The Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology has basic and clinical components in which students have opportunities to develop intellectually and experimentally in basic biological sciences placed in the context of human disease. The department conducts teaching and research programs that begin with molecular interactions and extend to studies of diseases and their treatment in humans. Starting with the biochemistry of drugs, departmental investigators study gene expression and its regulation, signal transduction processes, cell-to-cell communication, and integrated organ functions using techniques of structural chemistry and biology, molecular and cell biology, and cellular and organ imaging. Organic synthesis, genetic engineering, and imaging techniques such as confocal fluorescent and cryoelectron microscopy, autoradiography, and positron emission tomography (PET) are extensively employed. The imaging techniques are available in the Crump Institute for Biological Imaging and the UCLA-DOE Laboratory of Structural Biology and Molecular Medicine, which are closely affiliated with the department. The goal of the education program is to provide faculty members and students the opportunity to examine the molecular and clinical basis of disease and the mechanisms of drugs in their treatment, as well as to visualize the changes in the disease state with procedures that monitor the molecular basis of cellular and organ function.
The graduate program seeks to prepare students for these interdisciplinary activities with a basic foundation in genetics, molecular and cellular biology, and pharmacology during their first year in residence. The second year is spent in the laboratory and in elective courses selected to reflect each student's interest, background, and requirements for the research undertaken. Numerous opportunities for interaction with other departments, institutes, and programs are provided through interdisciplinary coursework and many collaborative research activities.
Although the department offers only graduate degrees, upper division undergraduate courses are offered with enrollment restrictions as indicated in the course descriptions.