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Medicinal Chemistry

Department Overview

The Department of Medicinal Chemistry offers programs of graduate study leading to the degree of doctor of philosophy. The degree includes didactic and research-based learning with faculty who are leaders in several areas of modern biomedical research.

Graduates of the program acquire the skills necessary to develop quantitative and qualitative methodologies necessary for the study of biochemical processes that occur at the cellular and subcellular levels. These include the elucidation of biochemical transformations and interactions using techniques such as protein engineering, and a broad array of supportive spectroscopic techniques including mass spectrometry and NMR.

One major area of research interest is the role of biotransformation processes in the toxification and detoxification of drugs and environmental contaminants. A second area of interest is the determination of protein and small ligand structure and function using NMR, mass spectroscopy, and other biophysical techniques. Issues of biomedical importance include elucidation of mechanisms of drug-induced cell toxicity, drug-drug and drug-herbal interactions, identification of enzyme attributes that dictate substrate specificity and catalytic mechanism, pharmacogenetics, proteomics, and mechanisms of viral assembly.

Most students proceed directly to the doctoral degree program. Successful completion of a series of cumulative examinations and at least two quarters of teaching experience are among the requirements for completion of the doctoral program.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
H164 Health Sciences, Box 357610
(206) 543-2224

Admission Requirements

Students with undergraduate degrees in pharmacy or in the biological or physical sciences are accepted for graduate study in medicinal chemistry. Undergraduates who plan to pursue graduate study are encouraged to expedite their programs by selection of pertinent electives. Although the choice of electives varies with the student's ultimate goals, graduate study in medicinal chemistry requires an adequate background in biological and physical sciences.

Degree Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy

90 credits minimum, to include:

Proficiency in organic, medicinal and physical chemistry, pharmacology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. Most coursework is completed in the first two years. The program is flexible and easily adaptable to meet individual interests and needs.

In the first year, students rotate through the laboratories of at least two faculty members. At the end of the first year, the student chooses a faculty sponsor and a dissertation research project.

  1. First year: CHEM 530, CHEM 531, CHEM 532; MEDCH 501, MEDCH 502, MEDCH 503; MEDCH 520 (1 credit each quarter); MEDCH 582 (1 credit each quarter); MEDCH 600
  2. Second year: BIOC 530; MEDCH 527 MEDCH 541; PHCOL 510, PHCOL 511; MEDCH 520 (1 credit each quarter); MEDCH 582 (1 credit each quarter); MEDCH 600
  3. Third year: MEDCH 520 (1 credit each quarter); MEDCH 582 (1 credit each quarter); MEDCH 600 (7 credits each quarter)
  4. Fourth year: MEDCH 800

Financial Aid

Financial support in the form of research assistantships and fellowships may be available to students in good standing throughout their graduate careers. Availability of financial support varies from year to year, and prospective applicants should contact the Graduate Program Coordinator for additional information.