Dr. Karen Russell Randall has been awarded honors by Morehouse College as Outstanding Pharmacology Faculty Member during its 2020 Faculty Gala. The event provides students with the opportunity to recognize faculty members that have had a profound influence on their education.
Randall is an assistant professor in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department of Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA. She came to the Morehouse School of Medicine as a research associate, working closely with then chairman, Dr. David Potter. Their work has appeared in numerous professional publications.
Randall is a former student of St. Hugh’s High School in Jamaica and is a member of the St. Hugh’s High School Alumnae Association of Atlanta (SHHSAA). She’s also a former president of the organization, serving from 2005-2007.
She’s a graduate of the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, where she received a Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Chemistry as an undergrad.
Before taking the position at Morehouse, Randall was the senior pharmacologist at the Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory. The WHO/PAHO/CARICOM institution is responsible for ensuring medications in the Caribbean conforms to purity, strength, and quality standards.
For the past several years, the esteemed researcher has been focused on opioid receptors and the means by which activation of those receptors regulates pressure within the eye. A high level of pressure within the eye is one of the symptoms of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).
POAG is the primary cause of blindness in African-Americans and a major cause of blindness in other segments of the population. Randall’s research has already yielded early results, demonstrating that one group of opioids, known as kappa opioids, can reduce eye pressure.
Randall’s long-term objective is to determine how stimulation of the opioid receptors activates specific signals in the eye. The ultimate goal is to identify a drug in the design of novel drugs for the management of glaucoma. Opioids may also play an important role in protecting the optic nerve that’s damaged during the progression of glaucoma.