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 Director: 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 or Fall
    • Credits: 2
    • Course Director: Dr. Greg Connell
    • 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. Hiroshi Hiasa
    • Prerequisites: College-level biology

    This course covers principles and mechanisms of drugs used to treat infectious disease. 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. 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

    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. 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 5108: Introduction to Laboratory Research

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 4
    • Course Director: Dr. Ezequiel Marron
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (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 Graduate Program in Pharmacology (MS track).

    PHCL 5109: Introduction to Scientific Communication

    • Session(s): Spring
    • Credits: 4
    • Course Director: Dr. Colin Campbell
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (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 the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (MS track).

    PHCL 5110: Introduction to Pharmacology

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Director: Dr. Colin Campbell & Dr. Steven Graves
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (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 the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (MS & PhD tracks), and is open to graduate students from other programs and to undergraduates with suitable background and Course Director consent.

    PHCL 5111: Pharmacogenomics

    • Session(s): Spring
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Director: Dr. Colin Campbell
    • Prerequisites: graduate student or Course Director consent

    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 will integrate the topic of human genetic variation and its implications with concepts of functional genomics, pharmacogenomics, toxicogenomics and proteomics in interactive discussion-based sessions.

    PHCL 5112: Foundations of Biomedical Research

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 2
    • Course Director: Dr. Nick Levinson
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (PhD track) or Course Director consent

    This course introduces graduate students to the basic operating principles and techniques of a scientific research laboratory. Class topics will include recombinant DNA technology, DNA and RNA methods, protein expression and purification, experimental assay design, biochemical data analysis methods, cell culture and in vivo model systems, and “OMICs” studies. This is a required course for first-year graduate students in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (PhD track).

  • 8000

    PHCL 8026: Neuro-Immune Interactions

    • Session(s): Fall (alternate/odd years)
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Director: Dr. Michael Raleigh & Dr. Thomas Molitor
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology

    This course examines regulatory systems (neuroendocrine, cytokine, and autonomic nervous systems) that link brain and immune systems (the “brain-immune axis”).

    PHCL 8100: Laboratory Research in Pharmacology

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 4
    • Course Director: Dr. Colin Campbell
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (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 the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (PhD track)

    This course provides students with guidance on how to give an effective oral scientific presentation. Students will give “journal club” presentations focused on scientific papers published by departmental seminar speakers, critique departmental seminars, provide feedback to senior graduate students preparing for their first departmental research seminar, and present a brief overview of their first fall semester lab rotation. This is a required course for students in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (PhD track).

    PHCL 8208: Neuropsychopharmacology

    • Session(s): Fall (alternate/even years)
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Director: Dr. Marco Pravetoni & Dr. Andrew Harris
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology

    This course addresses the role of specific neurotransmitter systems in mental illness and drug addiction, an area of almost exponential growth in research over the past several decades. The first part of the course provides an overview of the structure and function of the nervous system from a neuropharmacological perspective, and also covers methods typically employed in neurobehavioral pharmacology. The second and most extensive portion of the course examines the neuropharmacological basis of several broad categories of mental illness including mood disorders and autism, with particular emphasis on drug addiction.

    PHCL 8209: Substance Abuse at the Bedside

    • Session(s): Spring
    • Credits: 1
    • Course Director: Dr. Gavin Bart
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology

    This course provides exposure to the clinical management of addictive diseases to basic science trainees working in the field of addiction. By providing insight into the clinical aspects of addiction, it is hoped that basic scientists will develop new questions and design experiments that will translate back to the clinical setting. Students will be asked to discuss how the observed clinical interactions can influence a basic science project in which they are involved.

    PHCL 8211: Advanced Pharmacology 

    • Session(s): Spring
    • Credits: 5
    • Course Director: Dr. Cheuk Leung & Dr. Stanley Thayer
    • Prerequisites: successful completion of PHCL 5110; student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (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 the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (MS & PhD tracks).

    PHCL 8220: The Ethical Scientist

    • Session(s): Spring
    • Credits: 1
    • Course Director: Dr. Sade Spencer
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (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 the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (MS & PhD tracks).

    PHCL 8221: SciComm II: Writing & Research Presentation

    • Session(s): Fall
    • Credits: 3
    • Course Director: Dr. Tanya Freedman
    • Prerequisites: student in the Graduate Program in Pharmacology (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.