Predoctoral Training in the Pharmacological Sciences

2023-2024 trainees

Congratulations to our 2023-2024 Trainees


The mission of the graduate training program in pharmacological sciences, which is supported by a T32 training grant from NIH / National Institute of General Medical Sciences (T32 GM144636), is to emphasize the education of predoctoral students with research interest broadly related to the pharmacological sciences. 


Promote the interdisciplinary training of students as well as research collaborations between students and mentors from the following departments and programs.  

Biochemistry Microbiology
Cancer Biology Molecular Medicine
Cell & Development Biology Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
Chemistry Neuroscience
Genetics Pharmaceutical Sci & Exp Therapeutics
Human Toxicology Neuroscience & Pharmacology (N&P)



Fellowship awards are made on an annual basis.  Students may apply for and be awarded a fellowship for up to two years.  The training grant executive committee solicits new applications and renewal applications each spring for competitive evaluation.  

Student (PhD or MD/PhD) applicant must be working in a laboratory affiliated with one of the departments/programs listed above.

  • PhD Students:  The training grant covers years 2 and 3 of the PhD program.  Therefore, first year graduate students are eligible to apply.
  • MD/PhD Students:  The training grant covers years 1 and 2 of the PhD program.  Therefore, MD/PhD students are eligible to apply before beginning formal graduate training.

Student's thesis proposal should be relevant to the mission and goals which center around training students in a highly interdisciplinary manner broadly related to the Pharmacological Sciences. 

The initial term of the appointment will be for 12 months and under no condition can be less than 9 months.  Reappointment for a second year is contingent on satisfactory academic performance, compliance with the conditions outlined below, and competitive renewal of our training grant.

Terms & Requirements of the Fellowship Award - STUDENT

The fellowship award provides the following:

  • a yearly minimum stipend of $28,224 and a maximum of $34,500, dependent on whether the student is appointed to an NIH or institutional slot, respectively. 
  • a minimum of $7,000 support for tuition and mandatory fee support.
  • approximatley $500 in travel/research support (if on an NIH slot).
  • a yearly allowance of $3,000 for childcare costs (if applicable) 

Coursework Requirements:
All trainees are required to take, or will have taken, the following courses:

  • Principles of Pharmacology (PCOL:5135, 1 sh spring)
  • Either Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics (PCOL:5136, 1 sh spring) or Neurotransmitters (PCOL:5137, 1 sh spring).
  • Advanced Problem Solving in Pharmacological Sciences (PCOL:6250, 1 sh).  Taken each of the first 3 semesters of your appointment on the training grant.  Accepting this offer includes the commitment to take this course 3 semesters even if alternative funding is obtained during this period). 
  • Mastering Reproducible Science (PHAR:6504, 1 sh, offered every spring). Can be taken during your first or second year. Accepting this offer includes the commitment to take this course even if alternative funding is obtained during this period.
  • Basic Biostatistics and Experimental Design (PCOL:5204, 1 sh fall); other graduate-level statistics courses may be substituted if approved.
  • Either one of the following courses, which may be taken in the first or second year of appointment.
    • Science Communication in the Digital Age (RHET:7500, 2 sh spring)
    • Public Speaking for Academic (RHET:7940, 3 sh fall)
    • Writing in the Natural Sciences (BIOL:6188, 2 sh spring)
    • *Writing a Scientific Proposal (IMMU:6241, 1 sh fall)
    • *Crafting a Scientific Proposal (CBIO:7500; 1 sh fall)

*Note: these courses are offered to students from specific programs; enrollment of students from other programs is limited and requires instructor permission.

Other requirements during the period of support are to:

  • attend the Neuroscience & Pharmacology Workshops (PCOL:6080:0002) on Thursdays 12:30-1:30 and, if announced, the Neuroscience & Pharmacology Seminar held on Tuesdays 10:30-11:30 during the academic year (for 2 consecutive years even if alternative funding is obtained during this period).
  • present a 20 minute workshop on your research during the spring semester.
  • attend and present a poster at the Health Sciences Research Day (if held).
  • attend and present a poster and/or short talk at the TG-sponsored annual research retreat (during 2nd year of appointment).
  • pass the comprehensive examination during or after the second year.
  • complete Responsible Conduct of Research training (online CITI and Principles of Scholarly Integrity course).
  • attend two luncheons each summer during which job placement, science ethics, and other issues relevant to students will be discussed.
  • complete the biannual Graduate Student Laboratory Performance Rubric in collaboration with research mentor.

Career Development Opportunities

  • Trainees are given the opportunity to build their teaching portfolio by lecturing in the Drug Use and Abuse (PCOL:2220) undergraduate spring course. Trainees are eligible to apply for the lectureship after they have completed the Principles in Pharmacology (PCOL:5135) and Pharmacogenetics and -genomics (PCOL:5136) or Neurotransmitters (PCOL:5137).  If interested, please contact Kate Dannen (
  • Trainees are given the opportunitity to attend the “Careers in Drug Development” workshop featuring presentations by Adjunct Professor and Pharmacology alumnus, Bryan Cox, as well as other invited leaders in Pharma/Biotech.

Following their time on the training grant and for remainder of the training period at the U of I, trainees are encouraged to attend training grant sponsored events.

Terms & Requirements of the Fellowship Award - FACULTY TRAINERS

Trainers (PhD) mentors of teh supported trinee are active participants in this training grant's activities and are therefore required to:

  • have received Mentor Training (a recent NIGMS mandate). Trainers can receive training through:
  • a two training grant sponsored luncheons each summer while their trainee is supported by the program. 
  • attend the Thursday workshop presentation of their trainee.
  • attend the annual Pharmacological Sciences Training Grant Research Retreat.
  • complete the biannual Graduate Student Laboratory Performance Rubric in collaboration with trainee.
  • present at least one lecture in either the Advanced Problem Solving in Pharmacological Sciences (PCOL:6250) or Mastering Reproducible Science (PHAR:6504) on a topic of choice related to scientific rigor and reproducibility and/or research ethics. Trainers will be contacted by the course directors for scheduling this lecture during the appointment period. Please contact Stefan Strack ( or Dave Roman ( if you have questions.


Applications for the 2024-25 academic year will be available the week of May 1, 2024.  PDF icon Download application.
We anticipate 8 slots will be available.

Applications will be due Friday, May 24, 2024 and new appointees will be appointed July 1 - September 1, 2024.

Questions should be directed to Drs. Stefan Strack, (319) 384-4439,, or Dave Roman, (319) 335-6920,, Training Program Co-Directors, or Linda Buckner (319) 335-7946,