Clinical Pharmacology, Drug Action and Pharmacogenetics

Investigator: Esteban Burchard, MD, MPH
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Location(s): United States


There is a severe shortage of qualified clinical pharmacology investigators who can translate advances in biomedical research to the discovery, development and use of pharmacological therapies. The UCSF Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Postdoctoral Fellowship Program will address this shortage by educating and developing highly qualified researchers in modern clinical pharmacology.

Over the last ten years, the world has witnessed unprecedented advances in biomedical research and discovery. We have observed technological miracles including isolation of human embryonic stem cells, completion of the human genome project, generation of new heart valves from stem cells and the discovery of novel genetic risk factors through genome-wide screens. With the rapid development and application of new technologies to biomedical research, enormous progress has been made in understanding basic human biology and disease. In contrast, the translation of this knowledge to the discovery, development and optimal use of pharmacological therapies has been slow. This slow progress can be attributed, in large part, to a severe shortage of well-trained, qualifie clinical pharmacology investigators nationally who can fulfill this need for translational research and, paradoxically, a marked contraction of training opportunities within the U.S. At UCSF, we are keenly aware of what has been described as an "overwhelming mandate" to train the next generation of clinical pharmacologist researchers. For the past 30 years, the Clinical Pharmacology Training program at UCSF has consistently produced clinical pharmacologists of the highest caliber. In this competing renewal application, we propose to continue and extend our highly successful clinical pharmacology training program. In particular, we will recruit from a local UCSF as well as a national pool of candidates, diverse and highly- motivated M.D., Pharm.D. and Ph.D. scholars into our research-intensive program. Through mentored research training supplemented with didactic coursework and participation in a biweekly seminar series, fellows will be educated in translational research spanning basic through clinical. Faculty mentors in the program, committed to training, have high impact NIH funded research programs. The program is led by Dr. Burchard, an outstanding researcher in human genetics and pharmacogenetics, in conjunction with a dedicated leadership group. Areas of research emphasis include pediatric pharmacology, pharmacogenomics and new areas of clinical pharmacological research including pharmacometrics and systems pharmacology as well as regulatory sciences. Our training program will lead to the development of a well-trained and diverse contingent of clinical-scientist investigators who will serve as tomorrow's leaders in clinical pharmacology research and practice in academia as well as the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. We recognize the strengths of our faculty and clinical institutions and believe strongly that we are uniquely positioned to fulfill the growing and evolving dynamic needs of adult and pediatric clinical pharmacology through the recruitment of an expanded group of diverse and highly- motivated M.D., Pharm.D. and Ph.D. fellows into our research-intensive Clinical Pharmacology post-doctoral fellowship program. We propose to continue and expand our training program to educate and develop highly qualified researchers in modern clinical pharmacology. These scientists will be leaders in the translation of basic discoveries to clinical research and patient care. Herein, we describe the continuation and expansion of our training program with an emphasis on new developments including new leadership and expanded research and training directions.