Kathy M. Giacomini is a pharmaceutical scientist who studies membrane transporter genomics and the role of these proteins in drug targeting, disposition and response. A major focus of her work is identifying genetic variation in transporter genes and understanding how those differences can alter drug response.
A leader in the field of pharmacogenomics, Giacomini helped discover about 50 coding and more than 100 promoter region variants in transporters that alter pharmacological effects in diverse populations. She is applying these findings to investigate the interactions between gene variants and specific drugs, particularly the antidiabetic drug metformin. Giacomini has found that certain variants reduce the uptake of metformin and produce different responses in two racial groups.
At the University of California, San Francisco, Giacomini is a professor in--and co-chair of--the department of bioengineering and therapeutic sciences. She is also a professor in the university’s departments of pharmaceutical chemistry and cellular and molecular pharmacology.
Giacomini received a B.S. in pharmacy from the University of Houston in 1974, and she completed her Ph.D. in pharmaceutics at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1979. She did postdoctoral research at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Giacomini has received many honors, including the Rawls-Palmer Progress in Medicine Award from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
NIGMS has supported Giacomini’s research since 1979, beginning with a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Postdoctoral Fellows. She served as a member of the Institute’s advisory council from 2005 to 2008.