Concentration in Molecular Neuropharmacology

The doctoral program in Pharmacology now includes a University-approved Concentration in Molecular Neuropharmacology.  The focus of this Concentration is to provide training in the molecular aspects of neuropharmacology, with an emphasis in molecular signaling and functional genomics.  The Department is now actively recruiting competitive, highly motivated graduate students for training in this unique and topical discipline.

Molecular Neuropharmacology

The sequencing of the human genome, and of animal species used to model human disease and therapeutics, has revealed some critical gaps in the training of most biomedical scientists.  While many newly minted scientists are comfortable with at least some aspects of gene manipulation, few are as adept at analyzing the resulting changes in the organism and its response to the environment (i.e. phenotype).  Pharmacologists, by the very nature of their discipline, determine the response of individual cells, tissues and/or organisms to changes in the internal and external environment (including therapeutic agents) and are thus in increasing demand in the 'post-genomic' era.  Neuropharmacologists are especially in demand, given both the market value of current therapeutic drugs for CNS disorders and the rapid pace of discovery about basic neural mechanisms that has yet to be tapped for therapeutic purposes.  At the same time, biomedical scientists are now acutely aware that there is, in fact, not a single human genome but myriad genomes comprised of countless DNA deletions, insertions, and single nucleotide polymorphisms which change the substrate upon which environmental factors act and also modify our response to therapeutic drugs.  Neuropharmacology, in the post-genome era we have entered, thus encompasses both the effects of drugs on neural cell function as well as the influence of genetic variations (from snps to gene knockouts) on drug responses at the cellular and organismic level.  In this context, application of molecular and genetic tools will provide critical insights into brain function and facilitate the development of novel therapeutics for brain dysfunction and tumors.


Students admitted into the Concentration in Molecular Neuropharmacology will receive a solid grounding in Biomedical Sciences, plus additional instruction in neuropharmacology, neuroscience and genomics. In addition to the curriculum established for all graduate students in Pharmacology (see sample curriculum below), student will meet the following additional Concentration requirements:

IBS7030 Functional Genomics - An elective course within the IBS Systems Biology section normally be taken in the Winter semester of the first year of study.

Note that the 4 credit PHC7010 Introduction to Graduate Pharmacology course includes a 2 credit IBS systems course in Pharmacology of the Nervous System.

Minicourses (PHC7650) - Within the requirement for 6 credits of Minicourses, 4 credits must be within the broad area of neuropharmacology or neuro-oncology, as defined by the Graduate Committee.

View our list of potential advisors in neuropharmacology.

If you have any questions about the concentration in Molecular Neuropharmacology or applying to this program, please feel free to contact the Student Recruitment Committee Co-Chairs, Dr. Joongkyu Park and Dr. Michael Petriello

Apply to the Concentration in Molecular Neuropharmacology within the Department of Pharmacology