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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 Our Students and Alumni

Welcome to Our First-Year Students

PhD: Neha Mohan, Erick O'Brien, Rhea Temmermand, Clara Xu and Ruxu Zhai

MS: Geena John and Sam Stine

Melissa Manners, PhD '16

Meet Alum Melissa Manners, PhD '16

Melissa Manners, who successfully defended her doctoral thesis in March 2016, studied 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. Manners demonstrated the molecular link between MeCP2 and pain.

Student Achievements

Congratulations Katelyn Reeb

Student Katelyn Reeb was a runner-up in the Science Sketch Competition of the Philadelphia chapter of the Society for Neuroscience (PCSFN) for her submission titled, “The mechanism of allosteric modulation of glutamate transporters.” To view her entry please visit

Congratulations Discovery Day 2020 Winners

Anthony DiNatale (Fatatis lab), Second Place, Barry Waterhouse Outstanding Platform Presentation

Julia Farnan (Jackson Lab), Honorable mention, Outstanding Senior Graduate Student Poster

Jared Luchetta Awarded National Research Service Award

Congratulations to Jared Luchetta (Meucci lab) for being awarded a National Research Service Award (NRSA) pre-doctoral fellow on Drexel University’s Interdisciplinary and Translational Research Training Grant in NeuroAIDS, funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Stacia Lewandowski Serves as Guest Editor

Stacia Lewandowski served as guest editor of the June 2020 newsletter of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society in the section on diverse voices – LGBTQIA+.

Stacia Lewandowski Awarded International Behavioral Neuroscience (IBNS) Travel Award

Congratulations to Stacia Lewandowski for being awarded an IBNS Travel Award for the 2020 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.

Emily Nickoloff Awarded National Research Service Award

Congratulations to Emily Nickoloff for being awarded a National Research Service Award (NRSA) pre-doctoral fellow on Drexel University’s Interdisciplinary and Translational Research Training Grant in NeuroAIDS, funded by the National Institutes of Health.

PhRMA Fellowship

Congratulations to Stacia Lewandowski for being awarded a 2018 PhRMA foundation pre-doctoral fellowship in Pharmacology/Toxicology. The fellowship aims to further pharmacological research by supporting investigators in advanced stages of training and thesis research.

Program Requirements

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.

Graduate Placement

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

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