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Career in Pharmacology
Finding cure and treatment for dreaded diseases have always been a challenging task for scientists and physicians. Although we have achieved success in controlling some of the diseases, still there are many big challenges to control and heal diseases such as Parkinson, AIDS, cancer, schizophrenia, depression and pain. Pharmacologists have always played a leading role in developing novel drugs for various ailments.
What is Pharmacology?
Pharmacology is the study of drugs. It focuses on the mechanisms of action, toxicities, and therapeutic uses of biologically active substances in living systems. Pharmacology course incorporates biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, physiology, and chemistry to understand the relationship between biological processes and therapeutic agents.
Subfields in Pharmacology
Pharmacologists work on questions that span several distinct sub-specialties. For example, clinical pharmacology is the study of drug effects on humans; behavioral pharmacology emphasizes a behavioral analysis of drug action; neuropharmacology focus on drugs relating to nervous system; toxicology is the study of adverse effects of drugs/chemicals on living organisms; psychopharmacology studies drug-induced changes in mood, thinking, and behavior; pharmacognosy, study of drug of natural origin; endocrinology pharmacology looks drug effects at hormonal level. Veterinary pharmacology is about use of drugs for diseases and health problems exclusively to animals.
Classical pharmacology subfields such as pharmacodynamics are the study of the molecular, biochemical, and physiological effects of drugs on cellular systems and their mechanisms of action. Pharmacokinetics deals with absorption, distribution, and excretion of drugs. Each of the specialties is at the forefront of modern medicine.
There are several excellent universities in U.S. and elsewhere that offers courses in pharmacology leading to Bachelors, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. At graduate level, the courses are designed so that students acquire broad basic knowledge and research experience in different areas of pharmacology. Whereas focusing on specific line of pharmacology research leads to an advanced degree. High school level maths, statistics, biology and chemistry are essential for pharmacology course.
Job Opportunities in the area of Pharmacology
Pharmacology qualification offers a wide variety of career options. The success of pharmaceutical and healthcare industries depends heavily on pharmacologists. Pharmaceutical sales and information science also provide fascinating career options for pharmacologists. One with pharmacology education can work in drug enforcement agency, regulatory bodies and in legal environments (e.g. patents). Additionally, pharmacology is an integral subject in the curriculum for degrees in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine. Therefore, there are several opportunities to teach in universities and hospital settings.
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