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Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences (GPPS)

About the Program

The Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences, located on the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) campus at Amarillo, Texas offers Masters (M.S.) and Doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees in integrated biomedical/pharmaceutical research as part of the TTUHSC Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Modern pharmaceutical science encompasses a number of disciplines, including biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, immunology, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, and medicinal chemistry. The field is unified by the search for novel drug targets and the development of new agents and formulations for the treatment biomedical disease. This includes cutting edge techniques to target drugs to sites of therapeutic action and to reduce adverse effects related to drug metabolism, lack of target selectivity, and pharmacogenetic differences within the human population. PhD’s in pharmaceutical science are well trained for drug discovery and development positions in academic labs, government (e.g., Food and Drug Administration), and the pharmaceutical or biotech industries.

Each student completes a core curriculum including foundation training in biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology and pharmaceutics designed to give students a basic understanding of the biomedical processes by which the body operates and the pharmaceutical agents and delivery systems available to interact with these systems. Electives studies offer the student the opportunity for specialization in more focused areas of interest, including receptor biology, molecular drug action, cell signaling, cancer research, pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism, and biotechnology. Communication, research design, professional skills and ethics are developed throughout the curriculum in complementary courses. Students become immersed in the philosophy of life-long learning and the importance of maintaining and updating their knowledge base as critical, independent thinkers and scientists.

The faculty sees this integrated approach as one of the primary strengths of the program, combining cutting-edge molecular and biomedical breakthroughs with modern drug development, targeting and formulation.

A broad range of biomedical and pharmaceutical research opportunities are available throughout the department. Focus areas of the Department with links to specific faculty interests are listed below:

  • Aging/Brain/Neuroprotection/Stroke
  • Blood Brain Barrier and Neurovascular
  • Cancer and Molecular Biology & Therapy
  • Cardiovascular Disease & Regulation
  • Drug Discovery and Formulation & Pharmacokinetics
  • Receptor Biology, Cell Signaling & Immunotherapy

Presently, the Department has 26 graduate faculty members with >50 research staff and students housed in >15,000 sq. ft. of research space in the School of Pharmacy and the Amarillo Research Building on the Amarillo campus of TTUHSC. The School of Pharmacy building is located adjacent to the Amarillo campus of the TTUHSC School of Medicine and the Harrington Cancer Center. The School of Pharmacy has  expanded with the addition of 14,200 sq. ft. of laboratory and research support space and >9,000 sq ft of vivarium space in the new Amarillo Research building. Together, the Department faculty received over $2.1 million of extramural research grant funding in 2005 from various sources including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Defense (DOD), American Heart Association, Alzheimer's Association, and various pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The Department, though less than 10 years old, is ranked 31st in the nation in individual NIH research awards per FTE research faculty and 17th in the nation in percent of faculty with NIH research awards.

Typically, students may complete a course of study for a Ph.D. degree within 4-5 years or a Masters degree in about half that time (2-2.5 years). Funding is available in the form of stipends ($23,000) from the Department/Graduate School and from individual faculty research resources. These stipends are awarded on a competitive basis to qualifying Ph.D. candidates. Currently, the Department has 43 funded graduate students.

Students arriving in Amarillo will find a culturally diverse city offering a unique blend of ‘Old West’charm with a modern, energetic focus on industry, the arts and entertainment. With over 200 days per year of sunshine, the city enjoys moderate weather suitable for walking and cycling making commuting accessible and enjoyable. Housing and living costs are moderate and affordable for students on graduate salaries and accommodations can be found within walking distance of the school.

Fifteen minutes from downtown Amarillo will find you in the beautiful ‘Grand Canyon of Texas’, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, home of the internationally acclaimed play by Paul Greene,‘Texas’. Amarillo's Globe News Center for the Performing Arts boasts the nationally recognized Lone Star Ballet, Amarillo Symphony Orchestra and major touring productions. Those looking for local color and talent can enjoy first rate productions at the Amarillo Little Theater or light hearted fun & food at the Big Texan floorshow. Sports fans will appreciate the Amarillo Gorilla's Hockey Team, Dilla's Baseball and WTAMU football.

Centrally located, Amarillo is only a few hours away from the ski slopes of New Mexico and Colorado or the excitement of Dallas/Ft Worth.

The Graduate Student Association at Amarillo (GSAA) has become an integral part of student life for Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate students. Formed in 2004, the Association offers students a resource for developing social relationships with peers and enjoying recreational activities, as well as sponsoring educational and community service projects. A new student center with library and recreational facilities is planned in the near future.

A degree from the Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences will qualify students for attractive and lucrative positions in academic research, pharmaceutical and biomedical industry, government and business.