What is pharmacology?
Pharmacology is the study of drugs and the effect they have on living tissues and the normal body functions of humans and animals. Drugs are chemical substances that modify the normal physiological functioning of the body or influence the dysfunctional processes that have arisen due to disease or infection. Pharmacology draws upon an understanding of physiology and biochemistry in developing an understanding of the mechanisms of drug actions. This includes the efficacy of drugs, the ability of the body to metabolise them, and the toxicology and side effects of drugs. The design of new drugs draws upon an understanding of chemistry and increasingly an understanding of crystal structures and molecular modelling for rational drug design.
Careers in pharmacology
Graduates with training in pharmacology have the opportunity to pursue a variety of careers. Many will elect for additional post-graduate study and a career as a research pharmacologist or apply for post-graduate medicine courses. Others will apply their knowledge within the pharmaceutical industry, either in regulatory control with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, regulatory compliance in a pharmaceutical company, or as part of a team testing new drugs. This may lead to marketing and managerial positions within the pharmaceutical industry, or clinical trial management. With additional study, pharmacology may be a stepping-stone to careers in medical / scientific communications or journalism, patent law and management of biomedical businesses.