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Benefits of the Pharmacological Sciences Training Program (PSTP)

Students completing the graduate program will have acquired basic knowledge of pharmacology and related fields, in-depth knowledge in their dissertation research area, the ability to evaluate scientific literature, mastery of a variety of laboratory procedures, skill in planning and executing an important research project in pharmacology, and the ability to communicate results, analysis, and interpretation. These skills provide a sound basis for successful scientific careers in academia, government, or industry.

Joining Our Pharmacology Program from BBSP

All students in the Basic Science Departments in the Medical School and the Biological Sciences Divisions in Biology and Chemistry enter graduate school through the Biological & Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP).

During their first year of graduate school, students take courses and complete three 10-week research rotations to identify a faculty thesis mentor. Students must also decide what courses to take and what curriculum to join.

Students who wish to join the PSTP under the guidance of a thesis mentor that has a primary or joint appointment in the Pharmacology Department may do so without additional steps.

Students who wish to join the PSTP under the guidance of a thesis mentor that does NOT have a primary or joint appointment in the Pharmacology Department may do so, but first must discuss the following information with their thesis mentor:

  1. Firstly, the graduate school requires that dissertation committees in the PSTP have at least three faculty who have primary or joint appointments in the Department of Pharmacology. Exemptions for having two primary or joint PHCO faculty on the dissertation committee are typically granted by the PSTP when scientifically justified. The Chair of the dissertation committee must have a primary or joint appointment in the Department. Students who are considering joining the PSTP but whose scientific interests are not well represented among the Department’s primary or joint faculty should consider joining other graduate programs.
  2. Secondly, the PSTP requires its thesis mentors to review student Doctoral Written Exams, specifically during their student’s 2nd year in graduate school. Thesis mentors can expect that this requirement will take two to three hours of their time in early February. Thesis mentors that do not wish to carry out this service cannot mentor students in the PSTP.
  3. Faculty who wish to become thesis mentors of the PSTP must reach out to the DGS (Mauro Calabrese; to schedule a 30-minute meeting with the DGS and Department Chair to discuss research interests, program policies, and mentor expectations.

What to Expect Once in the PSTP

Once in the program, students complete required coursework and qualifying examinations, propose a research topic, choose a dissertation committee, and engage in dissertation research. The anticipated duration of training is 5 years.

Our Graduate Program is dedicated to the training of outstanding scientists in the pharmacological sciences. An outstanding graduate program is a high priority of our department, and the training faculty participate fully at all levels. Our department ranks consistently in the highest levels of NIH funding for pharmacology departments nationwide and a great diversity of research areas is available to trainees.

Research Areas

  • Cancer Biology
  • Cardiovascular Pharmacology
  • Computational and Systems Biology
  • Genomics
  • Neuropharmacology, including Drug and Alcohol Addiction
  • Proteomics
  • RNA Biology
  • Stem Cells and Gene Therapy
  • Structural Biology

Visit Pharmacology’s research page for more information on research areas and faculty who specialize in each area.