Seeking a PhD in Pharmacology Research? Emory University's top-ranked Molecular and Systems Pharmacology (MSP) graduate program prepares students for jobs and careers in pharmacology, pharmaceutical research, toxicology and biotechnology. The program is a unique opportunity for PhD candidates interested in learning how the drugs of today work and how the novel therapeutics of tomorrow can be developed.

Emory University was recently rated by The Scientist magazine as the #1 university in terms of impact in pharmacology and toxicology research. Particular strengths within the MSP graduate school program at Emory include neuropharmacology, cancer biology, AIDS research, cardiovascular pharmacology, toxicology, and chemical biology. Ph.D. training in the Emory MSP program provides students with an ideal preparation for successful careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries as well as in academic research, teaching, government research, patent law and other disciplines that depend upon knowledge of fundamental pharmacological principles.

We live in a golden age of pharmaceutical research. Each passing year brings the development of exciting new therapeutics in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, AIDS, diabetes, psychiatric disorders, and other diseases. Pharmacology Research. Continued success in this quest to improve human health depends upon fresh ideas, adventurous basic research, and the cutting-edge training of future scientists.


In the first year of the MSP program, PhD candidates get research experience through laboratory rotations and attend classes focused on the fundamental principles of pharmacology, toxicology, biochemistry and cell biology.

What is Pharmacology?

Pharmacology is the science of drugs, and is perhaps the original interdisciplinary science. It has the goals of understanding how drugs work, how drugs are processed in the body, and of using that information to develop new drugs and new drug targets to treat human disease. Knowledge, concepts and experimental approaches are drawn from each of the traditional basic biomedical science disciplines to achieve these goals. Knowledge about drugs interacting with known target molecules and the identification of novel target molecules (Molecular Pharmacology) is combined with information about how effects of drugs on different organs and tissues are integrated to produce a therapeutic or toxic effect (Systems Pharmacology). Therefore, Pharmacology is an appropriate and exciting field of study for students with diverse undergraduate science backgrounds including Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Physiology, Neuroscience or Psychology.

A Diversity of Careers

The MSP graduate program prepares students for a diversity of careers . A graduate of the MSP program emerges with a broad training in the basic biomedical sciences, encompassing such disciplines as biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology and neuroscience, but also has training and expertise in the specialized principles and approaches of Pharmacology, This is a combination that is increasingly sought after by the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and government sectors, as well as being excellent preparation for an academic career. The Program also offers a specialization in Toxicology, which focuses on the adverse effects of drugs and chemicals. The Program additionally participates in a Chemistry-Biology Interface program, providing select MSP students the opportunity to obtain concomitant training and expertise in aspects of Chemistry that are particularly relevant to Pharmacology and drug development. Students choose their dissertation mentors from more than 40 internationally-recognized MSP faculty in 15 different academic departments.

Research Foci

  • Drug Development and Molecular Therapeutics
  • Cell Growth Control. Cancer Biology and Cancer Pharmacology
  • Cell Surface Receptors and Intracellular Signaling
  • Cardiovascular Pharmacology
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Pharmacology
  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Metabolism and Molecular Toxicology
  • Neuroscience and Neuropharmacology
  • Regulation of Gene Expression