Continued support for an interdisciplinary Pharmacology Graduate Training Program, currently in its 29th year, is proposed to prepare students for productive careers in disciplines where fundamental knowledge of quantitative and systems pharmacology is required. Alumni from this training program have gone on to academia, industry, regulatory science and consulting, to name a few of the variety of opportunities training in pharmacology provides. Our Predoctoral Training Program trains Pharmacology Graduate Group (PGG) students in classic principles of pharmacology including pharmacokinetics, dynamics, drug- receptor interactions as well as the newly emerging fields of proteomics and metabalomics. The PGG is supported by an interdepartmental group of 71 faculty from 20 departments in 4 Schools of the University of Pennsylvania. The Office of Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS) ensures curricular development, quality control and uniform admission standards across all Graduate Groups, including PGG. Direct management of the Pharmacology Training Program is done by a five-person Advisory Committee that, in corrdination with the Executive Committee of the PGG, defines and reviews policy and selects trainees. Pharmacology Training Grant Faculty membership is governed by three criteria: (1) expertise in a relevant field of study, (2) significant contribution to training, and (3) extramura funding to support trainees. Admission of students to Graduate Programs is a tiered decision, first by the PGG, then by a BGS-wide admissions committee. Subsequent apppointment to the pharmacology training grant is decided by its Advisory Committee. Support for each trainee will encompass their first 12-24 months in thesis lab. Trainees must re-apply after the first 12 months and while most students are re- appointed for a second 12-month period, this intermediate evaluation enhances progress and productivity. Prior to appointment, students must successfully complete required courses in Cell and Molecular Biology, Fundamentals of Pharmacology and Medical pharmacology and Human physiology. Coursework extends over 1.5-2 years plus three lab rotations. All students will take a yearly course on the responsible conduct of scientific research. Students will also receive training through seminars, journal clubs, annual retreats, scientific meetings, oral and poster presentations, and social events that encourage interactions. Successful completion of a comprehensive "Candidacy" examination marks the start of independent research toward the dissertation. Thesis research is conducted under the supervision of a faculty advisor and is monitored by a thesis committee and the PGG Academic Review Committee. The dissertation defense takes place when the thesis advisor and committee concur that the body of work is complete. Based on the number of potential trainees, we request support for 12 predoctoral trainees/year for the next 5 years.

Public Health Relevance

This Predoctoral Pharmacology Training Program includes education and research opportunities to provide a multifaceted doctoral program that incorporates cutting-edge research and a curriculum that provides both depth and breadth in many areas of Pharmacology. It is designed to prepare students as leaders in pharmacological sciences in academia, government, and industry.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Okita, Richard T
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University of Pennsylvania
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