The focus of the program is translational research, which involves studies that occur at the interface of the bench and bedside. Information flow at this interface is bi-directional. Hence, PhD graduates of the Clinical & Experimental Therapeutics program will be trained to function at this interface. Since all students admitted to the program will have a clinical/health profession degree, the emphasis of the program will be training in the basic science, which improves the graduates ability to successfully compete for extramural funding. There are required clinical components to assure competency in the foundations, principle and processes of clinical research. The keystone of the training is the conduct of an integrated laboratory-based and clinical dissertation.
The Medicinal, Bioorganic and Computational Chemistry track is focused on new protein and nucleic acid based therapies and natural product drug discovery platforms.
This track is ideal for students with interests in synthetic and biosynthetic approaches for drug discovery, development of novel computational tools for drug design, and the evolution of biologics for specific therapies or drug delivery.
The Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Engineering track focuses on drug formulation, development and delivery. Areas of emphasis include:
- the application of physical, physical organic, and analytical chemistry to solve pharmaceutical problems,
- the design, development, and optimization of dosage forms for small and large molecules, and
- fundamental research into materials science and nanotechnology to advance drug delivery systems design.
Collaborations with faculty in the UK College of Engineering provide additional opportunities for a combined pharmaceutical and engineering research program. In addition, faculty participate in preclinical and/or clinical projects through collaborative relationships within the College of Pharmacy and with investigators across the UK Medical Center Complex.
Health care delivery faces the multiple challenges of limited resources, increasing expenditures, increasing expectations, greater complexity, costly new technology, and limited health care access. The need for professionally trained translational pharmaceutical research scientists in analyzing medication outcomes and policy planning has never been greater, as pharmaceutical policy issues become larger and more complex.
Our society is accustomed to extensive drug use. In 2001, US physicians prescribed nearly 3 billion prescriptions costing in excess of $150 billion. In 2005, global drug expenditures surpassed $600 billion. But the cost is not just in dollars. In 1997, researchers projected that up to 140,000 deaths are caused annually in the U.S. by adverse events due to legally prescribed medications. Published estimates for the rate of hospital admissions due to adverse drug reactions range from 3-28%, and as many as 30% of all hospitalized patients experience an adverse drug event during their hospital stay. Nearly half of these adverse drug events are potentially preventable; thus, there is an urgent national imperative for rational and improved medication use.
The Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics track draws upon campus-wide strengths in neurobiology, cardiovascular disease, oncology and infectious diseases. Strong collaborations exist with the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, addiction/abuse consortia, and the Markey Cancer Center, which recently received NCI Cancer Center designation. Division faculty are skilled in pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics, systems biology, neurochemistry and neurophysiology. Translational research programs bridging preclinical and/or clinical projects through collaborative relationships within the College of Pharmacy and with investigators across the UK Medical Center Complex also exist.