The Department of Medicinal Chemistry offers programs of graduate study leading to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy. The primary mission of the program is to train versatile scientists for careers in the pharmaceutical and medical sciences. To this end, graduates of the program acquire a broad knowledge base in medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and biochemistry, which is important in the rapidly evolving, multidisciplinary biomedical arena. The department further offers diverse opportunities for research at the interface between biology and chemistry, with emphasis on issues of biomedical importance.
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 ProgramGraduate Program Coordinator
H164 Health Sciences, Box 357610
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.
Master of Science
At least 27 credits of coursework, inclusive of thesis and non-thesis research, including a research project, preparation of an acceptable thesis, and passing a final examination.
Doctor of Philosophy
90 credits minimum, to include:
Achieve a level of proficiency in organic, medicinal and physical chemistry, pharmacology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. Most coursework is completed in the first two to two-and-a-half 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.
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.