The discovery, development and application of therapeutics is a rapidly growing field that includes disease biology, identification of novel molecular targets, molecular modeling, chemistry to synthesize and identify small molecule inhibitors, drug design and understanding metabolic pathways — and that’s just for starters. Unprecedented opportunities for rational approaches to therapeutic design continue to evolve as more and more is known about the human genome and cellular processes at a molecular level. Personalized medicine is no longer a model of the future — it is our research model.
The Therapeutics and Pharmacology Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences trains students with an understanding of normal biology to apply the scientific method of hypothesis testing to research projects that include testing in preclinical laboratories and mouse models and validating preclinical efforts in the clinic — the classic “bench-to-bedside” approach. Focused research efforts complement general background courses such as the principles of medicinal chemistry, mechanisms of therapeutics, clinical applications of target-based therapeutics and disease prevention. Students also receive exposure to high-throughput screening and structure-based drug design, as well as to agents that target DNA and cell replication, and induce DNA damage and repair responses.
Upon completion of this program, a basic understanding of biological research will enable students to pursue careers in areas such as academic research, technology discovery and intellectual property protection or positions within the Food and Drug Administration — to name just a few. Students graduating from this program will be prime candidates for research positions within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
Dr. William Plunkett, Program Director
Dr. Shuxing Zhang, Program Co-Director
Teasha Barker, MHA, Program Coordinator