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Course content

Our innovative program provides a comprehensive introduction to the broad range of theoretical concepts that comprise pharmacology and toxicology, providing both historical context and state of the art technical approaches to solving pharmacological and toxicological problems. This goal of providing students with a career-oriented yet theoretically based education will be accomplished within the core curriculum through the combination of text and literature based lectures, complemented by laboratory instruction and journal club type seminars.

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Course detail

What is pharmacology?

Pharmacology is the study of the therapeutic value and/or potential toxicity of chemical agents on biological systems. It targets every aspect of the mechanisms for the chemical actions of both traditional and novel therapeutic agents. The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics provides more information in their Explore Pharmacology brochure (PDF).

What is toxicology?

Toxicology is the study of the adverse or toxic effects of drugs and other chemical agents. It is concerned both with drugs used in the treatment of disease and chemicals that may present household, environmental, or industrial hazards. The Society of Toxicology (SOT) provides more information about this exciting field.

Format and assessment

You will participate with faculty in intramural seminars and a weekly Journal Club and may be selected to attend and present your research findings at local and national scientific meetings and conferences.


A Proteome Analysis Laboratory (PAL) contains equipment used for molecular biology, imaging and proteomics research. In these labs, equipment is made available for WSU faculty and collaborators to work on proteomic projects.

Mass spectrometers (MS) are at the core of the PAL. The first mass spectrometer, a Ciphergen SELDI-TOF MS, was acquired with Department of Defense grant support. It provides fast, reliable and convenient protein and proteomic profiling by using chemically treated ProteinChips® to which proteins adhere or are removed based on their specific protein chemistries. The resulting spectra can generate a proteomic profile or fingerprint of a tissue extract or body fluid (plasma or urine).

The facility was expanded in 2006 when PAL Director David R. Cool, Ph.D., received support from the Kettering Fund to purchase a High Capacity Ion Trap mass spectrometer (Bruker HCTUltra IonTrap MS). This high-end equipment allows separation of peptides and proteins on a Dionex nanoHPLC followed by nano electrospray injection into the IonTrap. Peptides are then fragmented with helium for Collision Induced Dissociation and the data processed by computer. The resulting sequences lead to specific protein identification and are matched with the proteins and peptides expected in the tissue. Post-translational modification of peptides is accomplished by Electron Transfer Dissociation.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the program have either remained within academics by securing postdoctoral fellowships in prestigious laboratories, two of whom now have faculty positions, or obtained jobs in such industrial concerns and Mallincrocdt, Procter & Gamble Co. and Eli Lilly & Co.

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Recipient: Wright State University

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