Pharmacology examines and characterizes the action of drugs in humans and animals. It emphasizes the therapeutic responses of drugs, their mechanisms of action, the fate of drugs in the body, potential adverse reactions, and drug-drug interactions. Physiology considers processes that control and regulate the functioning of systems within an intact organism.
Basic physiological processes underlie all fields in biomedical science. Understanding and exploiting the specific actions of drugs can also furnish a way to probe physiological and biochemical processes in both normal and pathological circumstances. Research in pharmacology and physiology provides challenging and exciting opportunities for graduate study.
The Pharmacology and Physiology (PHPH) program offers graduate courses leading to the MS and the PhD. Both degrees require independent research under the direction of faculty members in the department, who are engaged in highly active research programs involving molecular, cellular and behavioral approaches to experimental pharmacology and physiology in a strongly collaborative environment.
Learn more about the curriculum.
Meet a Student
Melissa Manners, who successfully defended her doctoral thesis in March, has been studying the role of the epigenetic regulator methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) in modulating pain. Mutations in MECP2 cause Rett syndrome, and it has been observed that people with Rett syndrome have reduced pain sensitivity. What Manners did was to show the molecular link between MeCP2 and pain.
All students must successfully complete the core curriculum before advancing to the specific program requirements for their degree. Intensive graduate-level pharmacology and physiology courses round out the core programmatic courses. Specialization in ion channel physiology, smooth muscle physiology, neuropharmacology, behavioral pharmacology, and signal transduction processes may involve the taking of several elective courses. Each program requires defense of a thesis based on original research.
The PhD program, requiring a minimum of four years in full-time study, is focused on educating students to become independent researchers and teachers. The MS program, requiring two years of full-time study, provides a broad knowledge and technical expertise in pharmacology and physiology, allowing graduates to become partners in research in either an academic or industrial environment. Students who wish to continue their graduate studies after the MS degree may apply to the PhD program, and their course credits may be applied to the doctoral program.
Graduating Division of Biomedical Science Programs students (27 PhD, 5 MD/PhD, 11 MS) accepted teaching, industrial, residency and postdoctoral positions at:
- Absorption Systems
- Arbutus Biopharma
- Brown University
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
- Drexel University College of Medicine
- Fox Chase Cancer Center
- Genisphere, LLC
- John Hopkins University
- John Wayne Cancer Center (Santa Monica, CA)
- Lankenau Institute for Medical Research
- Massachusetts General Hospital
- Princeton University
- Public Health Research Institute (Rutgers)
- The Scripps Institute
- The Wistar Institute
- University of British Columbia
- University of North Carolina
- University of North Dakota
- University of Pennsylvania
- Vanderbilt University
- Weill-Cornell Medical Center