Courses

The Department of Pharmacology offers courses at the undergraduate (2000-4000) and graduate (5000-8000) levels. Click the tabs below to view course information by level. Visit the classes section of One Stop for information on how to register.

  • 2000
  • 3000
  • 4000
  • 5000
  • 8000
  • 2000

    PHCL 2001: Basic Principles of Pharmacology: A Drug's Fantastic Voyage

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 2
    • Course Director: Dr. Greg Connell
    • Prerequisites: College-level chemistry

    This is an introductory course designed to loosely follow the movie “The Fantastic Voyage”. It is focused on basic principles with an emphasis on anticoagulants (like the movie). Most classes have associated reading assignments and/or Youtube videos. Time in class is spent building on assignments by going through more advanced discussions and problem solving either individually or in small groups. Homework assignments and/or quizzes encourage completion of the preparatory assignments. This course was designed in part to introduce basic study/learning habits in preparation for upper level pharmacology and science classes.

  • 3000

    PHCL 3100: Pharmacology for Pre-Med and Life Science Students

    • Session(s): Spring
    • Credits: 2
    • Course Directors: Dr. Li-Na Wei & Dr. Hiroshi Hiasa
    • Prerequisites: College-level biology (biochemistry or physiology recommended)

    This course is tailored for students interested in clinical medicine, biological science research, health care professions, or those just wanting a taste of how drugs work. The emphasis is on "therapeutic drugs", with the goal of preparing students for future success in modern medicine, research, industry, graduate schools, or other health science programs. This course covers different drug categories for major organ systems including the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the endocrine/reproductive systems, as well as drugs for disease conditions like cancer and infectious disease. This course is required for students pursuing a Pharmacology Minor.

  • 4000

    PHCL 4001: Mechanisms of Drug Action

    • Session(s): Spring and Fall
    • Credits: 2
    • Course Director: Dr. Greg Connell
    • Prerequisites: College-level chemistry (biochemistry and advanced biology courses are recommended)

    This course focuses on fundamental concepts in pharmacology, rather than short-term memorization. The class is designed around a series of five research papers that follow the development of the anti-cancer drug imatinib from preclinical studies through to the appearance of clinical resistance. The discussion of each paper is preceded by lectures designed to provide the major pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetic and/or pharmacogenetic background

    PHCL 4003: Anti-infective Drugs

    • Session(s): Spring
    • Credits: 2
    • Course Director: Dr. Hiroshi Hiasa
    • Prerequisites: College-level biology

    This course covers principles and mechanisms of drugs used to treat infectious disease. Lecture topics are the biological basis and mechanisms of antibacterial drugs, antiviral drugs, and antifungal & antiprotozoal drugs. Students also review and discuss research papers on anti-infective drugs.

    PHCL 4010: Current Research Topics in Pharmacology

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 2
    • Course Director: Dr. Hiroshi Hiasa
    • Prerequisites: Upper division or instructor consent (PHCL 2001 or 3100 recommended)

    This course is designed to expose students to a variety of cutting-edge research projects in pharmacology. The course consists of research seminars, discussion sessions, literature-based projects, and oral presentations. Students will develop a stronger understanding of specific research projects and the relevant literature, and gain experience in preparing and delivering a scientific presentation.

    PHCL 4020: Chemotherapy: From Current Anticancer Drugs to Future Cancer Therapeutics

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Director: Dr. Hiroshi Hiasa & Dr. Cheuk Leung
    • Prerequisites: College-level biology

    The course covers therapeutic agents used for cancer treatment. The biological basis, mechanisms of action, side effects, and various treatment challenges of anti-cancer agents, ranging from traditional chemotherapy drugs to targeted therapeutics and immunotherapy, will be discussed. The process of drug discovery and development will also be discussed.

    PHCL 4100: Laboratory in Molecular Pharmacology

    • Session(s): Spring
    • Credits: 2
    • Course Director: Dr. Ezequiel Marron
    • Prerequisites: PHCL 2001 or 4001

    The course offers a hands-on lab experience where principles of drug response are put into practice using various experimental model systems - from yeast to mammalian cells. Class meetings include a discussion of the experimental model systems and the theory behind the techniques used, as well as practical aspects of experimental design. Instrumentation and techniques used throughout the course include the Tecan plate reader (light scattering, colorimeter, and fluorimeter functions), solid phase extraction, HPLC, conventional PCR, rt qPCR, and agarose gel electrophoresis. Excel and GraphPad Prism data analysis software are used throughout the course.

    PHCL 4343: Pharmacology of the Synapse

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Director: Dr. Anna Lee
    • Prerequisites: Upper division or instructor consent (PHCL 2001 or 3100 recommended)

    This hybrid course studies the synapse as a pharmacological gateway to the nervous system. Students explore the physiology of and signaling at the synapse, as well as the genes, molecules, and pathways that influence synaptic signaling. Students will connect changes in synaptic signaling to conditions such as Parkinson's disease, depression, anxiety, pain, and addiction. Students will also explore how various drugs modify signaling at the synapse and how this translates into physiological effects at the whole organism level.

    PHCL 4993: Directed Study 

    • Session(s): Fall, Spring, Summer
    • Credits: 1-3/term (no more than 6 credits total)
    • Course Director: Dr. Hiroshi Hiasa
    • Prerequisites: Instructor consent

    This course involves individual study (‘dry lab’ experience) on selected topics in pharmacology with a faculty mentor. The emphasis of this course is on readings and the use of scientific literature.

    PHCL 4994: Directed Research 

    • Session(s): Fall, Spring, Summer
    • Credits: 1-3/term (no more than 12 credits total)
    • Course Director: Dr. Hiroshi Hiasa
    • Prerequisites: Instructor consent, departmental consent

    This course involves laboratory research ("wet lab" experience) in the areas of pharmacological/biomedical research. Each student identifies their faculty mentor and conducts a research project in the faculty mentor’s laboratory.

  • 5000

    PHCL 5109 - Problems in Pharmacology

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 4
    • Course Director: Dr. Colin Campbell & Dr. Ezequiel Marron
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (MS program) or approval from the Director of Graduate Studies

    In this course, students will gain practical experience working in a biomedical research laboratory. Students will develop and refine skills  required for productive and safe lab work. Topics covered in this class include lab safety, proper equipment usage, making solutions and related calculations, and fundamental concepts and techniques in molecular biology and signal transduction. Key course concepts and content will be reinforced by conducting experiments in the lab under the supervision of an experienced instructor.

    PHCL 5109 - Problems in Pharmacology

    • Session(s): Spring
    • Credits: 4
    • Course Director: Dr. Colin Campbell
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (MS program) or approval from the Director of Graduate Studies

    This course is an interactive classroom experience focused on developing student communication skills. The primary emphasis is on student presentations of their research projects. In addition to making verbal presentations, students are expected to provide constructive criticism and feedback to their peers. Students also work on scientific writing skills by preparing a one-page NIH-style Specific Aims page outlining their research project.

    PHCL 5110 - Introduction to Pharmacology

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Directors: Dr. Colin Campbell & Dr. Steven Graves
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology or approval from the Course Director(s)

    This is a course for first-year students in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology. The course introduces students to the basic principles of pharmacology and focuses on molecular mechanisms of drug action. Topics covered include pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, signal transduction, toxicology pharmacogenomics, and drug discovery.

    PHCL 5111 - Pharmacogenomics

    • Session(s): Spring
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Director: Dr. Colin Campbell
    • Prerequisites: Graduate student and approval from the Course Director(s) 

    Advances in high throughput large-scale genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics form the basis of the new science of pharmacogenomics. Pharmacogenomics integrates the study of the genetic basis of individual variation in therapeutic response, with the use of molecular (DNA, RNA, protein or other biomolecule) markers to predict drug efficacy and safety. This course integrates the topic of human genetic variation and its implications with the concepts of functional genomics, pharmacogenomics, toxicogenomics and proteomics in an interactive, classroom discussion-based course.

    PHCL 5112 - A Graduate Toolkit I: An Introduction to the Scientific Research Lab

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 1
    • Course Director: Dr. Nick Levinson
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology

    This is a course for first-year students in the Graduate Program of Pharmacology. This course will introduce graduate students to the basic operating principles and techniques of a scientific research laboratory, general concepts surrounding experimental design and experimental controls, and familiarity with common laboratory calculations. Discussion of scientific techniques will include recombinant DNA and molecular biology techniques, protein expression and purification, protein assays, biochemical data analysis and fitting methods, transcriptomics and proteomics studies, and cell culture & mouse models of disease. Methods are presented in the context of highlighting general principles in experimental design.

    PHCL 5113 - A Graduate Toolkit II: Scientific Speaking and Writing for Graduate Students

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 2
    • Course Directors: Dr. Tanya Freedman
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (PhD program)

    In collaboration with their mentors, students will develop thesis projects and scientific communication skills. Specifically, students will learn the principles of oral presentation, hone speaking style and slide content, and prepare for the departmental second-year talk. They will prepare sections of an NIH-style fellowship proposal in time for those eligible to submit an F31 NRSA application for the December deadline. This proposal will also comprise the written component of the preliminary exam. Students will also learn the elements of the closed-door component of the preliminary exam and how best to prepare. Throughout the class, students will provide feedback to their peers, develop critical thinking skills, and practice self-advocacy with their mentors, colleagues, and classmates in soliciting constructive criticism.

  • 8000

    PHCL 8026 - Neuro-Immune Interactions

    • Session(s): Every other Fall (odd years)
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Directors: Dr. Thomas Molitor & Dr. Michael Raleigh
    • Prerequisites: approval from the Course Director(s)

    This course aims to provide detailed application and integration of neuro-immune interactions that impact immunological and psychological well-being. Current research models and techniques are discussed. As a result of taking this course, participants will be able to understand: structure and function of neuro-immune connections, modulation of neuro-immune axis by drugs of abuse, and CNS diseases and treatment.

    PHCL 8100 - Laboratory Research in Pharmacology

    • Session(s): Fall, Spring
    • Credits: 4
    • Course Director: Director of Graduate Studies
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology

    This course consists of laboratory rotations, or supervised independent research experiences in pharmacology. The focus is on gaining expertise in the formulation and testing of scientific hypotheses, modern pharmacology research methodologies, and data acquisition and analysis.

    PHCL 8200 - Seminar: Selected Topics in Pharmacology

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 1
    • Course Directors: Dr. Justin Drake
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology

    This course will focus on how to critically evaluate and comprehend the scientific literature, properly present scientific literature/figures, and critique presentations related to the field of pharmacology and therapeutics. Students will get an opportunity to present the literature in front of their peers as well as moderate a question and answer session related to these literature presentations, empowering the students to engage in critical scientific dialogue.

    PHCL 8208 - Neuropsychopharmacology

    • Session(s): Every other Fall (even years)
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Director: Dr. Marco Pravetoni & Dr. Andrew Harris
    • Prerequisites: approval of the Course Director

    This course investigates methodologies to study the relationships between drugs and their biochemical, behavioral, and neurophysiological consequences. Topics include signaling pathways and their relationship to  neuronal function or behavior, and reinforcement, tolerance, and dependence in the context of drugs of abuse.

    PHCL 8209 - Substance Abuse at the Bedside

    • Session(s): Spring
    • Credits: 1
    • Course Director: Dr. Gavin Bart
    • Prerequisites: approval of the Course Director

    This four-week course is offered to graduate students pursuing non-clinical research in the area of addiction. The course is primarily for students in the PharmacoNeuroImmunology (PNI) training community, but is available to other students throughout the health sciences. The main objective of the course is to expose students to clinical issues in addiction. It is hoped that this exposure will allow the student to incorporate these issues into their own research questions, modeling systems, and methodology.

    PHCL 8211 - Advanced Medical Pharmacology I

    • Session(s): Spring
    • Credits: 5
    • Course Director: Dr. Cheuk Leung
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology, or Course Director consent

    This hybrid course offers a combination of online and in-class lectures coupled with interactive literature discussion/flipped classroom components. The course has two sections focusing on 1) pharmacology of the autonomic, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems and 2) anti-cancer and anti-microbial therapeutics. Course Instructors will highlight key features of currently utilized therapeutic agents and underscore recent advances in basic and clinical research that underpin emerging or potential approaches to pharmacotherapy. 

    PHCL 8212 - Advanced Medical Pharmacology II

    • Session(s): Summer
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Directors: Dr. Stan Thayer & Dr. Aaron LeBeau
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology, or Course Director consent

    This hybrid course offers a combination of online and in-class lectures coupled with interactive literature discussion/flipped classroom components. The course focuses on pharmacology of the nervous system. Course Instructors will highlight key features of currently utilized therapeutic agents, and underscore recent advances in basic and clinical research that underpin emerging or potential approaches to pharmacotherapy.