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NIGMS T32 Training Program

Saint Louis University School of Medicine's Department of Pharmacology and Physiology has received more than 25 years of consecutive funding from the federal government to prepare pre-doctoral students for research and teaching careers in pharmacological sciences.

Pharmacological sciences involve a study of the action of chemical substances on living systems and material derived from living systems. It has evolved through the years into a dynamic and broad discipline of study that uses the fundamental principles of biology, chemistry and physics.

Not only is it important to understand the actions and mechanisms of action of drugs, but how they have become important tools to probe normal physiological processes, as well as those at the biochemical and molecular level. The sophistication of modern research has increased steadily over the past years so that training must be obtained in a variety of areas previously thought to be beyond the bounds of pharmacology. SLU’s training program in pharmacological sciences is based on the assumption that it is a broadly based subject requiring a multidisciplinary and integrative approach.

Program Experience

The training program provides a coherent course of basic and advanced study and research under the direction of a core faculty assembled from various departments, in addition to those from the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology. Faculty participating in this training program had their formal training in pharmacology and physiology, as well as numerous other fields including biochemistry, cell biology, endocrinology, molecular biology, medicine and neuroscience.

Pre-doctoral students satisfy the program’s objectives by either obtaining a Ph.D. in pharmacology and physiology with sub-specialization in a related area or obtaining a Ph.D. in another discipline with sub-specialization in pharmacological and physiological science.

Research training is offered in a broad area with particular emphasis on cellular communication and control exerted through the endocrine, cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as developmental biology.

The broad objectives of the research programs are:

  • To elucidate interrelationships between these systems
  • To determine the mechanisms by which a neurotransmitter, neuromodulator autacoid or hormone is produced, stored, inactivated or secreted
  • To investigate the mechanisms and action of receptors and intracellular signal transduction systems at the cellular and molecular level and how they ultimately lead to biological responses
  • To understand how various drugs perturb these communication systems at the biochemical and molecular level
  • To gain a better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in disrupting cellular communications.

It must be stressed that this program in pharmacological sciences is in no way restrictive or exclusive. Strict attention is given to the integration of advances made with simplified systems (genes, enzyme or receptor) into more complex systems (cell or organ) and finally into in vivo integrated studies. This approach affords the development of an appreciation of drug action from an effect on a gene, receptor or enzyme to the use of a drug therapeutically in disease states.

NIGMS Participating Faculty

  • Michael Ariel, Ph.D.
  • Thomas P. Burris, Ph.D.
  • Andrew A. Butler, Ph.D
  • John C. Chrivia, Ph.D.
  • Carmine Coscia, Ph.D.
  • Terrance M. Egan, Ph.D.
  • David A. Ford, Ph.D.
  • Michael Anne Gratton, Ph.D.
  • Mark M. Knuepfer, Ph.D.
  • Andrew J. Lechner, Ph.D.
  • Heather Macarthur, Ph.D.
  • Robert Scott Martin, Ph.D.
  • Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D.
  • Willis K. (Rick) Samson, Ph.D.
  • Mark M. Voigt, Ph.D.
  • Thomas C. Westfall, Ph.D.
  • D. Scott Zahm, Ph.D.