Ph.D. Program

Biomedical Sciences Program: Concentration in Pharmacology & Therapeutics


The Advanced Concentration in Pharmacology & Therapeutics is one of seven concentrations leading to the PhD degree in the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences (BMS) at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Imagine discovering a novel mechanism of how a cell functions or how it may go wrong in disease and then designing and developing a strategy or agent to target that mechanism for new cures or treatments. These options are possible because of the research training in the Advanced Concentration in Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Our discipline is inherently translational and focuses on transforming discoveries into therapies. Our concentration fosters independent but interactive research programs, leading to the discovery of new knowledge that impacts our basic understanding, prevention, and treatment of disease.

Program of Study

The curriculum in Pharmacology & Therapeutics is designed to prepare students for gainful employment in several major areas, including academic science, pharmaceutical/biotech industry, and regulatory affairs.

Gaining Knowledge

The Learning Experience

The student learning experience consists of laboratory rotations, mentored research, a core pharmacology course curriculum, class electives, journal clubs, seminars, and data presentations.


Course work in the department emphasizes translational research with the goal to establish the pharmacological and therapeutic basis to manage disease, including neurodegenerative, psychiatric, neuromuscular, neuroendocrine, chemosensory, and oncological conditions in humans. Students learn the principals of biomedicine, such as how drugs and biological agents are discovered, optimized, function, and biodistribute in patients. In addition, courses explore the breadth of translational research in the identification of opportunities and approaches to health problems as they relate to small molecules, biologics, diagnostics, and devices.

Pharmacology Immersion Program

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the Pharmacology Immersion Program (PIP) before they begin the concentration program. This is a one-week immersive lecture, discussion, and laboratory methods program for incoming graduate students interested in Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

What you will learn:

  • Render a general knowledge base of fundamental concepts in pharmacology.
  • Provide hands-on experience with methods commonly used within the multiple disciplines and experimental approaches within pharmacology.
  • Facilitate engagement of students with primary faculty and other trainees in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Message from our Concentration Co-Directors

“Pharmacology is one of the most multidisciplinary and rapidly growing fields of biomedical science. Our graduate program in Pharmacology and Therapeutics optimally prepares trainees for careers in both academic and industry settings. Trainees in the Pharmacology and Therapeutics concentration at the University of Florida Biomedical Sciences (BMS) program are exposed to a highly heterogeneous scientific environment that fosters interdisciplinary learning of disease mechanisms and therapeutic development. The close-knit community and passionate approach of our faculty mentors provides trainees a fertile ground for cross-discipline interactions and collaborations. Our students are trained by top research scientists doing cutting-edge research in understanding disease mechanisms, drug discovery, and translational therapeutics that aim to better comprehend and advance cures for neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, diabetes, muscle disorders, and other diseases. Students in Pharmacology & Therapeutics receive training that cultivates the development of independent scientific ideas and critical thinking skills. Rigorous coursework educates students in fundamental principles of pharmacological sciences and promotes wholistic expertise in translational pharmacology. As a student in our Pharmacology & Therapeutics concentration, you will be exposed to career development opportunities, numerous specialized seminar series, and explicit training in grant writing. Extensive opportunities are available to present your research within our department as well as the broader UF, national, and international scientific communities. In addition, access to cutting edge resources, state-of-the-art facilities, and multiple NIH-funded Training (T32) awards within the UF Health Science Center allows our students to receive focused training and opportunities to develop interdisciplinary collaborations. Excellence in scientific training is a hallmark of the Pharmacology & Therapeutics program that propels our students into top professional opportunities post-graduation.”

-Gemma Casadesus, PhD & Jeffrey Harrison, PhD

PhD Program Contacts