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School of Medicine Columbia

Faculty and Staff

Kenneth B. Walsh, Ph.D.

Title: Professor Emeritus
Department: Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience
School of Medicine Columbia
Phone: 803-216-3500


University of Rochester, School of Medicine

University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine


Work in my laboratory involves the development of cellular assays for studying biologically active compounds such as natural products, drugs and hormones.  Delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two major cannabinoids found in marijuana (cannabis sativa).  To date, cannabinoidsinvestigators have isolated over one hundred chemically distinct cannabinoids from marijuana.  It is anticipated that these cannabinoids and related compounds will be useful for treating anxiety, pain, inflammation and other disorders.

The figure to the right shows the structures of THC (top) and CBD (bottom).

In one project, immortalized neuronal cell lines are stably transfected with cannabinoid CB1 receptors using recombinant lentiviral vectors.  The effects of THC and CBD on the activation of G protein-gated inward rectifier K+ (GIRK) channels are then determined using a membrane potential-sensitive fluorescent dye assay.  These results are compared with the ability of the cannabinoids to inhibit adenylyl cyclase and to stimulate the recruitment of β-arrestin to the plasma membrane. We are also studying the effects of synthetic cannabinoids such as JWH-018, MDMB-PICA and AB-FUBINACA on cell signaling.


Recent Publications

  • Walsh KB, Holmes AE.  Pharmacology of minor cannabinoids at the CB1 receptor: Isomer- and ligand-dependent antagonism by tetrahydrocannabivarin. Receptors 2022; 1:3-12.
  • Walsh KB, McKinney AE, Holmes AE.  Minor cannabinoids: Biosynthesis, molecular pharmacology and potential therapeutic uses. Frontiers in Pharmacology 2021; 12:777804.
  • Andersen HK, Walsh KB.  Molecular signaling of synthetic cannabinoids: Comparison of CB1 receptor and TRPV1 channel activation.  European Journal of Pharmacology 2021; 907:174301.
  • Li H, Walsh KB, Bayram F, Koley G.  Direct measurement of K+ efflux from neuronal cells using a graphene-based ion-sensitive field effect transistor.  RS Chemistry - Advances 2020; 10:37728-37734.
  • Walsh KB, Andersen HK.  Molecular pharmacology of synthetic cannabinoids: Delineating CB1 receptor-mediated cell signaling.  International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2020; 21:6115.  
  • Walsh KB.  Screening technologies for inward rectifier potassium channels: Discovery of new blockers and activators.  SLAS – Drug Discovery 2020; 25:420-433.

Find Dr. Walsh on PubMed.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.