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About the Program

Students who choose to do their thesis research in laboratories of faculty in the Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Discovery 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 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 the broad scope of training in pharmacology, integrated with sister disciplines of physiology and molecular sciences, are valued. Faculty research interests 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 Pharmacology Department has eight thematic divisions (Cancer Biology; Neuropharmacology and Neurological Disorders; Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases; Immunology, Inflammation and Infectious Diseases) and programs (Signaling and Molecular Pharmacology; Biochemical Biophysical and Structural Biology; Integrative Multi-Omics; Systems and Computational Biology). Training Faculty generally work in disease areas represented by the four divisions with approaches represented by the program areas. There is a particularly strong emphasis on signal transduction with work on receptors and G-proteins, kinases and phosphatases, and intracellular signaling pathways associated with the disease areas.

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, as well as a small contribution towards travel and research expenses. Trainees are given ample opportunities to present their work, host seminar speakers, and interact with world renowned faculty at the weekly Research Discussion meeting and the Spring Retreat. Success of the training program is reflected in the number of trainees that go on to faculty positions at prestigious universities or high level positions in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.

Where our academic training program started! 


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

Abagyan, Ruben
Gustafsson, Åsa
Saltiel, Alan
Amaro, Rommie 
Gutkind, J. Silvio 
Schoeneberg, Johannes
Antal, Corina 
Handel, Tracy
Rao, Anjana
Ballatore, Carlo 
Hangauer, Matthew
Sen, George
Brown, Joan Heller
Hibbs, Ryan
Sheikh, Farah
Chang, Geoffrey
Hnasko, Tom
Snyder, Evan
Chavez, Alejandro Hook, Vivian Steinmetz, Nicole
Chen, Yuan 
Huang, Wendy
Sunahara, Roger
Cheresh, David
Hunter, Tony 
Taylor, Susan
Chun, Jerold
Joiner, William
Trejo, JoAnn
Daneman, Richard
Joyce, Gerald
Tukey, Robert
Dorrestein, Pieter
Kufareva, Irina
Winzeler Elizabeth
Evans, Ronald
Meharena, Hiruy
Yang, Jing
Ferguson, Fleur Myers, Sam  Zhang, Jin
Furnari, Frank Newton, Alexandra
Gonzalez, David  Nizet, Victor
Guan, Kun-Liang O'Donoghue, Anthony

Current Pharmacological Sciences Trainees

Bayne, Charlie Larsen, Reid Oliver  Trujillo, Diego 
Bosompra, Oye Mauch, Brandon Evan Vasishth, Maya
Brunelli, Melina  McIntosh, Nicole  Wang, Clark 
Caplan, Mika Nam, Arin  Yohannan, Darius 
Doan, Khoa Rincon, Anthony  Zhang, Qian Yi 
Hurysz, Brianna Marie  Rossitto, Leigh-Ana Mae 
Kao, Tiffany Haojane  Sun, Daniel 
Keller, Jeffrey  Tran, Brooke 


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
2023-2024 Research Discussions Schedule

Department of Pharmacology Seminar Series Tuesdays 12:00 PM


BMS/Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Discovery Research Area Orientation
2024 Date TBD 

Department of Pharmacology Scientific Retreat
October 3, 2024     
Scripps Seaside Forum
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM