The Department of Pharmacology & Physiology offers a comprehensive and rigorous graduate program leading to the Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology. Pharmacology is the study of the effects of drugs and chemicals on living organisms. Modern pharmacology is inherently interdisciplinary and builds on the strengths of biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, neuroscience, and molecular biology to explore and understand these effects.
But just as importantly, drugs and chemicals are powerful tools that allow researchers to probe the molecular machinery of living systems. For this reason, much of the research in pharmacology is directed toward understanding how cellular and organ systems function and how they are regulated.
In their research, faculty at Georgetown use molecular, biochemical, and physiological approaches to pharmacology, which is conducted in cultured cells, isolated organs, intact animals, and humans. Although the research areas covered by the participating faculty are broad, the most concentrated area of research strength is in neuropharmacology and signal transduction. Because of our strong focus on neuropharmacology, students interested in clinical pharmacology or cancer pharmacology may wish to apply elsewhere. In particular, the Tumor Biology Program at Georgetown is very strong.
Although there is a strong didactic component to the Ph.D. program, it is inherently a research degree. Thus, the first year of study is divided between research in various laboratories and course work. the following years are devoted, almost exclusively, to a novel research project culminating in publications in international journals and an original Ph.D. dissertation. On average, our students complete the program in approximately 5 years.
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