Skip Over Navigation Links

Other topics

Science Education: Pharmacology

MedicinesUnderstanding 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 developments, and read profiles of researchers working in this field.


Cover image of Medicines by DesignMedicines By Design
Discusses the many different ways medicines work in the body and how this information guides the hunt for drugs of the future.

Cover image of Medicines for YouMedicines for You: Studying How Your Genes Can Make a Difference
Describes research on personalized medicines and why it's important.

All booklets

Fact Sheet

Pharmacogenomics, a component of precision medicine, is focused on how genes affect individual responses to medications. Learn more about this field and how it could help doctors pick the right treatment option for each patient.

All fact sheets

Science Highlights

Pain responses the prefrontal cortex Taking the Guesswork Out of Pain Management
Researchers are using a tool called functional near-infrared spectroscopy to objectively measure pain.

Kevin Tracey. Credit: North Shore-LIJ Studios. Interview With a Scientist: Namandjé Bumpus, Drug Metabolism Maven
In a video interview, Namandjé Bumpus discusses her research into genetic variants of liver enzymes that affect how people metabolize HIV drugs.

Image of Mitochondria. Credit: Thomas Deerinck, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research. Demystifying General Anesthetics
Doctors have called general anesthetics a “modern mystery” because they didn’t know exactly how the drugs produced the different states of general anesthesia, such as unconsciousness and immobility. Find out why anesthetics have been challenging to study and what scientists are learning about them.

More science highlights

Profiles: Meet a Scientist

Julie JohnsonThe Right Fit
Clinical pharmacist Julie Johnson researches how genes affect the body's response to medicines.

Lola Eniola-AdefesoSpecial Delivery
Chemical engineer "Lola" Eniola-Adefeso studies methods to improve the delivery of heart disease drugs.

Serrine LauChemical World
Toxicologist Serrine Lau studies the role of genes in the body's response to chemical exposure.

More profiles

Audio and Video

Chelsea MoralesStudent Chelsea Morales on Her Career Path Link to external Website
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.

Erica WoodahlDr. Erica Woodahl on the Promise of Personalized Medicine Link to external Website
Erica Woodahl shares how research in pharmacogenetics can improve human health and address health disparities—especially those related to cancer—in tribal peoples.

Julie JohnsonDr. Julie Johnson on Pharmacogenomics
Julie Johnson discusses how genes affect the way people respond to medicines, specifically those that treat high blood pressure.

More audio and video


Ecteinascidin 743Anti-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 honeycombAntibodies in Silica Honeycomb
Antibodies are among the most promising therapies for certain forms of cancer, but patients must take them intravenously.

Dose Response CurvesDose-Response Curves
Dose-response curves determine how much of a drug (X-axis) causes a particular effect, or a side effect, in the body (Y-axis).

More images


Medicines By Design CrosswordMedicines By Design Crossword Puzzle | Accessible Version

Other topics

All quizzes and puzzles

This page last reviewed on November 7, 2017