The predoctoral Program in Biomolecular Pharmacology at Boston University School of Medicine was initiated in 1990 and received this NIGMS Institutional Training Grant in 1997. In the ensuing ten years of NIGMS support, this university-wide program has flourished, providing a unique learning environment for doctoral students that combines an innovative curriculum, interdisciplinary laboratory rotations, and expanded opportunities for thesis research by bridging multiple departments across Boston University's two campuses. Students enter the program from one of three academic units: Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (PET), Biomedical Engineering (BME), and Molecular Medicine (MM). Program trainees in BME and MM experience an integrated curriculum designed to provide enriched training in pharmacology that is coordinated with specialized training in their discipline while trainees in PET gain access to diverse research and educational experiences that build upon those provided by core pharmacology faculty. The curriculum stresses fundamental pharmacologic principles as well as key issues governing interactions of bioactive molecules, challenges of drug delivery for novel therapeutics, animal models and their relevance to the clinic, and the challenges for modern drug discovery. Participating faculty, originally fifteen and now forty-six, contribute expertise in focus areas including neuropharmacology, vascular and cancer pharmacology, genomics, proteomics, animal models (transgenic and behavioral), structural biology, and DMA, RNA, and protein chemistry. Sites for thesis research are also located in departments of Chemistry, Biology, Psychology, Neurology and Psychiatry. A summer internship with collaborating scientists at Wyeth Research has been fully implemented and career guidance and mentorship/leadership opportunities engage trainees with quality experiences that are relevant to their future careers in pharmacology both in academia and industry. Since inception, forty-two students have been supported by this NIGMS program that was one of the first to provide an interface for quantitatively trained BME students to link their core studies with training in pharmacological sciences. The program has continued this mission and expanded to position students with intellectual tools needed to advance drug discovery, medicine, and the future of global health by training the next generation of leaders equipped to translate basic research advances into medications.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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National Institute of General Medical Sciences Initial Review Group (BRT)
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Okita, Richard T
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Boston University
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United States
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