Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics

Welcome to the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics. We use multidisciplinary approaches to investigate the cellular, molecular, and neuroanatomical mechanisms underlying human diseases. We seek to understand how to modulate these mechanisms and then develop targeted therapies. As a basic science department within the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, we are strongly committed to teaching and training medical, dental, master’s, and doctoral students in all aspects of cellular physiology, biophysics, structural biology, and pharmacology within the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine.


Our research enterprise encompasses many facets of molecular and cell biology, structural biology, molecular biophysics, cellular physiology, genetics, genomics, and pharmacology, including molecular modeling to complement drug design and discovery. Our multidisciplinary teams of faculty, trainees, and staff are dedicated to the understanding of the pathophysiology of human diseases and to the development of therapeutic treatments. Our research groups focus particularly on the basic science and the ongoing translational thrust of our research work on cancer, neuropharmacology, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular disease. Our department has strong specialized research programs investigating substance-use disorders, chronic pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, visual transduction, and developmental, neurodegenerative, and cognitive disorders. Our faculty are well integrated within standing research centers at the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, including the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, the Whittaker Cardiovascular Center, and the Cancer Research Center. Our faculty have long-standing interactions with members of the College of Arts & Sciences as well as the College of Engineering. We also collaborate with multiple prominent research groups worldwide.

To achieve our goal of improving the fundamental scientific basis that supports translational research, the department has extensive facilities and instrumentation necessary to perform cutting-edge research in molecular pharmacology, cellular physiology, and biophysics. Notably, the department is expanding its Electron Microscope Core Facilities to include cutting-edge cryo-electron microscopes in order to participate in the resolution revolution and to further enhance our drug design capabilities. Other core equipment available includes NMR, spectroscopy, and calorimetry instrumentation. The department also maintains extensive animal core facilities as well as tissue culture and molecular biology laboratories. Please visit our research facilities website for more detail.


While we are a research-oriented department, we are deeply committed to education and the preclinical training of MD, MD/PhD, and DMD students on the Boston University Medical Campus. We are additionally heavily engaged in graduate education. We participate in several PhD programs offered by the Graduate Medical Sciences and the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, including the graduate programs in Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience, Biomolecular Pharmacology, and Anatomy & Neurobiology. The department also participates in the training of students in specialized master’s programs, including the master’s in Medical Sciences and master’s in Oral Health Sciences.

The department currently offers three separate PhD degree programs, in Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, Physiology, and Biophysics. Each program is administered separately, with distinct curricula, laboratory rotations, and PhD candidacy (qualifying) examinations. Each program is designed to prepare students for leadership positions in academic and industry-related research positions and careers. As PhD candidates, students participate in interdisciplinary training programs that include approximately 65 faculty throughout basic and clinical science departments at Boston University.

The PhD program in Biomolecular Pharmacology is unique and specifically focused on elucidating mechanisms of disease initiation and progression and on developing new therapeutic approaches. Approximately 42 students are enrolled at various stages in this PhD program. The program has been supported since 1997 by a highly competitive predoctoral training grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Opportunities for student internship experiences are fostered through partnerships with pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and Biogen.

Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Our mission is to provide a creative, equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment for all members of our academic community. We partner with local communities to provide attractive opportunities for training and employment. By working together with diverse groups of scientists, our goal is to remove all barriers that hinder progress.

Our hiring practices and performance review procedures are adapted to attract and retain faculty from diverse backgrounds.

We strictly comply with University policy to maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward any form of harassment or racist behavior. All faculty, trainees, and staff are trained to recognize, combat, and report racism and harassment.

For contact information, please visit the Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics website.