Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Graduate Studies

Course Descriptions

The following is a list of specific Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology descriptions. Please see the First Year Program in Biomedical Sciences for other required courses as well as the other graduate program pages for elective options.

MCP 701 – Seminar

In this class, students acquire skills to (1) make a scientific presentation and (2) learn to understand a scientific presentation. Also, Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) discussions are an important component of the class.

MCP 704 – Molecular Mechanisms of Drug Action

This course focuses on a basic scientific understanding of the main processes underlying drug action. It briefly covers all important aspects of both the pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic phases including (i)a review of the receptor concept and related general principles; (ii) a detailed discussion of quantitative models of receptor occupancy, agonism, and antagonism; (iii) basic concepts related to absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination (ADME) processes and pharmacokinetics; and (iv) illustrative molecular mechanisms of action for a few representative drug classes.

MCP 731 – Special Topics (Elective)

Directed readings on subjects not ordinarily treated in depth in specific courses. Course may also consist of special laboratory problems.

MCP 732 – Cardiovascular Pharmacology

The course covers cardiovascular pharmacology, necessary cardiovascular physiology and anatomy and the function and pharmacology of the autonomic nervous system. The students learn about the function and energetics of the heart and how it is changed in cardiac disease.

MCP 743 – Python Programming For Bioscientists

This course is designed to teach problem solving using the Python programming language. No prior programming knowledge is needed. Students will learn to write their own original Python programs to parse, manipulate, and analyze big data sets containing  genomic, proteomic, and structural information. As the course progresses, students will be encouraged to apply their emerging programming knowledge to tackle scientific problems of their interest. The course culminates with each student designing a final project related to their research. This is a hands-on course with in-class interactive programming. Therefore, students are required to have their own Mac or PC laptop in good working condition for every class

MCP 752 – Systems Biology and Approaches in Pharmacology

In this course students will discuss the biochemical structure and function of signaling pathways that are most frequently targeted by the pharmaceutical industry. Students will be exposed to novel concepts and findings, in particular with regards to innovative therapeutic applications. Each week will address a different pathway or signaling network, its biological targets and functions, and specific drugs that target it. Each week includes one lecture and one class where students and instructor convene to discuss articles, technical approaches or fundamental questions in the field.

MCP 753 – Computational Pharmacology and Fundamentals of Drug Design

Like physics and chemistry in the 20th century, computers are transforming biology and medicine at a rapid pace. In pharmacology, the importance of computation and bio- and chemo-informatics cannot be overestimated. This course is collectively taught by the MCP faculty and addresses the following four distinct areas. (1). Computer-based analysis of drug-receptor interactions. Students learn principles and specific software packages for in silico docking of drugs to proteins, predict structure-activity relationships and become familiar with programming tools required for such tasks. (2). Using on-line databases to study biological activity, therapeutic indexes, toxicity and other characteristics of drugs and other chemicals. Similarly, they learn to analyze the vast information available for drug targets such as receptor proteins and enzymes. (3). Students learn about pharmacogenomics, an area essential for personalized medicine. Here, they learn, for example, how to predict the reaction of certain populations to particular treatments. (4). Students learn about the drug development pipeline, starting with the design, through screening chemical libraries and to the basics of FDA approval. In addition to lectures, they visit a UM robotic drug screening facility and UM pharmacy. Overall, this course emphasizes a hands-on approach with students performing computation tasks on their laptops. Laptops and gaining access to certain on-line resources are required.

MCP 768 – Neuropharmacology

An intensive course covering the regulation of neural processes by drugs that target neurotransmitter signaling at the level of GPCRs, G proteins, second-messengers and ion channels.

MCP 830 – Dissertation Research-Pre-Candidacy

Required for all PhD candidates. The student will enroll for credits as determined by the Office of Graduate Studies but not less than a total of 24. No more than 12 hours of research may be taken in a regular semester, and no more than six in a summer session.

MCP 840 – Doctoral Dissertation-Post Candidacy

Required for all PhD candidates. The student will enroll for credits as determined by the Office of Graduate Studies.

MCP 850 – Research in Residence

Student must be registered in the semester they plan to defend. Used to establish research in residence for the PhD after the student has been enrolled for the permissible cumulative total in appropriate doctoral research. Credit is not granted. Student may be regarded as full-time residence as determined by the Dean of the Graduate School.