Marsha Louise Pierce, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Downers Grove, IL

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About

Dr. Pierce received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She received her Master of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences under the mentorship of Dr. Garrett A. Soukup at Creighton University studying the role of microRNAs in inner ear development and function. She received her Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences under the mentorship of Dr. Garrett A. Soukup at Creighton University studying the role of microRNA-183 family members in inner ear hair cell and stereo cilia development and maintenance. She continued on to a postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas F. Murray studying the role of natural variation in arginine vasopressin and oxytocin ligands and receptors on pharmacological signaling profiles. Dr. Pierce joined the faculty at Midwestern University in 2019 where she studies the role of oxytocin analogs in social behavioral deficits, cellular signaling and neuronal morphology; marine natural products in drug development; and microRNAs in sensorineural development, function and maintenance..  

Title
Assistant Professor

Campus
Downers Grove, IL

College
College of Graduate Studies - IL

Department
Pharmacology

Program
Biomedical Sciences (M.A.)
Biomedical Sciences (M.B.S.)
Dental Medicine
Optometry
Osteopathic Medicine
Pharmacy

Call My
Office

630-515-6068

Send Me
a Message

mpierc1@midwestern.edu

Education

Creighton University | 2015 | Ph.D.
Creighton University | 2008 | M.S.
Creighton University | 2002 | B.S.

Courses Taught

PHARD 0585/0585/0995 Pharmacology for PT and Graduate Students lectures on drugs in anesthesiology
PHARD 1640 for Dental Students Lectures on Sympathomimetics and Sympatholytics
PHARD 1641/1642 for Optometry Students Lectures on anticonvulsants, antidepressants, antipsychotics, sedative hypnotics and adrenergic stimulant and blocking agents
BISCD 0860/0861/0862 Masters of Biomedical Sciences Research Elective
 

Research

Project 1: AVP and OT analog pharmacological signatures at OTR and V1aR
Arginine vasopressin (AVP) and oxytocin (OT) are neuropeptides that bind to G-protein coupled receptors and influence social behavior. Integrative studies of behavior, genetics and ligand-receptor interaction are crucial for translating signaling activation at the cellular level to effects of AVP and OT ligands on social behavior.

Project 2: Marine Natural Products and Drug Discovery
Approximately half of all current drugs are derived from natural products, demonstrating their potential for drug discovery. I assess the pharmacological effects of marine natural products on calcium, sodium and potassium ions in primary cortical cultures, using high throughput screening methodology.

Project 3: miRNAs in neurosensory development, ​maintenance, and function
The miR-183 family gene cluster including miR-183, miR-96, and miR-182 is highly conserved among vertebrate and invertebrate organisms, and the miRNAs are coordinately expressed with marked specificity in sensory neurons and sensory epithelial cells. I study the role of this microRNA family in development, maintenance and function.

Publications

Pierce ML, French JA, Murray TM. (2020). Comparison of the pharmacologic profiles of arginine vasopressin and oxytocin analogs at marmoset,  macaque, and human vasopressin 1a receptors. Biomed Pharmacother. (in press)

Li Y, Yu H, Zhang Y, Leao T, Glukhov E, Pierce ML, Zhang C, Kim H, Mao HH, Fang F, Cottrell GW, Murray TF, Gerwick L, Guan H, Gerwick WH. (2020). Pagoamide A, a cyclic depsipeptide isolated for a cultured marine chlorophyte, Debesia sp., using MS/MS-based molecular networking. J Nat Prod. 2020 Jan 9. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.9b01019. PMID: 31916778

Pierce ML, French JA, Murray TM. (2020). Comparison of the pharmacologic profiles of arginine vasopressin and oxytocin analogs at marmoset, titi monkey, macaque, and human oxytocin receptors. Biomed Pharmacother. 125, 109832. PMID: 32018219

Banks SA, Pierce ML, Soukup GA. (2019) Sensational microRNAs: Neurosensory roles of the microRNA-183 family. 
Mol Neurobiol. 2019 Jul 29. doi: 10.1007/s12035-019-01717-3. Review. PMID: 31359323

Pierce ML, Mehrotra S, Mustoe AM, French JA, Murray TM. (2019) A comparison of the ability of Leu8- and Pro8-
oxytocin to regulate intracellular Ca2+and Ca2+-activated K+channels at human and marmoset oxytocin receptors. 

Mol Pharm.  2019 Apr;95(4):376-385. PMID: 30739093

Weston MD, Tarang S, Pierce ML, Pyakurel U, Rocha-Sanchez SM, McGee J, Walsh EJ, Soukup GA. (2018) A mouse 
model of miR-96, miR-182 and miR-183 misexpression implicates miRNAs in cochlear cell fate and homeostasis.
Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 23;8(1):3569. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-21811-1. PMID: 29476110

Naman CB, Almaliti J, Armstrong L, Caro-Díaz EJ, Pierce ML, Glukhov E, Fenner A, Spadafora C, Debonsi HM, 
Dorrestein PC, Murray TF, Gerwick WH. (2017) Discovery and Synthesis of Caracolamide A, an Ion Channel 
Modulating Dichlorovinylidene Containing Phenethylamide from a Panamanian Marine Cyanobacterium cf. 
Symploca Species. 
J Nat Prod. Aug 7.

Organizations

Member, The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)

Member, Society for Neuroscience (SfN)

Member, Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO)

Awards

2020 Society for Neuroscience Early Career Policy Ambassadors Program
2015 First Place Award in Oral Presentation, Graduate Student, Midwest Student Biomedical Research Forum
2013 Best Oral Presentation, St. Albert’s Day University Research Forum
2012—2015 Creighton University Graduate Student Government Student Travel Award
2011—2015 Creighton University Department of Biomedical Sciences Graduate Student Stipend
2007 Keystone Symposia Travel Award
2007 Creighton Student Travel Award

More Information

Website: MarshaPierce.com
Twitter: @MarshaPiercePhD