Studies have indicated a decline in the training of integrative physiologists, pharmacologists, and toxicologists with experience in working with in vivo systems. The goal of the MSU-Short Course in Integrative and Organ Systems Pharmacology is to prepare advanced graduate students and others working in pharmacological sciences with the knowledge and skills necessary to design and implement in vivo studies and assess organ system function to determine drug actions. The program is built upon three cornerstones: hands-on laboratory experiences, laboratory demonstrations, and interactive lectures. The interactive lectures will focus on animal models of disease, current topics in pharmacology and toxicology, and practical knowledge for integrative sciences. Special emphasis will be placed on responsible conduct in research regarding the use of animals and experimental design and statistical analysis. The program is broad in scope ranging from cardiovascular to behavioral pharmacology and oncology. The course will draw upon the expertise of faculty at Michigan State University, other institutions in Michigan, and colleagues from around the country who will provide specialized knowledge for the students in the program. Students will be attracted to Michigan State University for a two week period in the summer for this intensive course. A detailed evaluation process will occur during and after the training program so that appropriate changes can be made from year to year. Upon completion, the successful students will have the knowledge and skills to employ an effective strategy in addressing problems in integrative pharmacology.
This program will help address a vital existing need in graduate training to prepare students with an understanding and the skills necessary to design and conduct whole animal and organ system pharmacological studies. With the advent of genetic, molecular and cellular approaches, students have lost the opportunity in their curriculum to have the hands-on training experience of working with research animals. With the need for the assessment of phenotypes associated with transgenic animals and the development and safety of new drugs, these skills are in ever greater demand.