Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Graduate Studies

Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the science of drugs, drug targets and effects of drugs on the body. As such, this discipline bridges chemistry and medicine, spanning molecular, cellular and organismal levels of biology.

The Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology graduate program (MCP) is a dynamic interdisciplinary program that brings together about 40 scientists, many of whom work in areas related to drug discovery. The mission of our program is to prepare graduate students for challenges posed by ever-changing technologies and questions posed by academia, pharmaceutical and other industries.

The scientific areas of MCP training are diverse and range from cancer to cardiac and skeletal muscle, regulation of metabolism and neuroscience. A unifying theme is our focus on protein drug targets such as enzymes and hormone receptors that regulate cellular functions. Many labs use “traditional” approaches – gene knockouts, cellular assays, imaging, and biochemical assays. In recent years, to harness the growing power of computation, we started introducing informatics both into research and academic curriculum. Some labs use chemo- and bioinformatics to find candidate therapeutic drugs, predict drug-receptor interactions and utilize gene expression and other databases. Our recently modernized academic curriculum has incorporated hands-on training in bioinformatics and coding into classical pharmacology (mechanisms of drug action, cell signaling pathways, cardio- and neuropharmacology). We believe this provides students with comprehensive and sophisticated training to prepare for pharmaceutical discovery in the 21st century.

Key Areas of Research

  • Epigenetic Mechanisms in Pathologies
  • Computational Pharmacology & Drug Discovery
  • Models of Human Pathology in Mice, Drosophila & Yeast
  • Molecular Targets, Mechanisms & Tools in Cancer
  • Post-Translational Modifications & Protein Folding
  • Receptors and Signal Transduction

_MCP graduate program is where I learned all the basic concepts of drug discovery and more importantly, critical scientific thinking. Later in my career, I
have been fortunate to play essential roles in developing some of the world’s most transformational medicines for the treatments of B-cell malignancies and multiple myeloma. My education continues to enable me to move into new frontiers of medicine for the betterment of human lives._

Sen Zhuang MD, PhD
VP, Clinical Oncology Research
Janssen Research & Development
Johnson & Johnson