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Cell and Molecular Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics

Department of Cell and Molecular Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics

Tew Picture

Kenneth D. Tew, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Professor and Chairman
John C. West Chair of Cancer Research

About Us

Thank you for viewing the Department of Cell and Molecular Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics home webpage. There are tremendous opportunities for students and postdoctoral fellows interested in joining our department. Faculty members in our Department have new or renovated laboratory facilities, with access to core facilities that can serve as functional drivers for trainee research projects. The Department has major foci in redox and cell signaling (facilitated by an NIGMS funded COBRE grant; see the link to the COBRE program within the department website), proteomics and mass spectrometry (with an MUSC supported core facility) and mass spectrometry based imaging. Moreover, MUSC has committed to supporting a drug discovery program, which provides opportunities for early stage discovery and development of new drug entities. Present faculty research interests encompass new drug discovery/development, cancer therapeutics, cell signaling and stress responses, redox pathways, G protein signaling in aging and neurological disorders, kinase signaling, epigenetics and cancer, ALS and associated neurological pathologies, proteomics and mass spectrometry based imaging.

Why Choose Pharmacology

The Pharmacology Graduate Training Program is well suited for students seeking a connection between the basic and clinical sciences. It is an integrative study that draws knowledge from several disciplines- biochemistry, molecular biology, and human physiology- to explain how drugs elicit therapeutic or toxic effects upon living organisms. Our studies are focused upon the discovery of biological mechanisms and the development of novel therapeutic agents to improve pathological conditions. The facilities mentioned above (and in each faculty member’s write up) provide outstanding academic and technical infrastructure for trainee career development. Indeed, even during challenging times for scientific endeavor, Pharmacology remains a timely career track, as the utility of drugs in the management of disease is a continuous high priority in human health. Pharmacology students obtain comprehensive training focused on critical thinking and innovation. Pharmacology is an ideal program for M.D./Ph.D. students seeking a natural link between the basic and clinical sciences, and for students interested in careers in biotechnology or the pharmaceutical industry. Graduates from our program have successfully transitioned to careers in biomedical science within academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and government agencies.

Departmental Highlights 

  • The Proteomics Center is housed within the department and provides an opportunity for students and postdoctoral fellows to gain expertise that will prepare them for careers in academics or the pharmaceutical sector. The Thermo Orbitrap mass spectrometer enables the high-resolution analysis of protein post-translational modifications including glycosylation, S-glutathionylation and phosphorylation. This new technology has supported growing research endeavors focused upon identifying biomarkers in human pathologies.
  • Faculty members in Pharmacology hold three South Carolina Centers of Excellence Chairs. Funded programs emphasize our strengths in signaling and drug development. For example, the COBRE grant in Redox and Oxidative Signaling supports five independent faculty members and four core facilities and provides a strong focus on how redox chemistry and biochemistry interface with pharmacology.
  • As a result of these research strengths, in terms of NIH national ranking, the Department is ranked within the top 30th percentile nationally in terms of Medical School Pharmacology Departments. This is a very strong showing, especially when considering our modest size.
  • Interdisciplinary research endeavors with the College of Pharmacy, other departments within the College of Medicine and with the Hollings Cancer Center ensure a broad base of educational possibilities. Our department offers a wonderful opportunity to participate in, and contribute to, a greater understanding of drugs and how they work - all in a geographic location conducive to a high quality of life.