The Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison provides a rigorous background in scientific disciplines that are critical to the preparation of the next generation of pharmaceutical scientists. With approximately 30 faculty trainers and approximately 65 graduate students, the program’s interdisciplinary training combines pharmaceutically relevant aspects of classical disciplines such as chemistry, biology, and engineering.
Students earn a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences, concentrating in one of three research cores: Drug Discovery, Drug Action, or Drug Delivery.
Research in Drug Discovery focuses on areas related to medicinal chemistry such as small molecule development, natural products isolation and characterization, organic synthesis, chemical biology, and rational drug design.
Drug Action focuses on areas related to pharmacology, toxicology, cellular differentiation, development, and disease. Interests include the impact of drugs and toxins on biological systems, mechanisms of normal biology, and mechanisms of disease. These are studied at the cellular, genetic, molecular, and biochemical levels using diverse model systems.
Drug Delivery emphasizes principles in physical chemistry and drug transport, aiming for advances in formulation, drug targeting, and multi-modal therapy. Delivery research includesbiomaterials, blood-brain barrier, cell engineering, immunotherapy, liquid biopsy, molecular recognition, molecular imaging, nanomedicine, pharmacokinetics, and solid-state chemistry.
Recent program graduates have found employment in a variety of industry settings, as postdoctoral fellows in prestigious academic research labs, and as faculty members. By partnering with the Graduate School’s Office of Professional Development and other units on campus, we have increased student and career services such that Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate students can explore career options, sharpen their professional and communication skills, and reach a larger network of potential employers. Our student chapter of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences (AAPS) also organizes career development, social, and networking activities. The Pharmaceutical Sciences program graduated 47 PhDs from 2016-20; 100% of recent alumni were working in their field within 6 months of graduation.
Our students have undergraduate degrees across a wide range of disciplines in the physical (such as chemistry) sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, pharmacy, and related fields. Applicants admitted to our program commonly have strong scientific backgrounds, a passion for research, and significant laboratory experience. Our program is dedicated to creating inclusive learning and working environments for all students, faculty, and staff. To sustain an innovative research environment, we are committed to admitting students from diverse backgrounds.
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