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Curriculum

The Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (MPET) Ph.D. track curriculum is a visionary didactic program tailored specifically to our students' needs and designed to train our students to:

  • Integrate across scientific disciplines
  • Perform cutting-edge, discovery-oriented research
  • Further the understanding of human biology
  • Enhance patient care through the development of novel disease therapies

The MPET curriculum is designed to help our trainees become successful biomedical researchers involved in target discovery and validation, genetics exploration, and therapy development, all directly applicable to the challenges of patient care in the 21st century.

See the complete MPET course listing.

First and second years

During the first two years of MPET study, our students will complete the didactic coursework required for a Ph.D. The first- and second-year core curriculum courses provide a broad foundation of knowledge needed to interpret current research findings and successfully perform laboratory research.

Core curriculum courses include:

  • Genome Biology
  • Chemical Principles of Biological Systems
  • Biostatistics
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Receptor Biology

Additional classes, such as Introduction to Molecular Pharmacology as well as Drug Metabolism and Pharmacogenomics, focus on the basic principles of drug action and metabolism and the rapidly evolving concepts of receptor and signal transduction mechanisms relevant to pharmacology and all of biology.

Based on research interests, students also select from a menu of small-group tutorials that provide in-depth learning experiences covering:

  • Systems pharmacology
  • Pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics
  • Drug discovery
  • Cell signaling
  • DNA damage signaling and repair
  • Cardiovascular biology
  • Neurodegeneration

To enhance the MPET coursework, first-year students have the opportunity to rotate with three research mentors. By the end of the first year, students will select a mentor that best matches their scientific interests and goals.

Students have the option of taking the qualifying exam at the end of their first year or second year.

Third, fourth and fifth years

The third, fourth and fifth years of the MPET program focus on thesis research. After completing class work and passing the qualifying exam, students work full time on their thesis projects. The average time to earn a Ph.D. degree is just over five years.

Presentation opportunities

Throughout graduate training, MPET students gain effective communication skills by participating in weekly student seminars, lab meetings and class tutorials. In addition, MPET students often present their work at national scientific meetings.

Additional learning opportunities

MPET students have excellent opportunities to learn from national and international experts inside and outside of Mayo Clinic, which is a crucial component to broader scientific education.

Active seminar programs in each department bring many distinguished scientists to the Mayo Clinic campus. MPET investigators host seminar speakers who are engaged in therapy development in a variety of settings, including academia, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and government laboratories.

Students have ample opportunity to interact with these distinguished visitors in formal and informal settings and are encouraged to attend seminars sponsored by any of the graduate school departments and programs.

  • Dec 1, 2015
  • ART122270