Summer Undergraduate Research

people in summer clothingThe Undergraduate Research Program in the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry provides undergraduate students majoring in the basic sciences with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in scientific research at a major academic institution.

Due to budget restraints and the current ecomony, we have temporarily discontinued the Pharmaceutics Summer Research Program.

What is Pharmaceutics?

OptlabPharmaceutical sciences focus on the physiology and chemistry controlling drug therapeutic action in modern medicine. Often confused with pharmacy practice, pharmaceutics is distinct in its research and development emphasis, contributing important technologies and scientific bases for drug delivery to patients. Over half of newly discovered drug candidates cannot be commercialized without further drug delivery and formulation assistance. Researchers trained in pharmaceutics integrate a broad working knowledge of diverse scientific disciplines: from fundamental studies of drug physiochemical properties and bioactive molecules to mechanisms of various physiological processes that impact drug delivery to specific biological sites of action and, therefore, their therapeutic effectiveness. Increasing awareness of the complexity of the drug delivery process in living systems means that researchers in pharmaceutics today must maintain breadth and depth in physical chemistry, physical organic chemistry, mathematics, bioengineering, nanotechnology and the life sciences in order to solve research problems that require integration basic science concepts from multiple disciplines with medical applications.

Current Research at Utah

woman looking into microscopeResearch Topics in Pharmaceutical Chemistry are listed within each of the group pages. Some topics are:

  • Computational models of drug/target interactions (Cheatham Group)

  • Biosensors and clinical diagnostics assays (Grainger and Herron Groups)

  • Clinical Bioavailability of New Drug Formulations (Kern Group)

  • Conopeptites as new anesthetic drugs (Kern Group)

  • Degradable, Temperature-Sensitive Hydrogels (Kim Group)

  • E.E.G. Analysis of Drug effects on the Brain (Kern Group)

  • Folate Receptor-Mediated Gene Delivery, IL-10 Delivery (Kim Group)

  • Leukemia, Cytokine-Based Cancer, and Cardiovascular Disease Gene Therapy (Kim Group)

  • Monitoring of Metabolic Disorders (Kern Group)

  • Novel Biomaterials (Hybrid hydrogels & Self-assembled systems) (Kopecek Group)

  • Bioartificial Pancreas, and IL-10, IL-4 Gene Therapy for Type I & II Diabetes (Kim Group)

  • p53 intracellular trafficking (Lim Group)

  • Polymeric anticancer drugs (Furgeson, Ghandehari and Kopecek Groups)

  • Polymeric Gene Carrier Research (Kim Group)

  • Response Surface Modeling of Drug Kinetics and Drug Dynamics (Kern Group)

  • Site-specific delivery to bone (Grainger and Kopecek Groups)

  • Structure-function correlates of antigen-antibody complex formation (Herron Group)

  • Targeted drug-delivery systems (Furgeson, Ghandehari, Herron, Kim and Kopecek Groups)

  • Trafficking of the human progesterone receptor (Lim Group)

More Topics are listed on Faculty Home Pages

Department research is featured in the Monday Research Seminar Series.

Research Facilities

SkaggsThe Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry occupies approximately 24,000 square feet of space in the College of Pharmacy and two nearby locations, all in proximity to the Medical Center and Health Sciences Library. One of these locations is the newly constructed Biomedical Polymers Research Building, which also houses the Center for Controlled Chemical Delivery. All department space is well equipped for graduate research, containing facilities for cell culture, and small-animal surgery, as well as cold rooms, darkrooms, and several instrument rooms, offices, and conference rooms. Instrumentation available within the department includes numerous chromatographic instruments (HPLC, CE, FPLC, GLC), various scintillation counters, spectrometers (UV/VIS, UV/VIS/NIR, fluorescence, FTIR), calorimetry instrumentation, a quasielastic light scattering instrument, lyophilization equipment, and various microscopes for confocal microscopy and other applications. Researchers have ready access to NMR and mass spectrometry services including GC/MS and LC/MS, SEM, EM, and scanning force microscopy services.

How Do I Apply?

Students now pursuing a bachelor's degree in chemistry, engineering, biology, physics, mathematics, pharmacy, or related disciplines may qualify for the Research Program. Applicants should preferably have completed organic chemistry lab and their junior year by the beginning of the summer research activity. Students in their final year as undergraduates are reminded that graduate programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry are available and inquiries are welcome. Applications are invited from all qualified individuals regardless of race, religion, disabilities, age, or sex.

Due to budget restraints and the current ecomony, we have discontinued the Pharmaceutics Research Program. We thank you for your interest in our department.

What Do Summer Students Do in the Research Program?

Jk labThe Summer Undergraduate Research Program is a ten-week program during which time students conduct independent research under the supervision of senior faculty members applying chemical and mathematical principles to contemporary problems involving drugs and related molecules. Participants receive basic instruction in laboratory and research techniques, learn first-hand the use of specialized laboratory instrumentation, and learn how to effectively search and study the scientific literature. The program is designed to provide maximum independence but sufficient guidance to ensure that students will obtain a complete research experience.

A modest stipend is provided for a ten-week period of research. Students are responsible for their travel and housing expenses. At their option, participants may enroll as University of Utah students for the summer and receive academic credit for their research work. Participants will obtain valuable exposure to scientific research which will enable them to more clearly evaluate career and educational choices.

The University of Utah is located overlooking Salt Lake City at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. Opportunities for a variety of summer recreational activities are abundant, including hiking, mountain climbing, boating, and fishing. Ten national parks are within a day's drive of the University.

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