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MUSC Bulletin | College of Graduate Studies

Department of Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences

Section Contents
Faculty Research Interests | Course Descriptions

The Colleges of Pharmacy of the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina jointly offer a program leading to the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences. The degree is granted by the University of residence. A combined Pharm.D./Ph.D. degree also can be pursued at the Medical University of South Carolina.

A minimum of three years of full-time graduate study is required for the Ph.D. Two years of Ph.D. residency may be transferred from other institutions of approved graduate standing. Management of the program is vested in a Joint Coordinating Committee; members are selected from the graduate faculties of both universities. The student’s advisory Committee is selected from among the graduate faculties at both colleges of pharmacy and from other colleges on both University campuses and chaired by the student’s advisor.

The several areas of concentration are complementary for the two colleges of pharmacy. It is the student’s choice of concentration area that determines his/her primary institution. The various areas of concentration and corresponding primary institutions are:

Medical University of South Carolina

Bioorganic/Medicinal Chemistry
Cell Death, Injury and Regeneration

University of South Carolina

Pharmacy Administration
Medicinal Chemistry

The approved program of study is central to meeting program objectives and precisely delineates all requirements to be fulfilled by the student. Included in the approved program of study are background deficiencies to be met, any foreign language requirement, all required and elective graduate courses, graduate credits to be transferred from other institutions, and approval of any parts of the program to be executed at other institutions. Courses in related departments and colleges on both University campuses and the participating cross-registration campuses are available for development of the approved program.

The program is adaptable to the needs and interests of those with degrees in pharmacy, chemistry, biological sciences, and other areas. Many applicants will be graduates of an accredited College of Pharmacy. To ensure an adequate background for graduate work in pharmaceutical sciences, all applicants must have completed or must complete acceptable courses in:

Organic Chemistry

Any exceptions to these requirements must have appropriate approval.

Graduate credits from other institutions may be accepted with appropriate approval. No more than 20 semester hours of transfer credit may be applied toward the Ph.D. Transferred credits must have been completed within eight years prior to granting the Ph.D. research credit. Courses in which less than a B average has been earned are not transferrable. If the eight-year period for the doctorate is exceeded, no more than 12 hours may be considered, and validation by examination is mandatory. For information, see 

To pursue the Pharm.D./Ph.D. degree, students must be accepted into both the College of Graduate Studies and College of Pharmacy at the Medical University of South Carolina. For information, see

Faculty Research Interests
Faculty research interests can be found on the web at

Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences Course Descriptions
The number of semester hours is designated by s.h.

BMB-535A. Bioorganic Chemistry. A systematic study of the electronic and structural properties of biomolecules and their function as a result of these properties. The material represents a natural extension of the principles of both organic chemistry and biochemistry. Protein chemistry, enzyme mechanisms and cofactor functionality are among the topics covered. Prerequisite: basic organic chemistry. 4 s.h. Fall.

DDBS-712. Drug Discovery and Molecular Pharmacology. This elective explores the scientific principles underlying targeted drug design. Medicinal chemistry is integrated with molecular biology in the context of identifying tomorrow's best-in-class drugs. The interdependence of pharacodynamic and pharmacokinetic structure-activity relationships will be discussed as a feature of drug discovery. 3 s.h. Spring.

DDBS-715. Environmental Stress Signaling and Cellular Consequences. This course will provide advanced knowledge on the mechanisms of cell responses to a wide range of environmental stresses including chemical, physical, anoxia/reperfusion and other pathogens. The course focuses on the signal transduction pathways leading to cell injury, carcinogenesis, necrosis, apoptosis, repair, regeneration, adaptation, and cytoprotection. We will cover the events at system, cellular and protection levels; however, emphasis is given to the interactions among intracellular signaling pathways. This course is useful for all biomedical students and, in particular, for students who completed the course "Cellular Defense Against Foriegn Chemicals" and want to continue their understanding of the effects of environmental stress at cellular and molecular levels. 4 s.h. Spring

DDBS-722. Light Microscopy for the Biomedical Sciences. This one-week hands-on course provides a solid introduction to the concepts and practical applications of light microscopy relevant to modern cell and molecular biology. Students will have opportunities for extensive hands-on experience with state-of-the-art equipment for optical imaging, digital image processing, and fluorescence and confocal/multiphoton microscopy guided by experienced academic and commercial faculty.

DDBS-726. Advanced Medicinal Chemistry. This course covers advanced topics of medicinal chemistry related to the synthesis of complex organic molecules. Emphasis is on the strategy for stereochemical induction, functional group transformations, retrosynthetic analyses and catalytic reactions. The course involves didactic lectures and workshops targeted to synthetic design. 3 s.h. Spring.

DDBS-741. Organ Systems Toxicology. A minimum of three lectures hours will be devoted to each organ system. A brief review of each organ system will be given at the beginning of the topic session. One or two examples of toxic agents for each organ system will be discussed, including proposed mechanisms of action and possible therapeutic interventions in the case of intoxication. Selected manuscripts from the literature illustrating toxic response to the organ system will be given out at the beginning of each organ system topic. The papers will be discussed in the final hour of the topic session. 3 s.h. Fall.

DDBS-762. Mitochondrial Biology. Mitochondria are involved in many of the cell's vital processes, which include the production of energy for the cells and apoptosis. Many common diseases are due to underlying mitochondrial dysfunction thus it is imperative that students receive fundamental current knowledge of mitochondrial biology and the state of the art techniques used in the field today. Prerequisites: First year curriculum 2 s.h. Spring.

DDBS-780. Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences Seminar. A general research and journal club seminar mandatory for all graduate students in pharmaceutical sciences. Guest speakers, faculty, and students participate. 1 s.h. All.

DDBS-790. Special Topics in Drug Discovery. A variable credit course involving appropriate lectures, research-oriented laboratory work, written assignments and reports, and oral presentations. Variable. All.

DDBS-970. Research. Variable s.h. All.

DDBS-980. Master's Thesis.

DDBS-990. Doctoral Dissertation. Variable s.h. All.

Last Published with Edits:07/02/2016 3:26 AM
Last Comprehensive Review:July 2015

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