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Molecular Pharmacology Training Program

Students who choose to do their thesis research in laboratories of faculty in the Molecular Pharmacology Training Area of the UC San Diego  Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program are eligible to be part of the Pharmacological Sciences Training Program (PSTP).  The program provides trainees with contemporary education in Pharmacology and state-of-the-art research training in Pharmacological Sciences. Didactic and experimental efforts prepare students for a wide range of career opportunities in academia and industry, where their broad scope of training in pharmacology, integrated with sister disciplines of physiology and molecular sciences, will be valued. Faculty interests and training areas emphasize understanding signaling pathways that are relevant to disease, elucidating new targets for drug action and using novel approaches to identify chemicals that modulate drug targets.  The Training Faculty work in interdigitating areas, the largest of which is Signal Transduction. This category encompasses work on receptors and G-proteins, kinases and phosphatases, intracellular signaling pathways, cancer and growth regulation. Other major areas include: Cardiovascular science, Neuroscience, Drug metabolism and Chemical and structural biology/drug discovery.

The PSTP is supported by one of the largest and longest standing NIH training grants. There are 15 pre-doctoral trainee slots, making our training grant the largest of its kind nationwide. Trainees apply to the program and are selected on the basis of their planned research, mentor and academic accomplishments. The training grant provides stipend and fees support for two years, and defrays part of the travel and research expenses to each trainee. Trainees are encouraged to select and host seminar speakers, given opportunities to present their work and interact with world renowned faculty at the weekly Research Discussion meeting and the Spring Retreat, and include this training support on their curriculum vita.

Most of these are members of BMS Graduate program and you can find out more information about them at

Abagyan, Ruben
Adams, Joseph
Brown, Joan Heller
Chang, Geoff
Cheresh, David
Chun, Jerold
Daneman, Richard
Dennis, Edward
Dixon, Jack
Dorrestein, Pieter
Evans, Ronald
Evans, Sylvia
Ferguson, Fleur
Furnari, Frank
Gerwick, William
Gilson, Michael
Gonzalez, David 
Guan, Kun-Liang
Gustafsson, Åsa
Gutkind, Silvio 
Handel, Tracy
Hangauer, Matthew
Hnasko, Tom
Hook, Vivian
Howell, Stephen
Huang, Wendy
Hunter, Tony
Insel, Paul
Jain, Mohit 
Joiner, William
Karin, Michael
McCammon, J. A.
Newton, Alexandra
Nigam, Sanjay
Nizet, Victor
Patel, Hemal
Rao, Anjana
Reya, Tannishtha
Saltiel, Alan
Schoeneberg, Johannes
Sen, George
Sunahara, Roger 
Taylor, Palmer
Taylor, Susan
Trejo, JoAnn
Tukey, Robert
Villarreal, Francisco
Wang, Dong
Webster, Nicholas
Yang, Jing
Zhang, Jin


Anang, Nana-Ama
Byers, Samantha
Chen, Mingyan
Cheng, Norton
Diao, Rachel
Ehinger, Erik
Harvey, Sean
Hodapp, Stefanie
Horta, Calista

Jones, Brandon
Kobori, Evan
Phan, Von
Quinnell, Daniel 
Ransom, Linnea 
Sandoval, Perla
Sahan, Ayse Zisan
Shinn, Cheyanne
Yung, Bryan

BMS is the graduate program that serves as the site of entry for nearly all Pharmacological Sciences Trainees and those in the Pharmacological Sciences Training Program supported by the Training Grant. Graduate students from Chemistry, Biology and SSPPS are also considered.   We encourage students with exceptional achievement, diverse backgrounds and with disabilities to apply. 

Trainees take the Molecules to Organisms core course and Seminar course together with other BMS students in the Fall of year one. Subsequent courses given by the Pharmacology Training Area are required for all students in the Training Program. Requirements are: Two quarters of the Drugs and Disease course, Seminars in Pharmacology, and three elective courses: one in a quantitative area, one an organ systems lab course and one dealing with pharmacokinetics or drug disposition. All trainees participate in weekly Department of Pharmacology Research Discussions and host luncheons with seminar speakers. Two yearly Retreats provide Trainees with opportunities to interact with faculty and present their research progress.

Many of our former trainees have pursued academic as well as industry research careers and have been quite successful in doing so. Visit the UCSD Pharmacology Alumni LinkedIn Group to learn more.  


Student/Postdoc Research Discussions Fridays 9:00 -10:00 AM
2021-2022 Pharmacology Research Discussions


BMS/Pharmacology Track Orientation

Pharmacological Sciences Graduate Training Program and Department Retreat
TBD - May 2020



Department of Pharmacology
UC San Diego - School of Medicine
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0636        
Tel: (858) 822-5858