PHTS Umbrella

PPSI PhD Umbrella infograph

The umbrella structure allows students to attend courses and seminars together, and rotate through laboratories across programs during their first year. This fosters interdisciplinary crosstalk among students and faculty, helping students find an ideal laboratory and faculty mentor as well as a specialized track of study they want to pursue. Upon successful completion of training, students will be conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in one of the following areas of study:

The MPTX track provides training in molecular mechanisms of disease as well as disease and drug interaction. Coursework emphasizes cell biology and molecular pharmacology. Research areas are laboratory-based and include molecular and neuro-pharmacology, receptor pharmacology, cancer biology and pharmacology, metabolism and biochemistry, and oxidant toxicology.

The PSCI track provides training that emphasizes basic as well as applied research through advanced coursework in contemporary pharmaceutical sciences. Independent laboratory research areas include drug design, development, targeting and delivery; medicinal chemistry; computational chemistry; pharmaceutics; pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics; immunology; and molecular and cell biology.

The CXPT track provides cross-training between clinical and basic sciences—focusing on the investigation of disease processes, drug development, and the efficacy and toxicity of therapeutic regimens. Course requirements and research opportunities offer both experimental (basic) and disease-focused experiences. The emphasis in this track is clinical translational, using molecular and translational science techniques to address clinically relevant research questions.

Letisha R. Wyatt

Why USC?

“There is something about the culture of the School of Pharmacy at USC that motivates people to strike out and be creative in how things get done. Since graduating I’ve been a postdoctoral researcher contributing new and exciting lines of study to an existing research program, I’ve provided research support in fields outside of my primary training (e.g., cancer therapy and early detection), to now serving in leadership roles focused on enhancing institutional equity in graduate programs and training the next generation of scientists.”

Letisha R. Wyatt

PhD, Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology ’13

Assistant Professor of Neurology at Oregon Health and Science University
Amy Tran-Guzman

Why was USC a good fit for you?

“USC was a good fit for me because it had provided me with opportunities to develop necessary scientific skills and grow a professional network for a postgrad career in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Amy Tran-Guzman

MS, Regulatory Science ’17, PhD, Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology ’22

Scientist at Bristol Myers Squibb
Timothy Bensman

Why was this program attractive to you?

“I chose the Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics program because it afforded me a foot in the biomedical research doors of both clinical and foundational science. It’s truly translational in that it involves going to the clinic and then pursuing solutions in the lab.”

Timothy Bensman

PharmD ’11, PhD Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics ’16

Anh Truong

What inspired you to pursue a PharmD/PhD at USC?

“I only applied to pharmacy schools that advertised a dual degree program; plus USC is the number-one private pharmacy school in the country. While it was a struggle to take PharmD and PhD classes at the same time, the School’s dual degree program allowed me to complete my clinical and research training two years faster than if I had pursued the degrees separately.”

Anh Truong

PharmD ’17, PhD Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology ’21

Field Application Scientist at Agilent Technologies
Hugo Avila

Why did you choose the USC School of Pharmacy?

“One of the appealing factors that sold me was the famous USC alumni network, the focus on translational science at various levels, and the option to earn a masters in either regulatory science or drug development. Taken together I believe they contribute to making me more competitive in the job market after my PhD.”

Hugo Avila

PhD, Pharmaceutical and Translational Sciences ’21

Advisor, Eli Lilly and Company
Zhefu (Jeff) Dai

What is your advice to new or prospective students?

“The Pharmaceutical & Translational Sciences (PHTS) Program offers students a broad range of research labs. The school is constantly expanding its research capability in both personnel and hardware. If you intend to join the field of pharmaceutical and translational research, this is the program you will love.”

Zhefu (Jeff) Dai

PhD, Pharmaceutical Sciences ’21

Scientist at IGM Biosciences, Inc.
Ashutosh (Ash) Kulkarni

What was your experience like at USC?

“Overall, my experience at USC was excellent and it really did set me up for my career. The alumni connection was strong which helped my transition to the industry a smooth one. The ‘Trojan family’ is really a great one and I see that whenever I visit USC as an adjunct faculty or when I attend USC receptions at conferences or when I get in touch with faculty at USC who are always willing to listen and are always looking to get the alumni involved in bettering the various programs at the School of Pharmacy.”

Ashutosh (Ash) Kulkarni

PhD Pharmaceutical and Translational Sciences ’04

Head of Clinical Pharmacology and DMPK at Stealth Biotech Startup
Alicia Warnecke

Why did you choose USC School of Pharmacy?

“I chose the USC School of Pharmacy because the program is geared towards developing researchers who are prepared for highly competitive industry spots after graduation. PhD students are also eligible to enroll in a regulatory science masters degree program to compliment their research and coursework. This program is part of what helps PhD graduates from the USC School of Pharmacy to successfully move into industry positions.”

Alicia Warnecke

PhD, Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics ’20

Clinical Project Manager at IQVIA