Pharmacology & Physiology PhD Program

The Pharmacology and Physiology PhD program is centered on research that seeks to understand normal functions of systems within organisms and how these are altered by pathological states such as hypertension, stress, alcohol and exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals and drugs. Many of these projects are integrative and emphasize the interactions between different systems.

Graduate students in the program can receive training in a variety of systems. These include the impact on the cardiovascular and renal systems in obesity and hypertension. Other areas include autonomic regulation of respiration and brainstem function, neural control of blood pressure and heart rate, post-traumatic stress disorder, cardiovascular diseases, and pharmacogenetic determinants of drug responses. Pharmacogenomics includes a study identifying genetic variants leading to increased health risks in African American populations.

PhD programs in the biomedical sciences are designed to meet key goals in contemporary graduate research education including 1) discipline-specific knowledge, 2) research skill development, 3) research communication skills, 4) research leadership, 5) research professionalism, and prepare graduates for a variety of science careers. To apply, please visit IBS Admissions.

Faculty members are from the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, including scientists from the Children’s Research Institute of Children’s National Health System. Students have access to cutting-edge core facilities for whole animal imaging, flow cytometry, confocal and other imaging, and computational biology.

The PhD in Pharmacology and Physiology begins with interdisciplinary coursework in molecular, cellular and systems biology in the first semester. In the second and third semester students take in-depth courses in pharmacogenomics, physiology and pharmacology. Career development coursework in scientific writing, oral communication, and research ethics; and laboratory rotations are offered through GW’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences curriculum. Following required laboratory rotations, students work with their research advisor and the Graduate Program Directors to complete remaining Pharmacology & Physiology degree requirements, including the dissertation.

IBS Core
BMSC 8210 Genes to Cells
BMSC 8212 Systems Physiology
BMSC 8230 Molecular Basis of Human Disease
BMSC 8215 Laboratory Rotations (3)
BMSC 8216 Career Skills: Scientific Writing and Speaking
BMSC 8217 Career Skills: Ethics and Grantsmanship

One or more Foundation course:

Basic Science of Cancer Biology
Infection and Immunity
Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics
Neural Cells and Circuits
Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine

BMSC 8219 Career Skills: Biomedical Science Careers
BMSC 8235 Applied Biostatistics for Basic Research
Complete grant-style qualifier examination, advance to candidacy

Pharmacology & Physiology Core
PHAR 6116: Pharmacogenomics & Personalized Medicine
PHYS 6211/PHAR 8211: Physiology
PHAR 6205: Pharmacology
PHAR 8281: Molecular Pharmacology

Seminars/Journal Clubs
The Pharmacology and Physiology seminar series meets weekly at noon on Tuesdays.

Graduate Program Directors:

Vince Chiappinelli, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology
GWU; Ross Hall
vac@gwu.edu

Colin Young, PhD Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology
GWU; Ross Hall
colinyoung@gwu.edu

Nikki Posnack, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology
Children’s National Health System, GWU
nposnack@childrensnational.org