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Dr. Shirley M. Tsunoda


Shirley M. Tsunoda

Shirley M. Tsunoda, Pharm.D.

Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Pharmacy
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


(858) 822-6629

Research Summary: Transplantation & Drug Metabolism

Dr. Tsunoda’s research focuses on factors influencing the variability and activity of intestinal and hepatic metabolism of drugs and the pharmacokinetics/metabolism and clinical use of immunosuppressive agents. Previous work has included using probe compounds such as midazolam and cyclosporine to predict activity of CYP3A4, the major drug metabolizing enzyme in the intestine and liver and the effect of red wine on cyclosporine pharmacokinetics. She is also interested in studying the increasingly complex interplay of the metabolic enzymes and transporter proteins in the intestine and how they contribute to the overall bioavailability of immunosuppressive drugs; as well as investigating the role of the microbiome on intestinal and hepatic drug metabolism.

Dr. Tsunoda has several ongoing research projects in: 1) investigating the effect of the microbiome on drug metabolism in healthy volunteers; 2) analyzing skin swab metabolomics for drug exposure; 3) understanding pharmacogenomic factors contributing to tacrolimus nephrotoxicity; and 4) investigating the clinical utility of pharmacogenomics in transplant patients.

Academic Achievements


B.S. in Psychobiology (1987), UCLA; Pharm.D. (1992) UCSF; Residency in Pharmacy Practice (1993) UCSF; Post-doctoral Fellowship in Pharmacokinetics/Drug Metabolism (1995) UCSF. 

Awards and Honors:

UCSF Resident Research Project Award (1993); American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy New Investigator Award (1996); National Center for Leadership in Academic Medicine, UCSD (2007); American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Member of the Month (2011); American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Dedicated Member (2012); American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Teacher of the Year (2016) 

Leadership Experience:

Co-Chair, Committee on Educational Policy, SSPPS, Delegate, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (2016-2018); Vice-Chair, Organ Specific Diseases Section (2010-2012) Chair, Organ Specific Diseases Section (2012-2014), American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.   


  • Pharmacy: Therapeutics (SPPS 212A).
  • Principles of Pharmacology and Physiology.
  • Hepatitis and Solid Organ Transplant Electives

Clinical Practice

  • Dr. Tsunoda maintains a clinical practice in the liver transplant clinic at UCSD.

Key Contributions to Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • Differentiation of intestinal and hepatic CYP3A4 activity using midazolam as an in vivo probe.
  • Investigation of factors contributing to the variability of CYP3A4 enzyme activity
  • Clinical research in liver transplant patients

Selected Recent Publications (view more)

Potential Collaborative Programs with the Pharmaceutical Industry

  • Phase I investigations of new compounds that are CYP3A and/or p-glycoprotein substrates, particularly those used in transplantation. 

  • Phase I-III investigations of mTOR inhibitor compounds ​

  • Pharmacokinetic and drug metabolism studies in liver disease and liver transplantation