Courses

Beginning in fall semester 2024, students can expect to see minor adjustments to the MPaT curriculum. These include tuning course credits of existing classes with the aim of increasing elective options and the addition of a new class.

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

PHCL 2001: Basic Principles of Pharmacology

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

This introductory course is focused on basic principles with an emphasis on anticoagulants. 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. Michael Raleigh
  • 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 
  • Credits: 2
  • Course Director: Dr. Lauren Slosky
  • Prerequisites: College-level chemistry (biochemistry and advanced biology courses are recommended)

This course 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. The emphasis of this class is on fundamental concepts in pharmacology, rather than short-term memorization.

PHCL 4003: Anti-infective Drugs

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

This course covers principles and mechanisms of drugs used to treat infectious diseases. Lecture topics include the biological basis and mechanisms of anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-protozoal 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. Cheuk Leung
  • Prerequisites: Upper division or instructor consent (PHCL 2001 or 3100 recommended)

Students will dive into diverse disciplines of pharmacology research in this interactive course. The course consists of research seminars, discussion sessions, and a group project on a contemporary pharmacology agent. Principal Investigators will lead research seminars and give firsthand insights into challenges and discoveries in diverse areas of pharmacology research. Through working on a collaborative project, students will learn to dissect research literature, present with clarity, and engage in scientific dialogue surrounding drug innovation.

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

  • Session(s): Fall
  • Credits: 3
  • Course Director: Dr. Cheuk Leung, Dr. Hai Dang Nguyen
  • Prerequisites: College-level biology

This 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. Students will also learn about the process of drug discovery and development.

PHCL 4100: Laboratory in Molecular Pharmacology

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

This course offers students a hands-on lab experience, where principles of pharmacology are put into practice in a lab setting. Class meetings include a discussion of experimental model systems and the theory behind techniques employed, as well as practical aspects of experimental design and data analysis. Students will gain experience with a variety of lab techniques and instrumentation.

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 transmission. 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. Cheuk Leung
  • 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. Cheuk Leung
  • 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 5108: Introduction to Laboratory Research

  • Session(s): Fall
  • Credits: 4
  • Course Director: Dr. Ezequiel Marron
  • Prerequisites: student in MPaT (MS track) or Course Director consent

This course provides students with practical experience in a biomedical research laboratory, with a focus on developing and refining skills required for productive and safe lab work. Topics covered in this class include lab safety, proper use of equipment, 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. This is a required course for first-year graduate students in the MPaT (MS track).

PHCL 5109: Introduction to Scientific Communication

  • Session(s): Spring
  • Credits: 4
  • Course Directors: Dr. Colin Campbell, Dr. Carly Baehr
  • Prerequisites: student in MPaT (MS track) or Course Director consent

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 oral presentations, students are expected to provide constructive criticism and feedback to their peers. Students also work on scientific writing skills by preparing an NIH-style Specific Aims page outlining their research projects. This is a required course for first-year graduate students in MPaT (MS track).

PHCL 5110: Introduction to Pharmacology

  • Session(s): Fall
  • Credits: 3
  • Course Directors: Dr. Colin Campbell, Dr. Steven Graves
  • Prerequisites: student in MPaT (MS or PhD track) or Course Director consent

This course introduces students to the basic principles of pharmacology, with an emphasis on molecular mechanisms of drug action. Topics covered in the course include pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, signal transduction, pharmacogenomics, and drug discovery. This course is required for all first-year students in MPaT (MS & PhD tracks) and is open to graduate students from other programs and to undergraduates with suitable backgrounds and Course Director consent.

PHCL 5111: Pharmacogenomics

  • Session(s): Spring
  • Credits: 3
  • Course Director: Dr. Colin Campbell
  • Prerequisites: student in MPaT (MS or PhD track) or Course Director consent

In this class, the instructor will work with students in a highly interactive environment to develop a shared understanding of the challenges as well as the opportunities associated with developing a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between somatic and inherited genetic variation and drug outcomes for individuals and populations. Introductory content will focus on basic principles of pharmacology, human genetics and genomics. The balance of the course will focus on current efforts to develop a deeper understanding of the molecular genetics of disease pathophysiology and how this new insight can be used to develop novel therapeutic approaches to treating human disease. Each session will involve interactive discussions and a lively exchange of thoughts and ideas.

PHCL 5112: Foundations of Biomedical Research

  • Session(s): Fall
  • Credits: 4
  • Course Directors: Dr. Mike Sheedlo, Dr. Meghan Driscoll
  • Prerequisites: student in MPaT (PhD track) or Course Director consent

This course will introduce graduate students to concepts needed to be successful in a scientific research laboratory. Over the duration of this course there will be: an introduction to the scientific method and principles of experimental design, and an overview of data analysis techniques, including basic biostatistics and machine learning. All material presented in this course will place an emphasis on how these topics relate to modern pharmacology.

PHCL 5115: Neuropsychopharmacology

  • Session(s): Spring
  • Credits: 3
  • Course Directors: Dr. Sade Spencer, Dr. Ezequiel Marron Fernandez de Velasco
  • Prerequisites:

PHCL 5993: Directed Study 

  • Session(s): Fall, Spring, Summer
  • Credits: 1-3/term (no more than 6 credits total)
  • Course Director: Director of Graduate Studies
  • 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 5994: Directed Research 

  • Session(s): Fall, Spring, Summer
  • Credits: 1-3/term (no more than 12 credits total)
  • Course Director: Director of Graduate Studies
  • 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.

8000

PHCL 8100: Laboratory Research in Pharmacology

  • Session(s): Fall
  • Credits: 4
  • Course Director: MPaT Director of Graduate Studies
  • Prerequisites: student in MPaT (MS or PhD track)

This is the formal course designation for lab rotations, immersion experiences required of students in MS (Plan A/B) and PhD program tracks. During lab rotations, students gain exposure to research questions and related techniques under the supervision of a Graduate Faculty member. 

PHCL 8200: SciComm I: Critical Analysis & Publishing

  • Session(s): Fall
  • Credits: 2
  • Course Directors: Dr. Justin Drake
  • Prerequisites: student in MPaT (PhD track)

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. This is a required course for students in MPaT (PhD track).

PHCL 8211: Advanced Pharmacology 

  • Session(s): Spring
  • Credits: 5
  • Course Director: Dr. Colin Campbell, Dr. Lauren Slosky
  • Prerequisites: successful completion of PHCL 5110; student in MPaT (MS or PhD track)

This hybrid course offers online and in-class lectures coupled with interactive literature discussion/flipped classroom components. The course has three sections focusing on: 1) pharmacology of the autonomic, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems, 2) anti-cancer and anti-microbial therapeutics and 3) 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. This is a required course for students in MPaT (MS & PhD tracks).

PHCL 8220: The Ethical Scientist

  • Session(s): Spring
  • Credits: 1
  • Course Director: Dr. Sade Spencer
  • Prerequisites: student in MPaT (MS or PhD track)

This course focuses on scientific integrity in research and medicine. Topics discussed in class include best practices for experimental design, data collection and analysis, regulatory requirements for human and animal studies, collaboration and authorship practices, and other social and ethical issues. This is a required course for students in MPaT(MS & PhD tracks).

PHCL 8221: SciComm II: Writing & Research Presentation

  • Session(s): Fall
  • Credits: 3
  • Course Director: Dr. Tanya Freedman
  • Prerequisites: student in MPaT (PhD track)

This course is designed to help students develop skills in oral and written scientific communication, with their thesis research project serving as the focal point. Throughout the class, participants will be expected to engage with their advisors in strategic planning of their thesis research project, become knowledgeable about the state of their respective fields and associated literature, develop critical thinking skills, provide constructive feedback to their peers, and practice self-advocacy with their mentors, colleagues, and classmates in soliciting constructive criticism.

PHCL 8555: Master's Project

  • Session(s): Fall, Spring, Summer
  • Credits: 
  • Course Director: Director of Master's Studies
  • Prerequisites: student in MPaT (MS)