Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology


BA (1972) in Chemistry, Whittier College (Whittier, CA)

PhD (1976) in Pharmacology, Michigan State University.

Honors and Awards:

American Institute of Chemists Award (1972), NIH (HLBI) Young Investigator Research Award (1978), NIH (HLBI) Research Career Development Award (1984); Fellow of the AHA (2001 -) and the APS (CV section, 2002 -); Chair (2002-2004) and Past Chair (2004-2006) of the ASPET Division of Cardiovascular Pharmacology; Michigan State University KE Moore Distinguished Alumnus Award (2002); Honorary Professor of Pharmacology, University of Hong Kong Faculty of Medicine (2007-).

Research Interests:

Coronary physiology and pharmacology.  Regulation of coronary endothelial function and vasomotor tone.  And, the role of endothelial pertubations in various pathological states, including ischemia, hypertension and hypertrophy.

More recently we have also extended our vascular biology research into various natural products and botanicals. In particular, we have received both AHA and NIH fundings to investigate the vasoprotective effects of garlic against the development of pulmonary hypertension. We are undertaking integrative approach (from molecular to whole animals) as well as state-of-the-art LC-ESI-Mass Spectrometry method to identify and quantify various active ingredients found in garlic and correlate them to its vasoprotective effects in animals.

Selected Publications:

Ku, D.D. (1982)  Coronary Vascular Reactivity after Acute Myocardial Ischemia. Science 218:576-578.

Ku, D.D. (1989)  Divalent Cation Regulation of Endothelial-dependent Relaxation in Coronary Blood Vessels. Microcirc. Endoth. Lymphatics, 5:99-120

Ku, D.D., Nelson, J.M., Caulfield, J.B. and Winn, M.J. (1990) Release of Endothelium-derived Relaxing factors from Canine Cardiac Valves. J. Cardiovasc. Pharmacol. 16: 212-218.

Ku, D.D., Caulfield, J. B. and Kirklin, J.K. (1991)  Endothelium-dependent Responses in Long-term Human Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts.  Circulation 83:402-411.

Ku, D.D., Caulfield, J.B. and Kirklin, J.K. (1991)  Endothelium-dependent Responses in Human Coronary Blood Vessels. In Endothelial Regulation of Vascular Tone. ed. U.S. Ryan and G. Rubanyi, Marcel Dekker, chapter 14, pp 197-223.

Ku, D.D., Zaleski, J.K., Liu, S. and Brock, T.A.(1993) Vascular endothelial growth factor induces EDRF-dependent relaxation in coronary arteries. Amer. J. Physiol. 34(2): H586-592.

Liu, S., Beckman, J.S. and Ku, D. D. (1994) Peroxynitrite, a product of superoxide and nitricoxide, produces coronary vasorelaxation in dogs. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 268:1114-1121.

Ku, D.D., Liu, S. and Dai, J.(1995) Coronary Vascular and Antiplatelet Effects of Peroxynitrite in Human Tissues. Endothelium3:309-319.

Ku, D.D. (1996) Nitric oxide and nitric oxide donors induced relaxation.  Methods in Enzymology, vol. 269, chapter 10, ed. Lester Packer, pp 107-119.

Ku, D.D., Guo, L., Dai, J., Acuff, C.G. and Steinhelper, M.E. (1996) Coronary vascular and endothelial reactivity changes in transgenic mice overexpressing atrial natriuretic factor. Am. J. Physiol. 271: H2368-H2376.

Fallon M.B., Abrams, G.A., Abdel-Razek, T.T.,Dai, J., Chen, S.-J., Chen, Y.-F., Luo, B., Oparil, S., and Ku, D.D. (1998) Garlic prevents hypoxic pulmonary hypertension in rats: a potential therapeutic agent for mountain illness. Amer. J. Physiol. 275:L283-287.

Kim-Park, S., Ku, D.D. (2000) Garlic elicits a nitric oxide-dependent relaxation and inhibits hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction in rats. Clin. Exp. Pharmacol. Physiol. 27:780-786.

Ku, D.D., Abdel-Razek, T.T., Dai, J. Kim-Park, S., Fallon, M.B. and Abrams, G.A. (2002)  Garlic and its active metabolite allicin produce endothelium- and nitric oxide-dependent relaxation in rat pulmonary arteries. Clin. Exp. Pharmacol. Physiol. 29:84-91.

Tang EH, Ku DD, Tipoe GL, Feletou M, Man RY, Vanhoutte PM. (2005) Endothelium-Dependent Contractions Occur in the Aorta of Wild-Type and COX2-/- Knockout But Not COX1-/- Knockout Mice. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 46(6):761-765.

Sun X, Ku DD. (2006) Selective Right, But Not Left, Coronary endothelial dysfunction precedes the development of pulmonary hypertension and right heart hypertrophy in rats. Am J.Physiol (Heart Circ Physiol.) 290(2):H758-64. (Epub 2005, Sep 19)

Yi S., Ku DD., Man RKY and Vanhoutte PM. (2006) Augmented endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor-mediated relaxations attenuate endothelial dysfunction in femoral and mesenteric, but not in carotid arteries from type I diabetic rats.  J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 318(1): 276-81. [Epub. 2006, Mar 24]

Sun X and Ku DD. (2006)  Allicin in Garlic Protects Against Coronary Endothelial Dysfunction and Right Ventricular Hypertrophy in Pulmonary Hypertensive Rats.  Am. J. Physiol. (Heart Circ. Physiol.) 291(5):2431-8. [Epub. 2006, May 26]

Wolkowicz, PE, Wu, HC, Grenett, HE, Urthaler, F, Ku, DD. (2007) A pharmacological model for calcium overload-induced tachycardia in isolated rat left atria. Eur J Pharmacol.  576:122-31.  [Epub August 14, 2007]

Shi, Y, Ku, DD, Man, RYK, Vanhoutte, PM (2007)  The calcium ionophore A23187 induces endothelium-dependent contractions in femoral arteries from rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes.Br. J.. Pharmacol.  150(5):624-32. [Epub 2007 Jan 22.]

Wolkowicz, PE, Wu, HC, Urthaler, F, Ku, DD. (2007)  2-APB induces instability in rat left atrial mechanical activity. J. Cardiovasc. Pharmacol. 49:325-335.

Sun, X, Ku, DD (2008)  Rosuvastatin provides pleiotropic protection against pulmonary hypertension, right ventricular hypertrophy and coronary endothelial dysfunction in rats.  Am. J. Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 294(2): H801-9. [Epub ahead of print 2007, Nov 30].

To contact Dr. Ku:
1670 University Boulevard
VH 256
Birmingham, AL 35294-0019
Phone: (205) 934-6474
Fax: (205) 934-7370