The department is composed of primary faculty, research faculty, postdoctoral associates, graduate and undergraduate students, technical support staff and administrative personnel. In addition, there are a number of jointly appointed faculty representing other departments in the Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, the Veterans Medical Center and the Whitney Marine Laboratory. Joint faculty bring additional research expertise and teaching experience to the department for mutual benefit.
The faculty in the department have diverse but in many cases interrelated research interests which facilitates a stimulating environment for discovery and provides students and other trainees with ample opportunity to expand their knowledge base and develop interdisciplinary research skills. A number of the faculty are also involved in the process of drug development. This process includes biological target selection and validation, chemical lead development and optimization and disease model testing. Success in these preclinical basic studies are necessary before human clinical trials are initiated. Not only does this activity allow faculty and students to expand their basic research into application but exposes them to the legal and regulatory aspects of drug development and promotes interactions with pharmaceutical companies. Currently, several drugs co-developed by the faculty are in various stages of development. Departmental proceeds from application research are being used to established endowed professorships and to help maintain a modern research infrastructure.