The Molecular Pharmacology Training Program is housed in the Department of Chemical and Systems Biology. The MPTP is a multi-departmental program that complements the training received by students in their Ph.D. degree-granting department or interdepartmental program. The MPTP provides training in the area of molecular pharmacology, with a focus on the process of drug discovery and drug development. Our mission is to provide students with expertise in basic biomedical science and an understanding of the steps required to translate their fundamental discoveries into clinical therapies. Our goal is to train future leaders in academic research, biotechnology, science/health policy, and other science-related careers.

We strongly encourage students from diverse backgrounds to apply, including but not limited to women, underrepresented minorities, first-generation students, and individuals with disabilities.

Program Requirements:

  • Trainees are required to attend and present a poster at an annual three-day retreat. After
    completion of their funding term, they are required to give an oral presentation at the
  • Trainees will present an annual 30-minute talk at a student/faculty research forum.
  • Participate in a summer biotech industry internship or a quarter-long clinical shadowing
    experience with a Stanford physician-scientist.
  • Participate in quarterly discussions on responsible conduct, rigor, and reproducibility in
    research during entire period of training grant support.
  • Trainees meet annually with the MPTP Co-Directors, Dr. James Chen and Dr. Matthew
    Bogyo, to discuss MPTP training experiences, career development goals, and any areas
    of concern.
  • Participate in both annual IDP meetings and annual thesis committee meetings.
  • Regular meetings with faculty mentor to discuss scientific hypotheses, devise
    experimental approaches, and help analyze and interpret data.
  • Trainees must acknowledge the MPTP T32 training grant in all publications resulting from
    their graduate work during or following their year(s) of support and must enter these
    publications into the PMCID database.

Required Courses are:

  • CSB 240A: A Practical Approach to Drug Discovery and Development
    Advancing a drug from discovery of a therapeutic target to human trials and commercialization. Topics include: high-throughput assay development, compound screening, lead optimization, protecting intellectual property, toxicology testing, regulatory issues, assessment of clinical need, defining the market, conducting clinical trials, project management, and commercialization issues, including approach to licensing and raising capital. Maximum units are available by taking an additional contact hour.

  • CSB 240B: A Practical Approach to Drug Discovery and Development
    Continuation of CSB 240A. Maximum units are available by taking an additional contact
    hour. Prerequisite: CSB 240A.

  • BIOS 200: Foundations in Experimental Biology
    This course is divided into two 3-week cycles. During the first cycle, students will be
    developing a 2-page original research proposal, which may be used for NSF or other
    fellowship applications. In the second cycle, students will work in small teams and will be
    mentored by faculty to develop an original research project for oral presentation. Skills
    emphasized include: 1) reading for breadth and depth; 2) developing compelling, creative
    arguments; 3) communicating with the spoken and written word; 4) working in teams.
    Important features of the course include peer assessment, interactive joint classes, and
    substantial face-to-face discussion with faculty drawn from across the Biosciences
    programs. Shortened autumn quarter class; class meets during weeks 1 through 8 of the quarter.

  • MED 255: The Responsible Conduct of Research
    How to identify and approach ethical dilemmas that commonly arise in biomedical
    research, issues in the practice of research such as in publication and interpretation of
    data, and issues raised by academic/industry ties. Contemporary debates at the interface
    of biomedical science and society regarding research on stem cells, bioweapons, genetic
    testing, human subjects, and vertebrate animals. (We anticipate that most MPTP
    applicants will have already fulfilled this requirement in the first year).

  • BIOS 258: Ethics, Science, and Society
    (Per NIGMS requirements, MPTP trainees should take this refresher ethics course during
    their 5th year of graduate study)

    This discussion focused Ethics, Science, and Society interactive mini-course will engage
    Biosciences graduate students and faculty in learning and conversations on topics in
    responsible research (including animal subjects, authorship, collaboration, conflicts of
    interest, data management, human subjects, mentor-mentee relationships, peer review,
    publication, research misconduct, and social responsibility) and diversity in science,
    informed by readings, case studies, individual reflections, and more. Some of the driving
    themes in this course include: what it means to do research well and how to and not to
    achieve this, why doing research well and with integrity is important, and who are
    researchers currently and who should they be.

  • SOMGEN 223: Introduction to R for data analysis
    Introduction to R, an open-source programming language for statistical computing and
    graphics. Topics include: the basics of the R language and RStudio environment, data
    inspection and manipulation, graphics for data visualization, and tools for reproducible
    research. Interactive format combining lecture and hands-on computer lab, with time to
    work on your own data. Numerous in-class and homework exercises to build effective
    skills. Examples will be drawn from different areas of biology and medicine.

Other Program Activities:

  • MPTP trainees will also have access to various career development and exploration
    opportunities, including science communication workshops, alumni networking events,
    and SPARK-funded translational research projects (