Research Programs

The fields of pharmacology and toxicology are by nature interdisciplinary biomedical sciences, drawing upon the foundations and approaches of cell biology, systems physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics and neuroscience. A primary objective of pharmacology is to investigate fundamental aspects of cellular and molecular bio-regulatory mechanisms for the purpose of understanding how drugs act and in order to develop new drugs for treatment of disease. Toxicology examines how chemical agents produce adverse effects on the organism, and studies mechanisms by which these materials contribute to cancer, respiratory illnesses, neurological diseases, birth defects and many other disorders.

This multi-faceted perspective applies to the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Utah, which has a long standing reputation for research excellence and a rich tradition of training graduate students. The major research areas and opportunities for graduate training in the Department are listed below. Click on each topic to learn more about a specific area.


The Department also contains several formal research centers, the Anticonvulsant Drug Development Program, the Center for Human Toxicology and the affiliated Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory.  In addition, a number of faculty participate in the Utah Addiction Center.

Integrative, multi-disciplinary, and state-of-the-art experimental approaches are used in each of these research arenas. Investigations range from the molecular to the whole animal. Our faculty are expert in such diverse techniques as gene cloning, mass spectrometry, high performance liquid chromatography, in vivo microdialysis, in situ hybridization, patch clamp electrophysiology, site microarray analysis, and numerous techniques used in cell and molecular biology, and systems physiology.

Research Funding


The yearly research budget for the Department exceeds $17 million. Our research programs are heavily funded from a wide variety of sources including, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, The Fogarty International Center, The National Institute on Standards and Technology, The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of Justice, The Department of Commerce, The Epilepsy Foundation of America, the U.S. and World Anti-Doping Agencies, the National Football League, the Whitehall Foundation, and a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Our graduate students have successfully competed for fellowship support from the National Institutes of Health, the American Psychological Association, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturer's Association of America, and the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education.

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