Kidney Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Toxicology – Joy Lab

The Joy laboratory specializes in applying pharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences and toxicology research techniques to the study of drugs and biologics.  We also employ delivery approaches and study of new technologies, including medical devices, to enhance the treatment for kidney diseases. Trainees in the lab learn a variety of in vitro, in vivo, and in silico methods to test hypotheses and evaluate and validate new technologies. Given that the rate of new drug and device approvals for kidney disease indications is lagging as compared to other therapeutic areas, we are passionate about translating our findings to the research and development of new therapeutics and devices for patients.

Dr. Joy, a traditionally trained clinical pharmacist (B.S.), as well as pharmacy doctorate (PharmD) and PhD trained scientist, has been dedicated to the training of the next generation of scientists over her 30 year career spanning three top tier Universities (University of Pittsburgh, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Colorado). 

Dr. Joy is the Director of the Academic Center of Excellence for Model Informed Drug Development with Certara, Inc. The Center is designed to educated the next generation of experts in this field, build a reputation for researching and discovering new solutions and solve PK/PD challenges, provide faculty, students, and post-doctoral researchers the use of innovative software solutions to research, test, and apply problem solving, and remain at the forefront of new technology trends and breakthroughs.

Melanie Joy

Melanie Joy PharmD, PhD

Professor Director of Innovation and Commercialization, Director of Entrepreneurship Education, SPARK/REACH Program, Director of the Center of Excellence Program for Model Informed Drug Development
  • Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences


Primary Phone:303-724-7416

Mailing Address:
  • CU Anschutz

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Building

12850 East Montview Boulevard

Lab: V20- 4420D/S

Office: V20-4108

Aurora, CO 80045

Education, Licensure & Certifications

  • PhD (Pharmaceutical Sciences - Molecular Pharmaceutics) University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
  • PharmD, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • BS Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Magna Cum Laude)


  • Professor, University of Colorado, School of Medicine, Division of Kidney Diseases and Hypertension
  • Member, University of Colorado, Cancer Center
  • Member, Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine
  • Member, Center for Translational Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacogenomics
  • Member, Center for Drug Discovery
  • Member, Colorado Center for Nanomedicine and Nanosafety
  • Founder/Scientific Advisor, Katharos, Inc.

Scott Tilden, PhD, PostDoc
I am a Colorado native, avid skier, musician, and run my own indoor farming business with my brother. I completed my undergraduate at CU-Boulder and my PhD in Toxicology here at CU-Anschutz. I have over a decade of experience in conducting cutting-edge research, publishing in peer-reviewed journals, and presenting at international scientific conferences in the fields of immuno-oncology, pharmaceutical sciences, and toxicology. I have also secured multiple patents, honors, and prizes for my innovative and impactful work. I am currently working as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Melanie Joy to investigate renal toxicity caused by immune checkpoint inhibitors and to help develop a novel kidney-targeted drug delivery method for patients suffering from lupus nephritis. My goal is to significantly contribute to the scientific community while working to improve patient therapies and outcomes. Additionally, I hope to gain the necessary experience to transitioning into medical affairs and scientific communication, where I can leverage my expertise to help bridge the gap between basic research, the clinic, and the public.

Avisek Ghimire, BS, MS, Instructor
Avisek completed his B.S. degree in pharmacy from Kathmandu University, Nepal. His interest and exposure to drug therapy and pharmacokinetics during the undergraduate studies led him to a MS degree in pharmaceutical sciences (clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics track) at the University of Colorado. Avisek completed research on the influence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) on CYP2B6 function through assessment of bupropion pharmacokinetics in vitamin D deficient patients as his MS thesis.  He is highly engaged with pharmacokinetic studies and analysis of drug data, and conducting pharmacokinetic pharmacodynamic modeling and simulations using various platforms including Certara Phoenix and PK-Sim/MoBi. Currently, Avisek is conducting a population pharmacokinetic modeling of vitamin D and its metabolites in patients with vitamin D insufficiency. He also advises MS and PhD students on their thesis projects on pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modeling. During his spare time he likes to hike, play soccer, and hang out at coffee shops.

Lauren E. Thompson, BS: PhD Student in Pharmaceutical Sciences
Lauren completed her BS degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Mathematics from Denison University in Ohio. Lauren’s research focuses on risk factors of cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury (AKI) in cancer patients and potential mitigation strategies. Her work includes investigating nephroprotectant compounds in a mouse cancer model of cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury. She is additionally leading a clinical trial with the goals of elucidating pharmacokinetic and pharmacogenetic determinants that govern renal exposure to cisplatin, as well as the impact of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT3) antagonists, a class of antiemetic drugs. A better understanding of the key processes and pathways involved in renal cisplatin exposure will lead to therapy adjustments to decrease renal exposure and toxicity, while maintaining efficacy.

Sarah Asby, BS: PhD Student in Pharmaceutical Sciences
Sarah Asby graduated from the University of Virginia in 2018 with a BS in Engineering Science-Nanomedicine Engineering and minors in Material Science Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. After graduation, Sarah worked in the Pilon-Thomas Lab in the Immunology Department at Moffitt Cancer Center as a research associate studying translational immunotherapies and mechanisms in TIL therapy of cancer.

Sarah’s research focuses on immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) induced nephrotoxicity in cancer patients. Her work specifically aims to investigate mechanisms and develop physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models of ICI-mediated kidney injury in both a Humanized Immune System (HIS) mouse model as well as cancer patients enrolled in the clinical study. This work also aims to identify and evaluate biomarkers of kidney injury within HIS mice and patients receiving ICI treatment, as well as investigate potential mitigation strategies and treatments of injury. These studies aim to provide a better understanding of ICI-mediated nephrotoxicity to ultimately aid in prevention, earlier diagnoses of injury, as well as offer insight regarding potential therapeutic strategies.

Sydney Broyles, BS: MS Student in Pharmaceutical Sciences
Broyles is originally from central Ohio. She graduated from the University of South Florida in 2022 with a BS in Biomedical Sciences. Currently she is enrolled in the Pharmaceutical Sciences master’s program here at Anschutz with a concentration in pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics. Her research focuses on population pharmacokinetic modeling and PK/PD predictions of rituximab (RTX) in membranous nephropathy patients. This will hopefully lead to more precise dosing and patient specific characteristics being taken into account.


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