UCSC Review Summer 1996
Program launched in pharmacology and toxicology
Finding and testing safe and effective new drugs, pesticides, and other useful chemicals is a tricky business. Designing them from scratch is even harder. In the face of ongoing battles against deadly viruses, cancer, agricultural pests, and a legion of threats to our environment, the demand has never been greater for skilled scientists who can evaluate new compounds and help bring them to market.
That's why UCSC has created a program in pharmacology and toxicology for undergraduate students. A formal sequence of lectures for juniors and seniors, the program will give students the tools they need to compete successfully for jobs in the burgeoning pharmaceutical and toxicological industries.
The program is a "pathway," or concentration, within a rigorous undergraduate major in biochemistry and molecular biology. Ultimately, planners hope to add a concurrent series of laboratory classes and to make the pathway a major leading to a bachelor's degree.
"Our students have been really motivated and excited by this subject matter, because it's so applicable to their everyday lives," says Ronald Tjeerdema, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. "This isn't just theoretical chemistry, this is real stuff--drugs and their effects on our bodies, chemicals and their effects on the environment."
Codirectors Tjeerdema and Dr. Morris Barenfus, the campus veterinarian, have consulted with leaders in pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries on the program's development. Members of an advisory board include Bradford Baer of BioDirections, Menlo Park (Kresge '75); Gary Novack of Pharma Logic, San Rafael (Kresge '73); Gordon Ringold of Affymax Research Institute, Palo Alto (Crown '72); and John Stephenson of Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Santa Cruz.