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Department of Pharmacology & Systems Physiology

PhD Program in Molecular, Cellular and Biochemical Pharmacology

About the Program

Our doctoral (PhD) degree program is designed to provide training for the next generation of scientists, innovators and leaders in pharmacology.

Students will engage in a contemporary curriculum including thesis research training in faculty-mentored research programs.

Alumni of our training program have advanced to successful careers in academia and in pharmaceutical and governmental organizations.

Faculty Research Programs

Faculty research programs offer students a wide array of choices for thesis research projects. These research programs involve mechanistic and quantitative aspects of potential and established drug targets and development of new biotechnologies for high-impact disease interventions through the use of state-of-the-art biotechnology and pharmacological methods.

Student thesis projects may include mechanistic and quantitative analyses of: cardiovascular pharmacology; neuropharmacology; immunopharmacology; molecular pharmacology of proteins/enzymes; molecular biology of hormones and drug receptors; molecular biology and pathophysiology of ion channels, pumps and exchangers; contractile and regulatory proteins; cancer pharmacology; environmental toxicology; translational pharmacology; protein chemistry and structural biology; gene therapy; stem cell therapy, etc.

A variety of approaches from single molecules to entire organisms are used to study pharmacological mechanisms i health and disease.

Student Research

Students conduct thesis research supported by faculty, and by departmental and institutional state-of-the-art biotechnology laboratory resources, including research core facilities, genomics, proteomics, gene array, bioinformatics, transgenics, MRI, ultrasound and confocal, imaging and fluorescent cell sorting.

Small Student to Faculty Ratio

Our doctoral program has a low student to faculty ratio assuring personal mentoring and interactions to guide the professional development of each student to a career pathway tailored to his/her interests and strengths. Our students are among more than 350 other biomedical sciences graduate students within various programs in the College of Medicine which includes students pursuing combined MD/PhD degrees.

Students accepted to our PhD program for full-time studies are awarded tuition, health insurance and 12-month research scholarships or assistantships ($23,000 in 2015-16). Qualified applicants may be nominated for additional stipend awards.

Excellent Graduate Placement

Our recent graduates are well placed in discovery research positions in fast-track career development.

Our former graduates have become principal basic and clinical scientists and professors with outstanding research programs in pharmacology: some in drug discovery, translational medicine, and science education; others in government agencies (e.g., National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration) as research scientists and program managers; and still others in internationally recognized pharmaceutical corporations (e.g., Eli Lilly) as directors of global research and development, clinical research programs and translation of basic research discoveries leading to new product development and licensing.

In addition, our graduates have found positions such as patent law, regulatory officers and medical writers.