The Doctor of Philosophy degree is considered the most accomplished academic achievement an individual can attain in preparation for a career of creative scholarship. It is the highest degree conferred by our universities and, by nature and tradition, it is a research degree. It is not conferred merely as a certificate to a prescribed course of study. Every department offering a Ph.D. degree has the responsibility to assure that the degree will be granted only to candidates who have demonstrated present capacity and future promise to be an independent and creative thinker.
The University, its Graduate School, and Departments have defined responsibilities toward their graduate programs and graduate students. The major responsibility is to provide the most favorable environment possible in which graduate students can develop their maximal potential for creative scholarship and independent research. This environment comprises the graduate faculty, instructional offerings, research facilities, library resources and a stimulating group of capable graduate students. The selection and screening process of graduate students is, therefore, a very serious responsibility. Ph.D. students are those who have demonstrated the necessary intellectual ability, motivation, and drive to take optimal advantage of the enriched environment in the development of their potential as creative scholars and independent research investigators. It is the mission of our department to recruit and train those outstanding students who are highly motivated to achieve excellence in research and seeking a career in the pharmaceutical sciences.
The doctoral degree program in Pharmaceutics trains research scholars in the fundamental aspects of drug disposition and drug action. Drug disposition pertains to the facets of drug absorption, distribution, and elimination. Areas of emphasis include: drug delivery – processes for enhancing the absorption of a drug and targeting it to the site of action in order to improve therapeutic effect, drug metabolism – enzyme catalyzed molecular transformations that often impart different disposition and pharmacological properties compared to the parent molecule, and drug excretion – the transport of drug molecules into excretory fluids such as the renal filtrate and bile. Pharmacokinetics is the study of the time course of these processes and its relationship to pharmacological effects. Graduates will possess expertise in basic biochemical, cellular and molecular techniques, quantitative analytical methods, and in the elaboration of mathematical models to describe the kinetics of drug disposition and action. Scientists graduating from this program will be capable of investigating the causes of inadequate exposure to a drug at the target site. They will be able to elucidate the relationship between the kinetics of drug and metabolites in various body compartments or tissues and the manifestation of pharmacologic, therapeutic and toxic effects. They will be able to probe the effects of alteration of physiological and biochemical processes, which may occur due to disease states or genetic variations, on drug disposition and pharmacological response. Many of these studies require expertise with in vitro methodologies, which students will also acquire. Often, students will gain experience in the conduct of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies in animals and man.
Typically, our graduates will interact with clinicians, medicinal chemists, biochemists, pharmacologists, analytical chemists, and physiologists. This will be possible because their training is highly interdisciplinary at the didactic and research levels.