Laboratory Research

Approximately half of the students in the MS Program in Pharmacology choose to have a laboratory experience as a part of the degree. Choosing the Research Option (Concentration in Research) allows the student to be engaged in a research project in both the fall and spring semesters and to complete the requirement for the Concentration in Research. The Block Schedule for the MS Program illustrates the times available for laboratory research. In the fall both Tuesdays and Thursdays are free and in the Spring, every afternoon of the week is free. To participate in the Research Option (and obtain a Concentration in Research on the transcript), sign up for PHAR906 (Research) for 2 credits in the fall semester and PHAR907 (Research) for 5 credits in the spring semester.  Expectations of students in PHAR906 & PHAR907.

The purpose of the laboratory experience is to give the student exposure to 'real science'. Many MS students already have some laboratory experience and this is a chance to increase that portion of your CV. Students become engaged in a research project that is either ongoing or new. There are a large number of Faculty Mentors for the MS Research Option. The project is discussed at the beginning of the fall, papers are given to allow the student to learn more about the research area and specific project and then daily or weekly meetings are used to keep track of progress and to troubleshoot problems. Usually MS students work with someone advanced in laboratory skills, such as a PhD student, a post-doc, or a Research Professor. Students who plan to go on to a PhD program or work in a laboratory-based position in biotech or big pharma are strongly encouraged to do the Research Option.

To inquire about doing the Research Option, contact the Program Director as early as possible to begin the process of connecting with a research mentor. It should be noted that acceptance into the MS Program does not guarantee acceptance into the Research Option. Additionally, students doing the Research Option need to take mandatory Lab Safety & Radiation Safety sessions in late August. This is in addition to the General Orientation Session in late August. If you will be doing a project involving animals, you must attend an orientation session given by the Department of Comparative Medicine (687-1676). 

Near the end of the academic year, usually in April, students participating in the Research Option prepare and present a poster at a session held in the Pharmacology Library. This is an excellent way to learn about scientific presentations and gives the opportunity to 'bring it all together' at the end.