Undergraduate Training Program

The innovative undergraduate program permits undergraduates majoring in Biology or Chemistry to complete an area of concentration in Pharmacology.  The concentration offers 3 courses for undergraduates; pharmacology, neuropharmacology, and pharmacogenetics, as well as independent research in pharmacology. Students should declare their concentration by the end of their sophomore year. Undergraduates who wish to concentrate in Pharmacology as part of a Biology or Chemistry Major are directed to the concentration requirements at the respective departments.

Students on Quad

Contact

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Jessica Sawyer, PhD
Research Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Email: jessica.sawyer@duke.edu

Undergraduate Courses

Mechanisms of drug action, concepts of drug toxicity, resistance, tolerance, and drug interactions. Examples of how drugs affect the autonomic and central nervous systems, the cardiovascular and endocrine systems, and how drugs treat infection and cancer. This course is designed for both science and nonscience majors, but preference will be given to junior biology majors concentrating in Pharmacology. Prerequisite: introductory biology (Biology 201L or  203L) and chemistry (Chemistry 101L or 110L; 210DL recommended). Instructor: Sawyer.

Mechanisms by which psychoactive drugs act. Changes that occur with chronic use of drugs; drug abuse and dependence. Social and legal implications of psychoactive drugs. Designed for both science and non-science majors. Emphasis on the reasoning, research designs, and methods for understanding drug effects. Prerequisite: introductory biology (Biology 20; Biology 201L recommended) and chemistry (Chemistry 101L or 110L; 210DL recommended). Instructor: Kuhn

Introduction to human genetic and genomics and how the topics relate to modern medicine and treatment. Special emphasis placed on principles of human genomics (including human genome organization, complex disease and large scale genomic analysis) and how they relate to the field of translational genomics (bridging human genetics to drug design). Discussion of ethical and societal issues concerning personalized medicine as well as future implications to modern health care. Current journal articles highlighting new genomic treatments will be presented and discussed. Prerequisite: Biology 201L, 202L or 203L. Instructor: S. Haga

Individual research in a Pharmacology-related area under the supervision of a faculty member, resulting in a substantive paper or written report containing significant analysis and interpretation of the study results. Open to first-year students and sophomores with consent of supervising instructor.

Individual research in a field of science education (with reference to Pharmacology) at the precollege level, under the supervision of a faculty member, resulting in a substantive paper or written report containing significant analysis and interpretation of study results. Open to juniors and seniors with consent of supervising instructor. Instructor: Sawyer

Biological and psychological mechanisms of reward and addiction from a “molecules to mind” perspective. Topics include: neural mechanisms of reward, vulnerability to addiction, self-medication, addiction as a learning process, animal models of addiction, gateway drugs, roles of stress and impulsivity, adolescence, genetic vs. environmental predisposition, neural alterations resulting from drug intake. Prerequisite: Psychology 106 or Psychology 275/Biology 224/Neuroscience 114. Instructor: Schramm-Sapyta.

Individual research in a Pharmacology-related area under the supervision of a faculty member, resulting in a substantive paper or written report containing significant analysis and interpretation of the study results. Open to juniors and seniors, with consent of supervising instructor. Instructor: Staff

Graduate Courses Open to Undergraduates

Drug absorption, distribution, excretion, and metabolism. Structure and activity relationships; drug and hormone receptors and target cell responses. Consent of instructor required. Prerequisite: Biology 201L; Chemistry 201DL; Mathematics 122; Pharmacology 350. Instructor: Slotkin and staff

Several model systems (cancer, immunological disorders, and infectious diseases) will be used to explore the molecular, biochemical, and physiological basis of drug action. Consent of instructor required. Prerequisite: Pharmacology 350. Instructor: Wang

Principles of toxicology as related to humans. Emphasis on the molecular basis for toxicity of chemical and physical agents. Subjects include metabolism and toxicokinetics, toxicologic evaluation, toxic agents, target organs, toxic effects, environmental toxicity, management of poisoning, epidemiology, risk assessment, and regulatory toxicology, Prerequisite: Biology 19; Biology 201L recommended, and Chemistry 201DL, or consent of instructor.

Individual research in a field of science education (with reference to Pharmacology) at the precollege/college level, under the supervision of a faculty member, resulting in a substantive paper or written report containing significant analysis and interpretation of study results. Open to all qualified seniors and graduate students with consent of supervising instructor. Instructor: Sawyer