Phillip M Gerk, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Pharmaceutics
Faculty/Staff picture
  •   Smith Building, Room 454F
  • School of Pharmacy - Dept of Pharmaceutics
    410 N 12th Street
    P.O. Box 980533
    Richmond, VA 23298-0533
  •  (804) 828-6321
    (804) 828-8359


  • Ph.D., Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences (University of Kentucky, 2000)
  • Pharm.D., Pharmacy (University of Illinois at Chicago, 1993)

Professional Experience

  • (2012 - Present) Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutics, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • (2004 - 2012) Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutics, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • (2000 - 2004) Post-Doctoral Scholar/Fellow, University of Kentucky, Graduate Center for Toxicology
  • (1995 - 2000) Graduate Student, University of Kentucky, College of Pharmacy
  • (1993 - 1995) Clinical Research Fellow, Auburn University School of Pharmacy

Professional and Scholarly Interests

  • ABC transporters on maternal-fetal drug transport pharmacokinetics
  • Maternal and fetal health during pregnancy and after birth
  • Optimizing maternal and fetal exposure through appropriate drug therapy
  • Presystemic metabolism and oral bioavailability
  • Transporter-directed prodrug strategy for tissue targeting of antiretroviral drugs
  • Permeability, transport, and metabolism of novel drug candidates
  • Pharmacokinetics of natural compounds
  • Innovative teaching methods in pharmacokinetics
  • New experimental methods in drug transport and metabolism
  • Bioanalytical method development

Research Interests

  • Overview: The Gerk Lab takes an innovative, multidisciplinary approach toward investigating problems regarding pharmacokinetic mechanisms (drug transport, metabolism, and protein binding). Such an approach involves collaboration and expertise in several scientific areas. Major efforts are briefly described below. Some technologies are available for licensing and/or development agreements through the VCU Technology Transfer office <>.
  • Placental Drug Transport: The first line of fetal defense against foreign or toxic compounds includes ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) transporters, which use ATP to transport various substances either from inside the cell or from the cell membrane out into the maternal blood. It is necessary to know the expression and function of these transporters in the human placenta, in order to assess the impact of ABC transporters on maternal-fetal drug transport pharmacokinetics, ultimately to maximize maternal and fetal health during pregnancy and after birth by optimizing maternal and fetal exposure through appropriate drug therapy.
  • Transporter-Directed Prodrug Approach: Several tight-junction barriers separating body fluid compartments present an obstacle to the delivery of therapeutic agents to target tissues, such as the placenta and the brain. Such barriers express high levels of efflux transporters which limit drug distribution of drugs such as HIV protease inhibitors into pharmacologic sanctuaries. Thus, we developed a novel prodrug approach to utilize physiologically expressed nutrient transporters to carry a prodrug across the barrier, and allow it to release the active drug inside the tissue.
  • Presystemic Metabolism: While hepatic metabolism constitutes the bulk of the "first-pass effect," for some compounds with low oral bioavailability intestinal metabolism contributes significantly. Establishing the enzymes and their substrate selectivity will enable new strategies to enhance oral bioavailability for certain compounds.
  • Research Tools: The Gerk Lab is always seeking to create and establish new and improved experimental methods for studies on pharmacokinetic mechanisms and biopharmaceutics.


PubMed Search
The publications search is performed on the National Library of Medicine's PubMed database. The search may be slow during high traffic hours, may return articles authored by another researcher with a similar name and may not always find all of a researcher's articles.

Books/Book Chapters

  • PM Gerk and M Vore. Multidrug resistance proteins and hepatic transport of endo-and xenobiotics. Drug Metabolism and Transport: Molecular Methods and Mechanisms. Larry H. Lash, Editor. Humana Press, Inc. (2004).


  • Gerk PM, Walsh SW, Landsberg AK: "Prodrugs Utilizing A Transporter Directed Uptake Mechanism", US Patent Application PCT/US2011/055231.

Recent Publications

  • Gulati A, Gerk PM. Role of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters in antiretroviral therapy in pregnancy. J Pharm Sci 2009; 98:2317-35. PMID: 19067393
  • Gulati A, Boudinot FD, Gerk PM.Binding of lopinavir to human a1-acid glycoprotein and serum albumin. Drug Metab Disp 2009; 37:1572-5. PMID: 19439488
  • Vaidya SS, Walsh SW, Gerk PM.Formation and efflux of ATP-binding cassette transporter substrate 2,4 dinitrophenyl S-glutathione from cultured human term placental villous tissue fragments. Mol Pharmaceutics 2009; 6:1689-1702. PMID: 19397308
  • Lenhart J, Ling X, Gandhi R, Gerk PM, Brunzell D, Zhang S. “Clicked” bivalent ligands containing curcumin and cholesterol as multifunctional Aß oligomerization inhibitors: Design, synthesis and biological characterization. J Med Chem 2010; 53(16):6198-209. PMID:20666513
  • Verenich S, Gerk PM. Therapeutic promises of 2-methoxyestradiol and its drug disposition challenges. Mol Pharmaceutics 2010: 7(6)2030-9. PMID:20831190
  • Vaidya SS, Walsh SW, Gerk PM. Application of Human Placental Villous Tissue Explants to Study ABC Transporter Mediated Efflux of 2,4-Dinitrophenyl-S-Glutathione. Curr Pharm Biotechnol 2011; 12:814-23. PMID:21342117
  • Gerk PM. Quantitative immunofluorescent blotting of the Multidrug Resistance-associated Protein 2 (MRP2). J Pharmacol Toxicol Methods 2011; 63:279-82. PMID:21277982
  • Brophy D, Martin E, Barrett J, Nolte M, Kuhn J, Gerk P, Carr M, Pelzer H, Ezban M, Hedner U. Monitoring rFVIIa 90 mcg kg-1 dosing in hemophiliacs: comparing laboratory response using various whole blood assays over six hours. Haemophilia 2011; 17:e949-57. PMID:21362113
  • Megaraj V, Zhao T, Paumi CM, Gerk PM, Kim R, Vore M. Functional Analysis of Non-synonymous Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms of Multidrug Resistance Protein 2 (MRP2; ABCC2). Pharmacogenetics and Genomics 2011; 21:506-15. PMID: 21691255
  • Mitra P, Venitz J, Yuan Y, Zhang Y, Gerk PM. Preclinical Disposition (in vitro) of Novel µ-Opioid Receptor Antagonists. Drug Metab Disp 2011; 39:1589-96. PMID:21685245
  • Clay PG, Adiga R, Taylor TAH, Alsup R, Gerk PM and McRae MP. Postpartum Pharmacokinetics of Peramivir in the Treatment of 2009 H1N1 Influenza. Obstet Gynecol 2011; 118:463-7. PMID: 21768855
  • Li W, Araya M, Elliott M, Kang X, Gerk PM, Halquist MS, Karnes HT, Zhang C, O'Brien PJ. Monitoring cellular accumulation of 3'-deoxy-3'-fluorothymidine (FLT) and its monophosphate metabolite (FLT-MP) by LC-MS/MS as a measure of cell proliferation in vitro." J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 2011; 879: 2963-70. PMID: 21925976
  • Yuan Y, Li G, He H, Stevens DL, Kozak P, Scoggins KL, Mitra P, Gerk PM, Selley DE, Dewey WL and Zhang Y. Characterization of 6a- and 6ß-N-Heterocyclic Substituted Naltrexamine Derivatives as Novel Leads to Development of Mu Opioid Receptor Selective Antagonists. ACS Chemical Neuroscience 2011; 2:346-51. PMID: 22816021