The Pharmaceutical Sciences is a 5-year research-oriented program designed to meet each student’s career interests and goals. Our nationally renowned faculty members have strengths in all areas of pharmaceutical science, and many have been recognized for teaching excellence, outstanding research and professional activities.

Research focus areas include the exploration and design of anti-infective agents, the design and development of innovative drug dosage forms, and the mechanisms and consequences of drug interactions with living organisms.

Program Outcomes

Upon graduation, pharmaceutical sciences graduate students will be competent to:

  • Expand the knowledge of their discipline(s), having developed:
    • Research and scholarship skills.
    • An extensive understanding of the knowledge base of the discipline.
    • A broad, general understanding of pharmaceutical and health biosciences.
  • Communicate research findings to improve the knowledge base in pharmaceutical sciences, having
    • Given oral presentations in scientific and public forums.
    • Written scientific manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals.
  • Enter the profession of pharmaceutical science, having developed:
    • A network of professional peers and role models.
    • An understanding of the requirements of academic, industrial, or other workplaces.
    • A sense of the culture of pharmaceutical science.
    • A deep appreciation for the ethical conduct of research.
  • Teach and mentor future pharmaceutical scientists, having experienced:
    • A compelling learning environment.
    • Opportunities to serve as a teacher and mentor.

Research Areas

The Drug Discovery research team is interested in bioorganic and natural product chemistry (Taifo Mahmud, Fred StevensRichard Van Breemen; Kerry McPhail), biosynthesis, synthetic biology, and enzymology of microbial secondary metabolites (Taifo MahmudBJ Philmus) and vaccine development (Aleksandra Sikora). The team works at the interface of molecular genetics, enzymology, and chemistry (Taifo MahmudKerry McPhail) towards the goal of creating and developing novel, pharmaceutically active compounds and vaccines for treatment of cancer (Jane IshmaelArup Indra, Taifo Mahmud), infectious diseases (Taifo Mahmud, Aleksandra Sikora) and metabolic and chronic inflammatory syndrome (Fred Stevens).

The Systems Biomedicine research team is studying how combinatorial networks regulate development and pathological contexts (Kevin BrownTheresa FiltzChrissa Kioussi); immunity, inflammation and skin cancer (Arup Indra); aging, skin repair and regeneration (Gitali Indra); primary and secondary brain tumors (Jane Ishmael); metabolic syndrome Chrissa KioussiAndrey Morgun), inflammatory bowel disease and cancer (Andrey Morgun); and neurological disorders and microbiome (Kevin BrownMaude David, Andrey Morgun). These studies require a multidisciplinary approach involving the fields of biochemistry, pharmacology, cell biology, genetics, epigenetics, molecular systems and networks, and computational biomedicine.

The Targeted Drug Delivery research team is developing novel intelligent nanoparticle-based systems (Adam AlaniOleh Taratula); phototherapy and heat (Olena Taratula), modified messenger RNA for treatment of neuro-degenerative disorders and cancer immunotherapy (Gaurav Sahay); and combination of radiation and chemotherapy (Conroy Sun). The nanoparticle-based delivery systems are designed to silence key, cancer-driving genes in the tumors as well as directly induce tumor cell death within the tumor mass.