Academic Departments

Pharmaceutics Department

Pharmaceutics photoPharmaceutics is the science of delivering biologically active compounds to the body through strategies that are designed to elicit an optimal therapeutic response. An understanding of pharmaceutics allows scientists to convert a potential drug into an effective medicine that can be administered to patients in a safe and convenient manner. Our department concentrates on four areas of pharmaceutics:

  • biopharmaceutics, the study of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of drugs and toxins in the body
  • pharmacokinetics, the study of the disposition of a drug or toxin once it enters the body, especially in relation to time and concentration
  • drug delivery, the development of the most appropriate form or method for administering a pharmaceutical compound
  • nanotechnology and nanomedicine, the design of medical interventions at the scale of molecules and atoms

Our research leads directly to new strategies for maximizing the efficacy of drug therapy while minimizing its potential for toxicity and side effects, or both. At the same time, our research provides new insights into the molecular, cellular, and clinical bases of human disease. This is knowledge critical to improving human health and wellness.

Faculty Research

Our faculty members are distinguished scientists who mentor students, run active research labs, and contribute to the advancement of the pharmaceutics discipline. They serve on many advisory boards and review panels and are editors of prestigious journals, authors of influential research papers, and recipients of national and international awards for research and teaching. Four are Fellows of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

Scientists in our department are recognized nationally and internationally for their groundbreaking research into:

  • the role of cellular signaling pathways in the chemoprevention of colon and prostate cancers
  • the targeted delivery of drugs, genes, and peptides using nanotechnology to enhance the efficacy of treatment
  • novel methods for and new understanding of transdermal drug delivery, including the development of bioengineered human skin
  • the development of molecular-scale drugs and diagnostic delivery technologies with applications in asthma, AIDS, cancer, and chemical counterterrorism
  • the molecular and functional characteristics of specific transporters that mediate the disposition of drugs in the body
  • and many more important advances

Faculty of our department hold more than a dozen patents for discoveries that include new drug formulations and new methods for the delivery of drugs, genes, and peptides. Several promising start-up companies have been launched based on technology innovations from our laboratories. In fact, our department’s research program has received more than $30 million in funding over the past 10 years and currently is supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the American Lung Association, among others.

PharmD Education

Our department plays an important role in the education of PharmD students, both in the laboratory and the classroom. Our faculty members mentor students in their labs through the honors and summer research programs. They also teach the fundamentals underlying drug development and delivery in the classroom, through these courses for undergraduates:

  • Introduction to Pharmaceutics
  • Drug Delivery
  • Introduction to Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics
  • Problems in Pharmaceutics

MS, PhD, and Postdoctoral Education

As the home department for the Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences,  we support a dynamic education in drug discovery and development at both the master’s and PhD levels. A PharmD/PhD dual-degree program, developed for high-achieving students with strong research interests, provides an accelerated pathway to the doctoral degree. Faculty advisors work closely with graduate students and are committed to helping each student meet his or her career objectives in the pharmaceutical sciences. We have mentored dozens of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and research associates who have gone on to successful careers in industry, government, and academia.