The Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology offers a program leading to the PhD, with the primary objective of training individuals for a successful independent career in pharmacology, toxicology or a related biomedical science.
The field of pharmacology is very broad and offers many research directions and opportunities. Curiosity, drive and dedication allows students to receive diverse training, yet focus on areas that are personalized to the individual's interests. The breadth of training of a PhD in pharmacology opens a wide range of career options and employment opportunities in academic, governmental and industrial organizations. That objective is achieved through a combination of formal course work, independent study and both faculty-directed and independent research. Students are exposed to fundamental principles of pharmacology as well as current concepts related to mechanisms of actions of an array of different classes of drugs and modern research techniques.
The curriculum provides ample opportunities for students to improve their written and verbal communication skills and to develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving and experimental design. The department has 19 faculty with primary appointments and a number of adjunct faculty who represent the Departments of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Medicine, Emergency Medicine and the Cancer Center and Research Institute. Research interests of the faculty are diverse and include the central and peripheral nervous systems, drug abuse, the cardiovascular system, endocrinology, toxicology, signal transduction, membrane transport, drug metabolism/biotransformation, protein-DNA interactions, DNA damage and repair, cancer chemotherapy and drug development.
Multidisciplinary approaches ranging from whole animal to genomic, transgenic, proteomics, translational and bioinformatics techniques are used to investigate the genetic and molecular basis of human diseases. Departmental equipment includes electrophysiological instrumentation, fluorescence imaging, UV-Vis and laser spectrophotometers, fluorometers, gas and liquid chromatographic-mass spectrometry facilities, cell-culture facilities, and an extensive array of behavioral, cardiovascular, chemical and biochemical instrumentation.
Admission to the program is competitive, and applicants with at least a baccalaureate degree are evaluated on the basis of undergraduate grades (particularly in science), Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and letters of recommendation. Financial assistance in the form of a stipend support and/or tuition scholarships may be available for full-time students accepted into the program..