The PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology aims to provide the PhD students with the theoretical and practical bases to prepare for a research career in Molecular, Cellular and Behavioral Pharmacology and Toxicology, as well as to tackle, at the experimental and regulatory level, pharmaco-toxicological problems concerning the exposure to natural and synthetic substances. These aims are pursued through the active participation of the student in research projects carried out at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology “V. Erspamer” of Sapienza University of Rome and, when possible, in other Centers including International centers involved in scientific collaborations with Sapienza University.
PhD students will acquire autonomous ability to plan, propose and implement basic and applied research projects. In addition, they will acquire critical assessment capabilities for experimental protocols, guidelines and standard operating procedures. The skills acquired in the PhD program contribute to the training of young researchers who can meet the needs of both national and international public and private structures. The possible employment opportunities are represented by the inclusion in the University, in public and private research centers and in the pharmaceutical industry.
Students enrolled in the Program are required to spend in the laboratory to which they have been assigned most of the time required for the research work necessary to develop their doctoral thesis, under the supervision of their Academic Tutor. This Tutor is assigned by the PhD School Committee, who will annually evaluate the progress of the thesis project, possible future strategies and individual problems.
The main Pharmaco-toxicological research projects currently underway at the Department concern the following topics:
1) study of the molecular mechanisms of drug action in various areas of Cellular Pharmacology, Pharmacogenomics, Pain Pharmacology, Gastro-intestinal Pharmacology, Behavioral Pharmacology, Drug Addiction and Abuse; 2) Identification of new biological systems as potential targets of innovative drugs: identification and pharmacological characterization of new biologically active molecules, of their receptors and of their new agonists/antagonists/ allosteric modulators; 3) neurofunctional teratogenesis of psychotropic drugs, abuse and doping substances and environmental toxicants (use of animal models for neurochemical, neurobehavioral and electrophysiological analysis); 4) mechanism of action of new drugs active at the level of the central and/or peripheral nervous system; 5) "in vitro" and "in vivo" pharmaco-toxicological characterization of natural and synthetic active compounds; 6) experimental and clinical studies of the metabolism of major drugs, both in drug addicts and in infrahuman species; 6) experimental studies on the abuse potential of doping substances.
The cultural training of doctoral students consists of an educational activity consisting of cycles of lectures and seminars held by professors of the doctorate, by other professors of Sapienza University and by external experts.
After the first year students will be encuraged to persue their research in a qualified laboratory abroad, for a period o time that cannot exceed 18 months. In this way the students will have an opportunity to learn new technics, to experience different approaches to medical and biological research, to establish working relationships that will be useful in their future career, and to become fluent in a foreign language.
The Doctorate ends with the writing of a thesis, discussed publicly in the presence of the Academic tutors and members of Italian and/or foreign Universities. Students are expected to meet the requirements necessary to achieve the doctoral degree within three years.
Ideally, successful candidates should be young graduates with an excellent education track, a strong commitment to develop as independent investigators and good knowledge of English language. One or more publications on high quality international journals, with a demonstrated active involvement in the work, would be highly appreciated.
Noteworthy, PhD students of previous cycles have had the opportunity to publish the results of their research on ualified scientific journals as well as to attend training courses, specializations, seminars, national and international congresses and workshops. Most of those who have acquired a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology have entered the University and other institutions such as the Ministry of Health, the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, the Anti-Doping Laboratory of CONI, AIFA and Pharmaceutical Industries.