Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of drug action, where a drug can be broadly defined as any man-made, natural, or endogenous (from within the body) molecule which exerts a biochemical or physiological effect on the cell, tissue, organ, or organism (sometimes the word pharmacon is used as a term to encompass these endogenous and exogenous bioactive species). More specifically, it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function. If substances have medicinal properties, they are considered pharmaceuticals.

The field encompasses drug composition and properties, synthesis and drug design, molecular and cellular mechanisms, organ/systems mechanisms, signal transduction/cellular communication, molecular diagnostics, interactions, toxicology, chemical biology, therapy, and medical applications and antipathogenic capabilities. The two main areas of pharmacology are pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Pharmacodynamics studies the effects of a drug on biological systems, and Pharmacokinetics studies the effects of biological systems on a drug. In broad terms, pharmacodynamics discusses the chemicals with biological receptors, and pharmacokinetics discusses the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) of chemicals from the biological systems. Pharmacology is not synonymous with pharmacy and the two terms are frequently confused. Pharmacology, a biomedical science, deals with the research, discovery, and characterization of chemicals which show biological effects and the elucidation of cellular and organismal function in relation to these chemicals. In contrast, pharmacy, a health services profession, is concerned with application of the principles learned from pharmacology in its clinical settings; whether it be in a dispensing or clinical care role. In either field, the primary contrast between the two are their distinctions between direct-patient care, for pharmacy practice, and the science-oriented research field, driven by pharmacology.

The origins of clinical pharmacology date back to the Middle Ages in Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine, Peter of Spain's Commentary on Isaac, and John of St Amand's Commentary on the Antedotary of Nicholas. Clinical pharmacology owes much of its foundation to the work of William Withering. Pharmacology as a scientific discipline did not further advance until the mid-19th century amid the great biomedical resurgence of that period. Before the second half of the nineteenth century, the remarkable potency and specificity of the actions of drugs such as morphine, quinine and digitalis were explained vaguely and with reference to extraordinary chemical powers and affinities to certain organs or tissues. The first pharmacology department was set up by Rudolf Buchheim in 1847, in recognition of the need to understand how therapeutic drugs and poisons produced their effects.

Early pharmacologists focused on natural substances, mainly plant extracts. Pharmacology developed in the 19th century as a biomedical science that applied the principles of scientific experimentation to therapeutic contexts. Today pharmacologists use genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and other advanced tools to transform information about molecular mechanisms and targets into therapies directed against disease, defects or pathogens, and create methods for preventative care, diagnostics, and ultimately personalized medicine.

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Matching Pharmacology Colleges

University of California-Santa Barbara

Four or more years; Public; $41,196 average out-state tuition; $11,442 average in-state tuition

Ohio State University-Main Campus

Four or more years; Public; $34,101 average out-state tuition; $11,018 average in-state tuition

Drexel University

Four or more years; Private not for profit; $54,766 average out-state tuition; $54,766 average in-state tuition

Tulane University of Louisiana

Four or more years; Private not for profit; $56,684 average out-state tuition; $56,684 average in-state tuition

CUNY York College

Four or more years; Public; $14,880 average out-state tuition; $6,930 average in-state tuition

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Four or more years; Public; $21,474 average out-state tuition; $9,390 average in-state tuition

University of Vermont

Four or more years; Public; $41,280 average out-state tuition; $16,392 average in-state tuition

Scholarships for Pharmacology Majors

Bullet name award deadline Link
 

Churchill Scholarship

The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States

Up to $65,000 November 01, 2024 See Details
 

Churchill Scholarship

The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States

award

Up to $65,000

deadline

November 01, 2024
See Details
 

Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Up to $30,000 Varies See Details
 

Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

award

Up to $30,000

deadline

Varies
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Jewel Scholars Program - Mount Mary College

Mount Mary College

$27,000 Varies See Details
 

Jewel Scholars Program - Mount Mary College

Mount Mary College

award

$27,000

deadline

Varies
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Lumpkins Family Merit Scholarship in the College of Science

University of Notre Dame

$25,000 January 01, 2025 See Details
 

Lumpkins Family Merit Scholarship in the College of Science

University of Notre Dame

award

$25,000

deadline

January 01, 2025
See Details
 

Bess Heflin Fellowship

University of Texas at Austin, Office of Graduate Studies

$19,000 Varies See Details
 

Bess Heflin Fellowship

University of Texas at Austin, Office of Graduate Studies

award

$19,000

deadline

Varies
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UNCF Kia America Accelerate the Good Scholarship

UNCF, Inc

Up to $15,000 June 03, 2024 See Details
 

UNCF Kia America Accelerate the Good Scholarship

UNCF, Inc

award

Up to $15,000

deadline

June 03, 2024
See Details
 

SEI Native American Education Scholarship

Solar Energy International (SEI)

$10,000 Varies See Details
 

SEI Native American Education Scholarship

Solar Energy International (SEI)

award

$10,000

deadline

Varies
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SEI Energy Women in Solar Scholarship

Solar Energy International (SEI)

$10,000 Varies See Details
 

SEI Energy Women in Solar Scholarship

Solar Energy International (SEI)

award

$10,000

deadline

Varies
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EAGLES Scholarship - PSU

Portland State University

$10,000 Varies See Details
 

EAGLES Scholarship - PSU

Portland State University

award

$10,000

deadline

Varies
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Allman Medical Scholarship

Miss America Pageant

Up to $10,000 Varies See Details
 

Allman Medical Scholarship

Miss America Pageant

award

Up to $10,000

deadline

Varies
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