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Pharmacologists and Training

In the Nov. 8 issue, The Scientist highlighted the need for "classically trained" pharmacologists to work in the pharmaceutical industry.1 Such individuals work at the preclinical stage of the drug development process, characterizing the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and toxicology of drug candidates, often using animal models. The article was absolutely correct in its portrayal of the abundant job opportunities in these areas, which link the initial drug discovery process to introduction

Ronald Siegel

In the Nov. 8 issue, The Scientist highlighted the need for "classically trained" pharmacologists to work in the pharmaceutical industry.1 Such individuals work at the preclinical stage of the drug development process, characterizing the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and toxicology of drug candidates, often using animal models. The article was absolutely correct in its portrayal of the abundant job opportunities in these areas, which link the initial drug discovery process to introduction of lead candidates into the clinic. Lacking in the article, however, was the recognition that, while most pharmacology departments have all but abandoned graduate and postdoctoral training in those fields in favor of basic molecular and cell biology, such training is currently being provided by programs in pharmaceutics or pharmaceutical sciences across the country.

A Ph.D. in pharmaceutics is trained to understand drugs at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, and whole-body levels, and this integrative view is precisely what...

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