Molecular Pharmacology

Molecular pharmacology explores the reaction of drugs on human molecules and leads to the development of new medications. Find out what degrees are available and what courses you might take in this field, and discover info on career options and related salaries.

Is Molecular Pharmacology for Me?

Molecular pharmacology is an interdisciplinary science, combining knowledge from fields like biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, chemical biology and biomedicine. The focus is on how drugs affect target molecules. It may be combined with studies in systems pharmacology, which examines the beneficial or negative effects that particular drugs have on body systems, or toxicology, which concentrates on the poisonous effects that drugs and other substances have on the body. Molecular pharmacology is typically studied at the doctoral level, but bachelor's and master's programs in related fields are available.

Career Options

With a graduate degree in this field, you may work as a research scientist, studying how currently used drugs target particular diseases. Alternatively, you may research the development of new drugs, experimenting with organic materials and designing new bioactive compounds. Duties may involve designing research initiatives and working with junior scientists to carry out the projects. You strive to discover new information and answer pivotal questions about how drugs affect the body, producing literature and helping to improve medical treatments. You might obtain an academic position, combining research time with teaching responsibilities.

Employment and Salary Info

Graduates of molecular pharmacology programs may seek academic employment, research scientist careers or top positions within industry. Possible employers include government agencies, pharmaceutical industries, biotechnology organizations or academic institutions. According to Payscale.com as of June 2014, the majority of pharmacologists made between $46,369 and $126,271 per year, while most biotechnology research scientists earned between $43,111 and $104,619 annually.

How Can I Work in Molecular Pharmacology?

Molecular pharmacology is an advanced, specialized field that requires knowledge of a variety of science subjects. To become a molecular pharmacologist, problem solving abilities, attention to detail and strategic implementation skills may be highly beneficial, coupled with a strong understanding of science principles.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

If you aspire to become a molecular pharmacologist, you can start with a bachelor's degree in a relevant science field, like molecular biology, physiology or neuroscience. Furthermore, bachelor's programs in pharmaceutical sciences may be available, providing you with a solid background in the field and possibly offering undergraduate research opportunities in molecular pharmacology.

With a bachelor's in pharmaceutical sciences, you may find entry-level employment within biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies.

Graduate Programs

Though you may directly apply to doctoral programs in molecular pharmacology with a bachelor's degree, some master's programs are also available if you would like some extra preparation. Master's and Ph.D. programs emphasize the importance of research, and you can learn to use modern scientific equipment, like spectrometers and powerful electron microscopes. Research areas may include cancer biology, embryonic development, molecular toxicology, gene expression, cell signaling, receptor pharmacology and drugs' effects on behavior. These opportunities can prepare you to develop your own independent research in the field of molecular pharmacology.

Graduate Course Info

In advanced-level programs, courses may cover subjects like pharmacogenomics (genetic differences in reactions to drugs), pharmaceutical chemistry, signal transduction, proper drug dosage, morphology (drug metabolism), immunopharmaceutics and drug discovery. You might focus your studies on the pharmacology of a particular region of the body, like the cardiovascular, endocrine or neural systems.

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