Division of Clinical Pharmacology:
The Division of Clinical Pharmacology was established in 1984 after determination of the need for a program that would improve the teaching of therapeutics to medical students, provide postdoctoral training to residents and fellows, and be a focal point for therapeutics research on campus among the various basic science and clinical departments. The program is independent of other departments and programs on campus. All of the faculty hold primary appointments in clinical and/or basic science departments at the medical center. A close relationship exists between the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and the Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology.
The major research interests include anticancer and antiviral chemotherapy, with emphasis on drugs used in the management of AIDS and related opportunistic infections. The metabolism and biliary excretion of drugs (and metabolites) as well as the mechanisms of drug toxicity are also of interest. The one- to three- year fellowship includes clinical time in the ambulatory and impatient units of the Clinical Research Center, which provide an excellent resource for undertaking clinical protocols with new drugs. The major emphasis throughout the fellowship is basic laboratory research. Course work may be taken in biostatistics, biochemistry, and pharmacology, depending on the individual fellow's interest.
Clinical and Research Facilities
Clinical facilities include the University of Alabama Hospitals, which function as a large referral center for the Southeast, providing more than adequate clinical experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings. The division is an active participant in the clinical research activities of the Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Clinical Virology and Infectious Disease Programs, including the newly formed Center for AIDS Research. The Clinical Research Center, an NIH-supported research unit containing 12 inpatient beds as well as outpatient facilities, provides excellent setting for clinical research studies.
Research facilities in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology include approximately 7,000 square feet of laboratory and office space. The facilities include a laboratory dedicated to therapeutic drug monitoring with analytical equipment, including several HPLC's, GC's, spectrophotometer, and beta and gamma counters. GC-MS facilities are available in an adjacent building. In addition, the Division maintains a computer lab with pharmacokinetic and modeling capabilities. Animal facilities, a cold room, cell culture labs, and several laboratories well-equipped for biochemical studies are also available in the Division's space.
Training Group and Support
As of January 1988 there are three trainees enrolled in the program. The group includes one physician who is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in pharmacology at the same time he is a second year fellow in clinical pharmacology. Funding is currently available for approximately four fellows per year. Stipends vary depending on the individual fellow's background and experience. U.S. residents are encouraged to apply for fellowships from both government (e.g., NIH) and private (e.g., Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association Foundation) sources. Foreign nationals may be eligible for support from exchange fellowships (e.g., Fogarty Fellowships) or private sources (e.g., Merck Company Foundation).
Representative Career Choices
At the present time one fellow has completed the program. It is expected that most of the fellows completing this program will be interested primarily in academic medicine.