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Welcome Message From the Chair

Olivier Civelli, PhD, Chair of the Department of Pharmacology
Olivier Civelli, PhD, Chair of the Department of Pharmacology

Pharmacology is an exciting branch of biological and medical sciences that embraces our knowledge of how molecules affect living things. The mission of the department at UC Irvine School of Medicine is threefold: research, teaching and training in the conduct of research.

The UC Irvine Ph.D. program provides a foundation in all aspects of pharmacology, from molecular mechanisms through behavior, thus preparing  students for careers in:

  • Academia
  • Research institutions
  • Biotechnology
  • The pharmaceutical industry
Specific areas of study include: molecular and cellular pharmacology, neurosciences, gene regulation, circadian rhythms, epigenetic modifications, neuropharmacology, psychopharmacology and cardiovascular pharmacology.
Emphasis is placed on providing an integrated understanding of drug receptors: their structure, location and function; molecular aspects of drug action; receptor signaling mechanisms; structure–activity relationships and drug design; the role of receptors and drugs in development; and aging, plasticity, reinforcement and drug abuse, neural disorders, and cardiovascular physiology and disease.

To facilitate these broad–ranging investigations, the faculty employ molecular biological, biochemical, anatomical, physiological and behavioral strategies.

Students are thus exposed to most of the methods used in pharmacological research. Although diverse in their research specialties, the faculty shares a common interest in the molecular basis of drug–receptor interactions, signaling pathways, and molecular mechanisms of gene expression.

The faculty enjoy international recognition for their contributions to research and service on grant review committees and editorial boards. Graduate students are expected to be active researchers and to publish in major medical and biological journals.

The faculty research programs attract postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists who provide additional resources for research and training.

Strong programs in neuroscience, cell biology, physiology and molecular biology in other departments of the School of Medicine and the School of Biological Sciences provide our students with additional opportunities for interaction.

The department has also affiliations with scientists and academic institutions at both national and international levels as well as from the growing biopharmaceutical industry in Irvine. The latter provides the opportunity to experience pharmacology from a drug discovery standpoint.