2003-2009; and a Forensic Chemist from 1999-2009. She also currently coordinates grants at ASCL. Moran is a cum laude graduate of Lyon College in Batesville Arkansas. She received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a minor in Biology in 1999. Since graduation, she has received training in quality assurance management, management, forensic chemistry, grants management, and safety.  She is presently a member of the Association of Forensic Quality Assurance Managers. She has also been a member of the Bioterrorism Advisory Committee, the American Chemical Society Health and Safety Division, the Clandestine Laboratory Investigating Chemists, Southwestern Association of Forensic Chemists, the American Chemical Society, and the Central Arkansas Local Section of the American Chemical Society where she served as Chair in 2003 and Public Relations Chair since 2001.


SeelyKathryn Seely, Ph.D., currently holds the position of Laboratory Supervisor in the Arkansas Public Health Laboratory of the Arkansas Department of Health.     She is a former graduate student and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.    Seely received her Ph.D. from the program in 2009.   Her laboratory at the Arkansas Department of Health specializes in FDA and CDC regulated methods which span several matrices and they routinely measure low levels of chemicals present in food and clinical specimens.  To answer public health concerns, they are required to maintain several GC-MS, ICP-MS, LC-MS/MS, as well as several automated sample preparation stations. They also have to be proficient in every aspect of these complex chemical analyses; especially during emergencies when established methods are not available.  Seely recently worked with the PI to develop assays that detect and measure novel glucuronidated metabolites of synthetic cannabinoids.

Amy Patton is a Chemist in the Chemical Terrorism Laboratory at the Arkansas Public Health Laboratory, Arkansas Department of Health.  Previously, she served as an Environmental Public Health Fellow for the department from 2011-2012.  Ms. Patton is also a student in the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and is expected to graduate with an M.S. in Spring 2013.    She received her undergraduate degree in Biology (summa cum laude) from the University of the Ozarks. Ms. Patton is a licensed Emergency Medical Technician with the State of Arkansas, and also a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician.   She worked as an EMT in the Hot Springs, AR area since 2011.

McCainKeith McCain, Pharm.D., is an assistant professor with the Department of Pharmacy Practice in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and a clinical toxicologist with the Arkansas Poison and Drug Information Center (APDIC). McCain completed pre-pharmacy studies at Henderson State University and earned his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2000 from the UAMS College of Pharmacy. He holds board certification in clinical toxicology as a Diplomate of the American Board of Applied Toxicology and is a Certified Specialist in Poison Information by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. McCain is the primary contact for the APDIC regarding synthetic cannabinoid and cathinone exposures and has been actively involved with clinical management recommendations following human exposures and educational outreach regarding these agents.