Pharmacology and Toxicology are allied scientific disciplines concerned with investigations of the physiological and biochemical actions of endogenous compounds and xenobiotics on living tissues. These studies range in scope from investigations at the molecular level to clinical pharmacological and toxicological responses in humans. The ability of pharmacologists to elucidate basic mechanisms of drug action in living cells and biological systems has permitted the development of a rational approach to drug design and use. In addition, pharmacologists and toxicologists study compounds to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of toxicity.

In the last three decades there have been rapid advances in the fields of pharmacology and toxicology, characterized by basic and clinical achievements which have made a profound impact on society. Fundamental discoveries have led to the introduction of a large number of highly effective and relatively safer pharmacologic agents. A number of acute and chronic diseases previously disabling to a large number of people can now be modified or controlled by drug therapy. The field of toxicology has been heavily influenced by the increasing need for safety evaluations of drugs and chemicals and by a greater appreciation for the hazards resulting from chemical contamination of the environment. Pharmacologists and toxicologists also study the adverse effects of drugs to better understand their physiological and biochemical outcomes.

The realm of pharmacology and toxicology over the years has widened from one of purely basic science to a central and critical position of a team which addresses basic and applied research and health care problems. The pharmacologist has a role in the discovery or investigation of chemicals which have some useful biological activities. Toxicologists and pharmacologists now occupy a prominent role in the larger translation of drug use to humans for therapeutic and/or diagnostic use. In the future they are likely to become involved in the activities of health promotion and disease prevention.

The expanded role of pharmacology and toxicology in the health-related sciences is evidenced by the increased need for highly trained professional personnel (Ph.D., M.S., MD-Ph.D., PharmD-Ph.D. degrees). This need is reflected in the number of positions available in research-teaching-service areas of health professional schools (of human and veterinary medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing), university graduate and undergraduate programs, pharmaceutical and chemical industries, hospitals, and state and federal government research and regulatory agencies.

The Graduate Program in Pharmacology and Toxicology at The University of Arizona is oriented towards modern pharmacology and toxicology, especially in those areas dealing with mechanisms of therapeutic and/or toxic actions of chemicals. Emphasis is placed on the physiological, biochemical and molecular mechanisms of actions.

Originally posted: June 10, 2016
Last updated: June 10, 2016
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