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Subsequent Years

All students who join the Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology Program take a mandatory course entitled Principles of Drug Action and Targeting (16:718:680), as well as four of the seven 2-credit seminar courses offered by the Program. Pharmacology Program course offerings can be found with the link in the right margin. To reach the minimum number of course credits (32), students must choose one relevant three-credit elective from the Rutgers University Graduate School Course Catalogue - New Brunswick. Many students choose the Genomics in Cancer Therapeutics course (16:718:603) offered by Pharmacology Program. Students may take additional relevant courses after consultation with their research advisors.

There is information on the Cancer Biology Concentration.

Each student must pass the oral qualifying exam before the end of the second year. Every year thereafter, each student must meet with a research advisory committee to monitor progress toward the PhD degree.

All 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students in the Pharmacology Graduate Program must present their research progress once a year in the Graduate Student Research Seminar (aka Progress Reports, 16:718:685, 1 credit). Students register for this course in the spring but the course meets weekly throughout the academic calendar year.

The Pharmacology department maintains a seminar announcement bulletin board, as well as e-mail alerts. Numerous additional scientific seminars are presented across the joint Rutgers and RWJMS campuses. Click here to see the current schedule of events.

Required Course

16:115:558 Ethical Scientific Conduct Refresher. This course is required of all 5th year graduate students as well as MD/PhD in the 3rd year of PhD. This is a case-based course that reviews the most important topics in Responsible Conduct of Research. It complies with NIH requirements.

Subsequent Years Courses

Title: Principles of Drug Action and Targeting (Required Core Course)
Course Number: 16:718:680
Director: Dr. Joseph Fondell
Credits: 3
Schedule: Offered every Fall Semester
Description: Thiscourse provides a comprehensive overview of basic principles in pharmacology, representative drug classes and their targets, clinical drug evaluation, experimental therapeutics and drug development.
Note: This course is required.

Title: Genomics in Cancer Therapeutics
Course Number: 16:718:603
Director: Dr. Sabaawy
Credits: 3
Schedule: Spring semester of even years (2016, 2018…)
Description: This course focuses on the latest development in personalized cancer therapy and implementation of genomic and precision medicine approaches. A literature-based seminar course combined with patient-oriented bioinformatics and hospital sessions focused on illustrating how cancer patients are diagnosed and treatments are established. The range of topics covered includes tumor heterogeneity, resistance mechanisms in tumors, and targeted therapies against deregulated genomic stability, cancer metabolism and cancer stem cells.
Note: This course can substitute for one of the 2-unit seminar courses.

Title: Graduate Student Research Seminar (Required of all 2nd, 3rd and 4th year graduate students)
Course Number: 16:718:685
Director: Dr. Lyu
Credits: 1
Schedule: Offered every Spring Semester
Description: In this course, each 2nd, 3rd and 4th year student of the Pharmacology Graduate Program presents their research progress once a year to other students of the program. The course meets weekly during the academic calendar year even though registration and grading are handled in the spring. As such, some students will present their work during the fall sessions. Students often combine their presentations in this course with their yearly Research Advisory Committee meeting by inviting their committee members to the presentation.

2-Credit Seminar Courses

Title: Drug-Target Interactions (nucleic acids and chromatin)
Course Number: 16:718:605
Instructors: Gartenberg and Studitsky
Schedule: (every three years starting in Spring 2013)
Description: A literature-based seminar course focused on the latest developments in discoveries in chromatin and nucleic acids with emphasis on pharmaceutical applications.

Title: Hormones and Their Receptors
Course Number: 16:718:581
Instructors: Chen and Fondell
Schedule: (every three years starting in Fall 2013)
Description: A literature-based seminar course focused on the latest discoveries in mechanisms of hormone actions and their receptors at both cellular and molecular levels.

Title: Pharmacology of Ion Channels/Transporters
Course Number: 16:718:582
Instructors: Runnels
Schedule: (every three years starting in Fall 2013)
Description: A literature-based seminar course focused on ion channels and transporters as present and future targets for pharmacological intervention in disease.

Title: Cancer Pharmacology
Course Number: 16:718:600
Instructors: Pilch and Liu
Schedule: (every three years starting in Spring 2014)
Description: A literature-based seminar course focused on new molecular targets for anticancer agents.

Title: Signal Transduction
Course Number: 16:718:575
Instructors: Ryazanov
Schedule: (every three years starting in Fall 2014)
Description: This is a literature-based seminar course focused on key discoveries in the field of intracellular signal transduction.

Title: Molecular Response to Therapeutic DNA Damage
Course Number: 16:718:584
Instructors: Shen
Schedule: (every three years starting in Spring 2015)
Description: This is a literature-based seminar course focused on aspects of DNA repair, recombination, and replication as they relate to pharmacological intervention.

Title: Genetics in Pharmacology
Course Number: 16:718:601
Instructors: Walworth and Lobel
Schedule: (every three years starting in Fall 2015)
Description: This is a literature-based seminar course focused on the intersection of genetics and pharmacology with regard to identification of drug targets, development of drugs, and drug response.

Propositional/Oral Exam

The second part of the two-part qualifying exam is taken one year after the written qualifying exam. This exam is based on an oral defense of a written proposal, which is usually based on the student’s planned thesis work.

The process begins when the student provides an abstract of the proposed work to the Pharmacology Program Director. The examination committee, selected by the Director in consultation with the student, will consist of three faculty members of the Pharmacology Graduate Program, excluding the advisor. In certain circumstances, ad hoc members from outside the program will be permitted. The oral examination should take place within six weeks of forming the examination committee.

The oral exam is based upon a student's written proposal (about 10 pages) that shall take the form of a research grant application (Specific Aims, Background/Significance, Preliminary Results, Experimental Design). The student should consult his/her advisor in preparing proposal but the proposal must be written entirely by the student. While preliminary results are welcome they will neither be essential nor the focus of the exam. The committee and the student’s advisor must receive the proposal at least a week before the exam.

On the exam date, the student will present the written proposal orally. The committee will ask questions related directly or indirectly to the subject matter of the proposal. Students can expect questions on the logical reasoning behind the proposal, the scientific techniques employed, as well as general questions about the practices and principles of biological and pharmacological science.

The student’s performance will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis. A conditional pass may also be awarded. A pass on the exam admits the student to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. An Oral Proposition form documenting this exam must be filed with the GSBS office.

Annual Committee Meeting

After passing the oral qualifying exam and becoming a PhD candidate, the student and Research Advisor assemble a Research Advisory Committee. The committee will consist of the Research Advisor, two additional faculty members of the Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and one outside member from either another program, another university, or from outside academia. Members of the committee should possess expertise closely related to the thesis area.

The Research Advisory Committee meets with the student at least once a year to evaluate research progress towards the Ph.D. degree. An abstract should be presented to the committee in advance of the meeting. Ordinarily the student will describe his/her progress in the form of an oral presentation. It is common for students to combine their Thesis Committee meeting with the yearly presentation that he/she must make in the Progress Report seminar series. In this case, the committee meets with the student privately after the public presentation to serve an advisory role on future research and help determine when the requirements are satisfied for the Ph.D. degree. A Research Advisory Committee Meeting form documenting this meeting must be filed with the GSBS office.

Contact Us

Division of Life Sciences Graduate Program Office
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Nelson Lab-604 Allison Rd
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Phone: 848.445.9517