Department of Pharmacology - Columbia University
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This listing is intended to provide basic course and curriculum information for those entering or applying to the Ph.D. Program in Pharmacology.  It includes detailed descriptions of the courses offered by the Department of Pharmacology, as well as many required courses offered by other departments, and is intended to be used as a resource for applicants and matriculated students.

First Year Curriculum
Fall Spring Summer
Lab Rotation #1 Lab Rotation #2 Lab Rotation #3
Biochem & Mol Biol Euk I Biochem & Mol Biol Euk II
Mechanisms in Human Disease Molecular Pharmacology
Journal Club Journal Club
M.A. degree awarded after successful completion of first year fall and spring curriculum.
Second Year Curriculum
Fall Spring Summer
Principles Systems Pharm Responsible Conduct of Res Qualifying Exam
  Statistics for Basic Sciences
Journal Club Journal Club
Elective Elective
Mini-Oral/Sci Comm
Thesis Research Thesis Research
M.A. and M.Phil degrees awarded after successful completion of second year curriculum and approval of a thesis proposal.


Molecular Pharmacology: from Membrane to Nucleus (G9600)

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introduction to molecular approaches to target identification and drug development and delivery for cellular and subcellular processes that contribute to human disease. Material covered includes the principles of drug-receptor interactions; ion channels as molecular targets of neurohormones and drugs; structure and function of G-protein coupled receptors; cytoplasmic signaling molecules including receptor and non-receptor tyrosine kinases and serine-threonine kinases; neuro-psychopharmacology; the pharmacology of inflammation; and novel approaches to gene-targeted pharmacology. Integration of molecular processes and human disease including cancer, neuro degenerative disease; cardiovascular disease, and psychiatric disorders is stressed.. This course is a requirement for students in the Pharmacology graduate program, but is open to all interested students. Prerequisite: familiarity with basic biochemistry and molecular biology. Course Director: Dr. S. Steinberg

Backgrounds in Pharmacology (Mini-Oral)(G8003-8004)

This course provides each student with an opportunity to identifyand critically analyze relevant papers in a circumscribed topic in pharmacology, and to develop the ability to give a well organized oral report of that analysis. The student works with two faculty members, assigned by the Program Director, to select a suitable topic. The topic generally involves a question which has not yet been fully resolved by the scientific community. The student researches the topic and selects 2-5 representative papers to form the focus of the presentation. He/she provides copies to the two faculty members and the Program Director. Drawing on both the selected papers and additional material, the student summarizes and evaluates research in the chosen area and discusses any unresolved issues. Usually one hour is allotted for the presentation and questions by the faculty. The presentation is evaluated in terms of organization, manner of presentation, understanding and adequacy of critical evaluation, and ability to answer questions related to the selected topic. Students are required to take two sessions of this course, presenting a different topic each time. 

Advances in Pharmacology (Journal Club) (G8007-8008)

This course meets every other week for two hours. Each session is led by a different faculty member, who assigns 2 scientific articles which are then presented and critiqued by a student. The purpose is to aid students in reading, criticizing and verbally presenting material from the literature to their peers. It is designed such that both students and faculty have a chance to interact in the discussion of the material, although the planning of the presentation is the province of the students. All students in pharmacology participate in this course during their first two years of training. Usually a student gives one presentation each semester. Grading is based on the student presentation, regular participation and attendance. A grade of B or better is required during the final semester. Detailed guidelines on the preparation of the presentation are distributed at the beginning of the course. Course Director: Dr. M. Rosen. 

Techniques in Pharmacology (Laboratory Rotation) (G8009-8010)

Students in Pharmacological Sciences are required to take three laboratory rotations prior to beginning dissertation research. The purpose is to expose the student to a wide variety of techniques and problems in modern biomedical science, both to broaden his/her training and to assist in the eventual selection of a thesis topic. Rotations are selected by students after consultation with the program director. Selection of laboratories for all but the first rotation may be made from all participating departments in The Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

Scientific Communication (G8015)

A report on the topic considered in the Mini-Oral, prepared as a short review, is submitted for evaluation by selected members of the faculty. The report is evaluated in terms of clarity and style as well as content and organization. The faculty members work with the student to improve writing skills. 

Principles of Systems Pharmacology (G8001)

This course focuses on fundamental principles in systems pharmacology and their application.  Topics include: the effect of body biochemical processes on the disposition of drugs, including quantitative expression of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME); specific aspects of systems pharmacology, including autonomic and cardiovascular pharmacology, neuropharmacology and toxicology.  These lectures deal with both basic principles and current topics within these disciplines.  Course Director: Dr. D. Goldberg

Mechanisms in Human Disease (G6003)

This course provides an in-depth analysis of several organ systems and a disease associated with each organ system.  The course has four modules; each module describes the basic physiology, nutritional status, health and anatomy of the organ system, the genetics, cell and biochemical mechanisms and pathologies associated with the disease, as well as basic pharmacology and therapeutics to treat the disease.  Course Directors:  Drs. R. Liem and S. Spitalnik.

Responsible Conduct of Research (G4010-G4011)

This course considers ethical issues related to scientific research.  Course Directors:  Drs. R. Kessin and G. Tibbs.

Statistics for Basic Sciences (G8012)

This course, required for almost all graduate students at the Medical Center, surveys statistical methods useful for biological researchers.  Course Director:  Dr. R. Robinson.