McMaster University
What is Pharmacology? Print E-mail

In its very essence pharmacology is the study of drugs. Pharmacologists are interested in the effects drugs have on a range of systems from molecules to cells, organs, individuals, and entire populations of humans and animals.

Pharmacology draws on expertise from many disciplines including chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, and epidemiology. It can be divided into three major areas:

  • Pharmacodynamics: The study of what drugs do to the body
  • Pharmacokinetics: The study of what the body does to drugs
  • Pharmacoepidemiology: The study of drugs in populations

Thus, among many other things, pharmacologists are involved in the discovery and development of new drugs, their testing, marketing, surveillance and regulation, and in providing information about drugs.

Pharmacologists are fascinated by the workings of the human body and strive to understand pathophysiology to its deepest extent. Hence, human physiology (or systems biology) and pharmacology cannot be separated. Pharmacology is also at the forefront of personalized medicine thanks to rapid advancements in Pharmacogenomics.

The BioPharm program is therefore the ideal preparation for admission to professional schools such a Medicine, Nursing or Pharmacy. It is also the ideal preparation for applying for a Master's Degree in any field of medicine or biomedical sciences. Two of the current professors teaching in our program are alumni of our program! And yes, our students often obtain their ideal employment in industry!