Molecular Pharmacology


This program trains doctoral candidates in molecular and biochemical pharmacology. We emphasize pharmacology and drug discovery in 5 major areas: Cancer Signaling Pathways and Targets; Structural Biology, Bioinformatics and Drug Design; Receptor Pharmacology and Therapeutics; Development of Therapeutics; Pharmacology of Neurodegenerative Disorders. Research experience may be acquired in the following areas: growth-factor mediated signal transduction in mammalian and model organism systems; tyrosine kinase receptors; RNAi technology; genomic stability; transcriptional regulation; steroid/nuclear hormone receptors; toxicology; proteomics; protein structure; computational biology and in silico modeling for drug discovery.

Our 46 program faculty are internationally recognized, well-funded scientists and the Chronicle of Higher Education has ranked our program among the top ten Molecular Pharmacology Graduate Programs in their Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index. Our faculty has an extensive track record in training Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. students and our program is the recipient of a prestigious NIH Predoctoral T32 training grant. Relevant courses are offered in: Pharmacology and Drug Development; Principles of Protein Modification in Health and Disease; Molecular Biophysics; Cellular Neuroscience; Developmental Biology; Cellular and Molecular Biology; Bioinformatics and Biostatistics for Biologists; and Genomics. We have a programmatic Annual Retreat for students and mentors to share their research discoveries with the entire community. Students are carefully tracked by the Director and Graduate Advisor.


Erica Bach
Erika Bach, PhD
Program Director
Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
Greg David, PhD
Graduate Advisor
Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

Sample Courses

  • Topics in Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology and Drug Development
  • Protein Modification in Health and Disease
  • Grant Writing
  • Scientific Integrity and the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Introduction to Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Recommended Elective Courses

  • Stem Cell Biology
  • Molecular Mechanisms in Biology
  • Molecular Oncology
  • Introduction to Cellular Neuroscience
  • Developmental Systems I

Qualifying Exam 

When: By the 5th semester (end of Year 3), but can be taken earlier. 
Urged to take at end of year 2 

  • Written: one NIH-style proposal relating to thesis work
  • Oral: defense of written thesis in front of committee (n=4, with at least one other than advisor from Mol Pharm program)