This is an application for renewal of a longstanding program for predoctoral training in Pharmacological Sciences. Eight training slots are requested to support students during their first two years. The program seeks to meet the need for well-trained scientists who can maintain rapid progress in applying advances in biology to medicine. Rigorous training in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, structural biology, and cell biology, as well as pharmacology, forms the foundation of the program. These many disciplines and others such as systems biology and physiology are reflected in the research activities and classes offered to the students. The training program is a specialized area of interest within the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) graduate program at Harvard Medical School. The training program draws its faculty members from various basic science and clinical departments. The central department for this program is Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, although faculty members from other departments play important roles in the training program. The various departments and the training grant faculty are highly interactive. The research activities of the training grant faculty span a broad spectrum of pharmacological sciences with multiple areas of research strength. Students in the program are closely advised and monitored, both before and after starting dissertation research. In their first year, they take core courses covering multiple disciplines in basic biomedical sciences, and a course that stresses reading original research papers and critical thinking. They are required to take a core pharmacology course. They go on to take advanced courses in pharmacology and in areas relevant to pharmacological sciences including human biology, which also stress critical and quantitative thinking. Full time dissertation research follows course work, laboratory rotations, and qualifying examinations. Students receive training in teaching. They participate in multiple other important activities of the training program including a seminar series, a yearly Symposium, and a journal club. This training plan should ensure the strengthening of a program that aims to train students to go on to match or even exceed the accomplishments of previous trainees who now fill leadership positions in pharmacological sciences.
Continued progress in medicine requires well-trained scientists who can apply advances in knowledge in biology to more fully understand how drugs work and to discover new and better drugs. To this end, this research training program seeks to train students seeking the Ph.D. degree in multiple modern biological disciplines and pharmacology.
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