Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences offers undergraduate and graduate students unparalleled training for future careers in pharmacy, medicine, and biomedical research. Our innovative, rigorous curriculum integrates concepts from biology, chemistry, chemical engineering, pharmacology and physiology. Alumni purse exciting professional opportunities that improve our societies health and well-being. 

Pharmaceutical Scientists are rapidly changing the field of drug discovery and development. Graduates of our program are well qualified to seek employment in the public and private sectors, or pursue graduate degrees such as Ph.D., M.D., or Pharm.D.

Pharmaceutical Sciences News

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What are the Pharmaceutical Sciences?

Drug Discovery & Design

Drug Discovery and Design deals with the design and synthesis of new drug molecules. This Category Includes specialized fields of study such as medicinal chemistry, combinatorial chemistry, structural biology, identification of biological targets, and assay development to test drug candidates.

Drug Delivery

Drug Delivery is concerned with the design of dosage forms — such as tablets, injections or patches — that will deliver the drug to the site of action in a patient. The purpose is to ensure that the drug arrives in the right concentration and at the right time. Specialty fields within Drug Delivery include pharmaceutics, biomaterials, and pharmacokinetics.

Drug Action

Drug Action examines how the drug itself actually works in a living system, which is the definition of pharmacology. The action of the drug can be studied at the molecular level, in a cell, an organ, and in animals. Specialty fields within Drug Action include molecular biology, pharmacology, pharmacodynamics, toxicology, and biochemistry.pharmaceutics, biomaterials, and pharmacokinetics.

Clinical Sciences

Clinical Sciences are concerned with the use of drugs in the treatment of diseases. Particular properties of new drugs — such as efficacy, adverse effects, drug-to-drug interaction, bioavailability — are determined in clinical trials in humans.

Cost Effectiveness of Medicine

Cost Effectiveness of Medicines (Pharmacoeconomics) examines the economic impact of using one drug rather than others, with regard to costs for the drug itself, patient management (e.g., physician visits, hospitalization), adherence and quality of life.


Drug Analysis

Drug Analysis involves separating, identifying, and quantifying the components of a sample. Analytical chemistry is an important component of all areas of the pharmaceutical sciences.

Regulatory Affairs

Regulatory Affairs promotes communication, understanding, and cooperation between scientists from industry and academia and the regulatory authorities worldwide who govern approval and distribution, by means of developing regulatory guidelines.

More and more, these categories are beginning to overlap. For example, a scientific engineer working in Drug Delivery needs to understand how toxicology affects Drug Action, and a chemist working in Drug Discovery and Design must know about the pharmacokinetics of Drug Delivery. For this reason, pharmaceutical scientists are required to have a broad base of knowledge in a variety of sciences.

Career Opportunities

Over the years, pharmaceutical scientists have been instrumental in discovering and developing innovative drugs that save thousands of people’s lives and improve the quality of life for many others. Pharmaceutical scientists can pursue a variety of jobs. They are employed by pharmaceutical companies, they work as pharmacists, doctors, and as researchers and professors at universities, as regulatory scientists for agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and as researchers at national laboratories such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Excerpted from information produced by the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)

Learn More about the History of Drug Discovery

Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty

Amal AlachkarProfessor of Teaching (LSOE)
Lauren AlbrechtAssistant
Claudia BenaventeAssistant
Richard ChamberlinChair, Professor
Frederick EhlertProfessor
Kelvin GeeProfessor
Naoto HoshiAssociate
Young Jik
Thomas MartinezAssistant
David MobleyProfessor
Vice Chair
Larry PlonAssistant Adjunct Professor
Sam SchrinerProfessor of Teaching (LPSOE)
Vice Chair
Robert SpitaleFounding Associate Dean of Research and Professor
Weian ZhaoAssociate