PhD in Medical Sciences Concentrations

Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology

Research in the Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology concentration in the PhD Program in Integrated Biomedical Sciences is focused on interdisciplinary approaches to the study of nervous and cardiovascular systems and related disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression and drug addiction. Training will include a unique interdisciplinary blend of didactic coursework, journal clubs, seminar series, as well as significant research experience. The goal of the research programs in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology is to translate studies that decipher mechanisms of diseases or discover novel diagnostic/therapeutic targets into improved healthcare.   


The curriculum for the PhD in Medical Sciences can be found in the Graduate Catalog. A sample of courses offered within the Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology concentration is listed below. 

  • Basic Medical Physiology
  • Basic Medical Pharmacology
  • Advanced Pharmacology & Physiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Advanced Neuroscience
  • Membrane Physiology
  • Systems Neurophysiology 

Graduate Catalog

Faculty & Research

Current research interests include: 

  • Renal Pathophysiology and Hypertension
  • Microcirculation, Lymphatic Biology, Cell and Matrix Molecular Biology
  • Glycobiology
  • Hyperbaric Neurophysiology 
  • Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of CNS Oxygen Toxicity
  • Neural Plasticity with neurodegenerative disease and after brain injury

Learn more about our faculty and their research here

Affiliated Institutes & Facilities

Neuroscience Institute

Concentration Spotlights



Zeinab Motawe headshot

2020 - Zeinab Motawe, PhD (above) is a recent graduate of the Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology concentration and was selected as a recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Dissertation Award for her dissertation Functional Significance of Endothelial Sigma-1 Receptors in Vascular Reactivity and Barrier Function.

PhD student, Drishya Iyer

2020 - Drishya Iyer (above) received the Edith Wright Hartley scholarship

2019 - Ishani Wickramage was selected for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Travel Award for Scientists from Low and Low-Middle Income Countries

Recent Publications 

    • Xue J, Thomas L, Tahmasbi M, Valdez A, Dominguez Rieg JA, Fenton RA, Rieg T. An inducible intestinal epithelial cell-specific NHE3 knockout mouse model mimicking congenital sodium diarrhea. Clin Sci (Lond). 2020 Apr 30;134(8):941-953. doi: 10.1042/CS20200065. PMID: 32227118.
    • Zhao J, Zhu Y, Song X, Xiao Y, Su G, Liu X, Wang Z, Xu Y, Liu J, Eliezer D, Ramlall TF, Lippens G, Gibson J, Zhang F, Linhardt RJ, Wang L, Wang C. 3-O-Sulfation of Heparan Sulfate Enhances Tau Interaction and Cellular Uptake. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2020 Jan 27;59(5):1818-1827. doi: 10.1002/anie.201913029. Epub 2019 Dec 10. PMID: 31692167; PMCID: PMC6982596.
    • Ciarlone GE, Hinojo CM, Stavitzski NM, Dean JB. CNS function and dysfunction during exposure to hyperbaric oxygen in operational and clinical settings. Redox Biol. 2019 Oct;27:101159. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2019.101159. Epub 2019 Mar 9. PMID: 30902504; PMCID: PMC6859559.

More Information

For information about the PhD Program in Integrated Biomedical Sciences, contact 813-974-2836 or

Apply Now 

Please note, students do not apply directly to a concentration. Interested students should submit an application for the PhD in Medical Sciences. Concentrations are typically selected during the first year of study.