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Faculty Profile

Brian KnollBrian J. Knoll

Associate Professor of Pharmacology
Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs

University of Houston College of Pharmacy
Health 2, Room 6007D
4349 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Houston, TX 77204-5037

Contact: - Office: 713-743-1299 - Fax: 713-743-1884


Effective asthma therapy relies on β-agonist drugs that activate β2-adrenoceptors (β2ARs) on the surfaces of cells in airway smooth muscle and epithelium. β-agonist drugs are effective in acting upon airway smooth muscle to cause bronchodilation, thereby relieving some asthma symptoms, however, these drugs also act upon airway epithelium to promote inflammation by secreting cytokines. We explore the mechanisms by which β2AR signaling in airway epithelium causes this proinflammatory effect. We use primary human airway epithelial cells in culture, treated pharmacologically and genetically, to modify signal transducing components downstream of the β2AR. These studies may lead to the development of new therapeutics designed to reduce airway inflammation by modifying β2AR signaling in airway epithelium.

  • B.S. (Biology), University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind.
  • Ph.D. (Molecular Biology), University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, Ariz.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Master Teacher Fellowship, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Advanced Immunology Courses, American Association of Immunologists (2004 and 2008)

Scopus Profile
  • β2-Adrenoceptor signaling in airway epithelial cells promotes eosinophilic inflammation, mucous metaplasia, and airway contractility. Nguyen LP, Al-Sawalha NA, Parra S, Pokkunuri I, Omoluabi O, Okulate AA, Windham Li E, Hazen M, Gonzalez-Granado JM, Daly CJ, McGrath JC, Tuvim MJ, Knoll BJ, Dickey BF, Bond RA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Oct 24;114(43):E9163-E9171. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1710196114. Epub 2017 Oct 9. PMID:29073113
  • Effects of β-blockers on house dust mite-driven murine models pre- and post-development of an asthma phenotype. Joshi R, Valdez D, Kim H, Eikenburg DC, Knoll BJ, Bond RA. Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2017 Oct;46:30-40. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2017.07.004. Epub 2017 Jul 17. PMID:28729042
  • Al-Sawalha NA, Knoll BJ. Statins in Asthma: A Closer Look into the Pharmacological Mechanism of Action. Pharmacology. 2016;98(5-6):279-283. PMID: 27603525
  • Forkuo GS, Kim H, Thanawala VJ, Al-Sawalha N, Valdez D, Joshi R, Parra S, Pera T, Gonnella PA, Knoll BJ, Walker JK, Penn RB, Bond RA. PDE4 Inhibitors Attenuate the Asthma Phenotype Produced by β2-adrenoceptor Agonists in PNMT-KO Mice. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2016 Aug;55(2):234-42. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2015-0373OC. PMID: 26909542
  • Thanawala VJ, Valdez DJ, Joshi R, Forkuo GS, Parra S, Knoll BJ, Bouvier M, Leff P, Bond RA. β-Blockers have differential effects on the murine asthma phenotype. Br J Pharmacol. 2015 Oct;172(20):4833-46. doi: 10.1111/bph.13253. Epub 2015 Oct 13. PMID: 26211486
  • Al-Sawalha N, Pokkunuri I, Omoluabi O, Kim H, Thanawala VJ, Hernandez A, Bond RA, Knoll BJ. Epinephrine Activation of the β2-Adrenoceptor Is Required for IL-13-Induced Mucin Production in Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 10;10(7):e0132559. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132559. eCollection 2015. PMID: 26161982