Pharmacology and Therapeutics Concentration

NOTE: This page is for detailed information about the Pharmacology & Therapeutics Advanced Concentration only. All inquiries concerning admission to the BMS must be directed to the BMS Admissions office at biomed@med.ufl.edu. More information on admissions is also available on the Admissions Page.

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Program Areas of Research

Program of Study

Program Faculty

Program Contacts

Overview

The Advanced Concentration in Pharmacology & Therapeutics is one of eight concentrations leading to the Ph.D. degree under the auspices of the Graduate Program (BMS) in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Imagine discovering a novel mechanism of how a cell functions or how it may go wrong in disease and then designing and developing a strategy or agent to target that mechanism for new cures or treatments.  These options are possible because of the research training in the Advanced Concentration in Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Our discipline is inherently translational and focuses on transforming discoveries into therapies. Our concentration fosters independent but interactive research programs leading to the discovery of new knowledge that impacts our basic understanding, prevention or treatment of disease. Major research foci of the faculty include the areas of neuropharmacology, muscle therapeutics, and cancer/immunopharmacology. Each of these areas is closely interwoven with the subject matter and experimental techniques of physiology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, microbiology, immunology, genetics, and pathology. A significant number of faculty are actively involved in new drug development and discovery while many others are vigorously involved in the development of biological therapies. Extramural research support is provided from federal, private and industrial sources to foster new discoveries in both molecular and systems pharmacology. The department has a strong commitment to the education of students to understand and apply the principles of pharmacology and therapeutics to train students in multidisciplinary research.

Meet Steven Munger Ph.D., professor and vice chair, and Joe Flores-Toro, Ph.D. student:


Areas of Research

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Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology

  • Receptors
  • Ion Channels & Transporters
  • Intracellular Signaling & Cytoskeletal Motility
  • Nuclear targets (DNA/RNA)

 Therapeutics

  • Drug Discovery
  • Biologics

 Systems Pharmacology

  • Neuropharmacology
  • Muscle Therapeutics
  • Cancer/Immunopharmacology

Meet Olga Guryanova, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, and learn about her research on chromatin organization and epigenetic regulation on leukemia development:

For more information about the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, please click here.


Program of Study

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The curriculum in Pharmacology and Therapeutics is designed to prepare students for gainful employment in several major areas including academic science, pharmaceutical/biotech industry, and regulatory affairs. The student learning experience consists of laboratory rotations, mentored research, a core pharmacology course curriculum, class electives, journal clubs, seminars, and data presentations.

Course work in the department emphasizes translational research with the goal to establish the pharmacological and therapeutic basis to manage disease including neurodegenerative, psychiatric, neuromuscular, neuroendocrine, chemosensory, and oncological conditions in humans. Students learn the principals of biomedicine such as how drugs and biological agents are discovered, optimized, function, and biodistribute in patients.  In addition, courses explore the breadth of translational research in the identification of opportunities and approaches to health problems as it relates to small molecules, biologics, diagnostics, and devices.

The axis of the Pharmacology & Therapeutics curriculum is formed by three core courses.

  • Principles of Drug Action & Therapeutics
  • Translational Research & Therapeutics: Bench, Bedside, Community, & Policy
  • Molecules to Man: Past, Present and Future Therapeutic Strategies for Disease

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the Pharmacology Immersion Program (PIP) before they begin the program.  This is a one-week immersive lecture, discussion, and laboratory methods program for incoming graduate students interested in Pharmacology and Therapeutics. PIP is designed to 1) render a general knowledge base of fundamental concepts in Pharmacology, 2) provide hands-on experience with methods commonly used within the multiple disciplines and experimental approaches within Pharmacology, and 3) facilitate engagement of students with primary faculty and other trainees in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

All Pharmacology students are required to register for the pharmacology research conference (GMS 6590, Seminar in Pharmacology) each Fall and Spring semester beginning in their second year. Pharmacology students are encouraged to participate in other journal clubs  if they wish.

The advanced program curriculum is flexible enough to allow the students to tailor their electives to the needs of their chosen research and can integrate coursework offered by other GPBS concentrations or certificate program. The required classroom studies are typically completed by the end of their second year, although opportunities to take optional, specialized courses in subsequent years are available.

Ph.D. candidacy is granted after successful completion of the minimum required course work and a qualifying exam. This exam consists of an oral defense of a dissertation research proposal written using the National Institutes of Health grant application format. The dissertation research project is overseen by a committee consisting of the supervisory faculty member and other graduate faculty. After finishing the dissertation research, the student presents their research in a seminar to the faculty at-large and then defends this research to their supervisory committee. The typical student will take 4-5 years to complete the necessary requirements leading to the Ph.D. degree.

Example Schedule – Pharmacology and Therapeutics Concentration

Undeclared StudentDeclared Student
Year 1 - Fall SemesterYear 1 - Fall Semester
GMS 6001: Fundamentals of Biomedical Science, 5 creditsGMS 6847: Translational Research & Therapeutics: Bench, Bedside, Community, & Policy, 3 credits
GMS 6003: Essentials of Graduate Research & Professional Development, 1 creditGMS 6003: Essentials of Graduate Research & Professional Development, 1 credit
GMS 6090: Journal Club, 1 creditGMS 6090: Laboratory Rotations, 2 credits
GMS 6090: Laboratory Rotations, 2 creditsElectives
Total = 9 credit hoursTotal = 9 credit hours
Students are expected to attend GMS 6590: Student Data Discussions in Pharmacology
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Year 1 - Spring SemesterYear 1 - Spring Semester
GMS 6009: Principles of Drug Action & Therapeutics, 3 creditsGMS 6009: Principles of Drug Action & Therapeutics, 3 credits
GMS 7003: Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research, 1 creditGMS 6590: Student Data Discussions in Pharmacology, 1 credit
GMS 6090: Journal Club, 1 creditGMS 7003: Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research, 1 credit
GMS 6090: Laboratory Rotations, 1 creditGMS 7979: Advanced Research, 1-4 credits
ElectivesElectives
Total = 9 credit hoursTotal = 9 credits
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Year 1 – Summer SemesterYear 1 – Summer Semester
GMS 7979: Advanced Research, 1-6 credits GMS 7979: Advanced Research, 1-6 credits
Electives Electives
Total = 6 creditsTotal = 6 credits
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Year 2 – Fall SemesterYear 2 – Fall Semester
GMS 6847: Translational Research & Therapeutics: Bench, Bedside, Community, & Policy, 3 credits GMS 6560: Molecules to Man: Past, Present and Future Therapeutic Strategies for Disease, 3 credits
GMS 6560: Molecules to Man: Past, Present and Future Therapeutic Strategies for Disease, 3 credits GMS 6590: Student Data Discussions in Pharmacology, 1 credit
GMS 6590: Student Data Discussions in Pharmacology, 1 credit GMS 7979: Advanced Research, 2-5 credits
GMS 7979: Advanced Research, 2-5 credits Electives
Total = 9 creditsTotal = 9 credits

The Faculty and their Research

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For a list of faculty members in the Pharmacology and Therapeutics advanced program, please click here.

Meet Roger Papke, Ph.D. and learn about his research on treating betel nut addiction:


What We’re Publishing

  • “Disulfide bond disrupting agents activate the unfolded protein response in EGFR- and HER2-positive breast tumor cells,” Oncotarget, March 2017, featuring Brian Law, Ph.D., associate professor.
  • “Activation of the central melanocortin system chronically reduces body mass without the necessity of long-term caloric restriction,” Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, February 2017, featuring Nihal Tumer, Ph.D., professor.
  • “Increased collagen cross-linking is a signature of dystrophin-deficient muscle,” Muscle & Nerve, July 2016, featuring Lee Sweeney, Ph.D., professor.

Concentration Contacts

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Jeffrey Harrison, Ph.D.
Graduate Coordinator, Pharmacology & Therapeutics Advanced Concentration
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics – UF College of Medicine
Phone: (352) 627-9208 | E-mail:  jharriso@ufl.edu

Ellen L. Esparolini
Graduate Administrator
Phone: 294-5350 | Email: eesparol@ufl.edu