Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Home > Research > Faculty Investigators > Sara Quinney, Pharm D, Ph.D.

Sara Quinney, Pharm D, Ph.D.

12948068661_B7gzL1.jpgSara Quinney, Pharm D, Ph.D.

Contact Information
950 W. Walnut Street
R2, Room 476
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Current Appointments


  • Pharm.D., 2000, Purdue University School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  • Ph.D. Clinical Pharmacy, 2004, Purdue University Purdue University School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  • Division of  Clinical Pharmacology, Indiana University School of Medicine 2004-2007
  • Division of  Biostatistics, Indiana University School of Medicine, 2007-2009

Pub Med Search:

IU Research Connect:


Research Interests

My research uses in vitro bench-based wet lab studies, in vivo clinical studies, and in silicomodels to better understand factors influencing drug pharmacokinetics and response. I utilize pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic models, particularly mechanistic or physiologically based pharmacokinetic model, for understanding drug interactions and drug disposition in special populations

Individualization of Drug Therapy in Special Populations

Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Drugs in Pregnancy: Personalized Medicine refers to the use of the right drug at the right dose in the right patient at the right time.  During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes many changes that can affect drug disposition (pharmacokinetics, PK) and effect (pharmacodynamics, PD).  Using pharmacometric models, changes in a drug’s PK or PD during pregnancy can be predicted.  This can then help us determine optimal therapeutic regimens for pregnant women.  We have developed a PBPK model for pregnancy which allows us to explore factors that may affect drug disposition, including changes in maternal metabolism and the addition of placental and fetal drug metabolism.   Based on in vitro and clinical data, we are examining the pharmacokinetics of a variety of drugs during pregnancy.

Individualization of Nifedipine for Preterm Labor.   This NICHD funded study (1K23HD071134) examines the PK of nifedipine during pregnancy and its ability to treat preterm labor.  Nifedipine is primarily metabolized by CYP3A, which appears to have increased activity during pregnancy.  Using in vitro in vivo extrapolation and physiologically based pharmacokinetic models (PBPK), we are examining the changes of nifedipine pharmacokinetics in pregnancy.  We are conducting a clinical study to determine nifedipine’s pharmacokinetics in women with preterm labor and examining its ability to reduce uterine contractions.  This study also examines pharmacogenetic variants related to the nifedipine pathway to determine whether they play a role in response to nifedipine treatment for preterm labor.

Pre- and Postnatal Methadone Exposure and Risk of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.  This clinical study, currently funded by the Indiana CTSI, examines the relationship between maternal and neonatal pharmacokinetics of methadone and the severity of neonatal abstinence syndrome.  

IMPROVE:  Induction with MisoPRostol: Oral mucosa versus Vaginal Epithelium.  Misoprostol, a synthetic prostaglandin E1 analogue, is a frequently used and accepted method for the induction of labor.  This randomized controlled trial compares buccal to vaginal dosing of misoprostol for labor induction.  Pharmacokinetics of misoprostol, safety, and efficacy will be evaluated.  Co-investigators for this internally-funded study are David Haas, MD, MS; Sarah Morgan, MD; Carrie F. Bonsack, CNM, MS; and Anthony Lathrop, CNM.

Pharmacokinetics of Other Special PopulationsIn addition to studies attempting to individualize therapy during pregnancy, I am a collaborator on studies examining pharmacokinetics in children, obese individuals, oncology patients, and in patients with renal dysfunction.  

Drug-Drug Interaction Research

Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) contribute to 100,000 deaths annually, making it the 5th leading cause of death.  Drug-drug interactions (DDI’s) are a large contributor to ADRs.   Working with Dr. Lang Li in the Center for Computational Biology, our lab integrates findings from electronic medical records with in vitro mechanistic experiments to help identify and understand the contribution of DDI’s to ADRs.  Our studies focus primarily on pharmacokinetic DDI’s associated with inhibition and induction of Cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes.  CYP enzymes are responsible for the majority of Phase 1 drug metabolism. 

Integrated Bioinformatic and Pharmacokinetic Models of High-Dimensional Drug Interactions. Polypharmacy is associated with increased risk of adverse events.  We hypothesize that individuals taking multiple medications are at an increased risk of drug-drug interactions, leading to clinically relevant adverse events.  This NIGMS-funded R01 utilizes a combination of computational data mining algorithms, statistical inference, and mechanistic pharmacology models, to identify and evaluate clinically significant high dimensional drug interactions (HD-DDIs).  In this study, we propose a novel frequent close itemset data mining algorithm to identify candidate HD-DDIs with adverse reactions from large health record data sets.  These HD-DDIs identified by the computational algorithm will be subjected to an innovative empirical Bayes statistical inference to determine this false positive, hence its statistical significance in its potential relevance of each interaction.  As a large number of drug interactions are potentiated through the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) system, the mechanistic potential of interactions among multidrug regimens will be evaluated using in vitro metabolism assays.  This approach, combining graphical, statistical inference and mechanistic pharmacology models will provide insight into the role of polypharmacy in adverse drug events.

Keywords Describing Research Interests

Pharmacometrics, Obstetric Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacokinetics, In Vitro In Vivo Extrapolation, Drug Metabolism, Drug Interactions, PBPK Modeling



Indiana University School of Medicine
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
550 University Blvd
Indianapolis, IN 46202

A gift to the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology can be made online through our Gift Development Department or through the mail with a linked PDF Form.


Thank you for making a difference!

For information about the various ways to give or on unique procedures we perform, please contact us at 317-944-8609.