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 & Dr. Daniel Romero
    • 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. Daniel Romero
    • 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, Spring, Summer
    • Credits: 1-18
    • Course Director: Director of Graduate Studies
    • 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 and Dr. Tim Walseth
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology or approval from the Course Director(s)

    This is a required 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, chemotherapy, 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 required course for first-year students in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology. The goal of the course is to introduce graduate students to the basic operating principles and techniques of a scientific research laboratory. Discussion topics regarding laboratory operations will include laboratory personnel structure, professionalism in a research laboratory, and scientific authorship and publication. Basic discussion of scientific techniques will include recombinant protein production and purification, DNA and RNA purification and methods, molecular biology methods, microscopy, and an introduction to basic model systems and bioinformatics.

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

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

    This is a required course for second-year students in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (PhD program). Students receive guidance on public speaking and handling question/answer exchanges at scientific talks and poster sessions. In the second part of the class, students receive guidance in preparing a fellowship application related to their thesis research.

  • 8000

    PHCL 8026 - Neuro-Immune Interactions

    • Session(s): Every other Fall (odd years)
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Directors: Dr. Thomas Molitor and 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 and Dr. Tim Walseth
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology

    This is a seminar-based course required for first- and second-year students in the PhD program and first-year students in the MS program, enrolled in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology. Second-year PhD students are required to give a public seminar on their thesis project. First-year students meet once each week with the Course Director(s) to discuss topics related to presenting effective oral scientific presentations.

    PHCL 8208 - Neuropsychopharmacology

    • Session(s): Every other Fall (even years)
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Director: Dr. Ryan Rupprecht
    • 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: approval of the Course Director

    This hybrid course is required of first-year students in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology, and offers an online independent learning component coupled to an in-class interactive discussion/student participation component. The former segment requires students to view online lectures delivered by pharmacology faculty to UMN medical students, related to the pharmacology of the autonomic nervous system, and drugs relevant to cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems. The focus of these lectures is on the pharmacology of currently utilized therapeutic agents. The latter section of the course is comprised of an interactive series of in-class discussion periods focused around assigned readings from the current literature. 

    PHCL 8212 - Advanced Medical Pharmacology II

    • Session(s): Summer
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Directors: Dr. Stan Thayer and Dr. Aaron LeBeau
    • Prerequisites: approval of the Course Director

    This hybrid course is required of first-year students in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology, and offers an online independent learning component coupled to an in-class interactive discussion/student participation component. The former segment requires students to view online lectures delivered by pharmacology faculty to UMN medical students, related to the pharmacology of the endocrine and nervous system. The focus of these lectures is on the pharmacology of currently utilized therapeutic agents. The latter section of the course is comprised of an interactive series of in-class discussion periods focused around assigned readings from the current literature.