Science Education: Pharmacology
Understanding how medicines work in the body and finding ways to make them to work better—that's pharmacology. Studies in pharmacology focus on questions like:
- How are medicines processed inside the body?
- How does a person's genetic makeup influence a drug's effectiveness?
- Can we find new uses for existing medicines?
Follow the links below to learn more about pharmacology, including recent discoveries, and read profiles of researchers working in this field.
Medicines By Design
Discusses the many different ways medicines work in the body and how this information guides the hunt for drugs of the future.
Medicines for You: Studying How Your Genes Can Make a Difference
Describes research on personalized medicines and why it's important.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pharmacogenomics
Pharmacogenomics is focused on how genes affect individual responses to medicines. Learn more about this field and how it could help doctors pick the right treatment option for each patient.
How Medicines Work
We're developing a better understanding of drugs and how the body responds to them. Read how this knowledge is helping us improve the way medicines work.
Epilepsy Drug Improves Health in Animal Model of Obesity
A commonly prescribed epilepsy drug reduced fat accumulation in the liver and lowered elevated blood sugar levels like those associated with type 2 diabetes.
Targeting Toxic RNA Molecules in Muscular Dystrophy
The detailed, three-dimensional structure of the RNA defect in myotonic dystrophy type 2 enabled the design of small molecules that counteracted the disease in a cellular model.
Gut Microbes Can Inactivate Cardiac Drugs
The heart drug digoxin turns on two genes in a gut microbe that help the organism convert the drug into its inactive form, thereby making the medicine less effective.
An Experimental Contact Lens to Prevent Glaucoma-Induced Blindness
A specially designed contact lens that can release a glaucoma medicine at a steady rate for up to a month offers numerous potential clinical advantages over the standard eyesight-saving treatment.
Using Genes to Guide Prescriptions
Scientists in a research field called pharmacogenomics aim to understand how genes influence individual drug responses. Here are examples of their findings related to different medical conditions.
Aspirin to Zoloft: Ways Medicines Work
Details about protein structure and function shed light on how some common medicines work.
The Right Fit
Clinical pharmacist Julie Johnson researches how genes affect the body's response to medicines.
Chemical engineer "Lola" Eniola-Adefeso studies methods to improve the delivery of heart disease drugs.
Toxicologist Serrine Lau studies the role of genes in the body's response to chemical exposure.
Student Chelsea Morales on her career path
Chelsea Morales, a graduate student and member of the White Clay (Gros-Ventre) Nation, talks about how she hopes her research in pharmacogenomics will help Native American peoples.
Dr. Erica Woodahl on the promise of personalized medicine
Erica Woodahl shares how research in pharmacogenetics can improve human health and address health disparities—especially those related to cancer—in tribal peoples.
Dr. Rochelle Long on Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine
NIGMS' Rochelle Long talks about pharmacogenomics and personalized medicines.
Anti-Tumor Drug Ecteinascidin 743 (ET-743)
Ecteinascidin 743 (ET-743, brand name Yondelis) was discovered and isolated from a sea squirt, Ecteinascidia turbinata.
Antibodies in Silica Honeycomb
Antibodies are among the most promising therapies for certain forms of cancer, but patients must take them intravenously.
Dose-response curves determine how much of a drug (X-axis) causes a particular effect, or a side effect, in the body (Y-axis).