Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Toadie

Psychopharmacology

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I've recently discovered the field of psychopharmacology, and it sounds like exactly what I want to do. What I'm wondering is, to study psychopharmacology, would I become a psychiatrist first and then specialize in psychopharmacology, or is there some other educational route that one would take to do this?

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It really depends on what you want to eventually do.

Treat patients, do research or do both?

If you purely want to do research, you certainly don't need to go to medical school.

A few professors in psychology departments focus on pyshcopharmacology research.

Some professors in medicinal chemistry or pharmacology departments focus their research on the design, synthesis and or mechanism of action of mind-altering or behavior-modifying drugs.

You can also find professors in various other departments, such as biochem, biophysics, chemistry, physiology, biology, etc, doing the same type of research.

 

Of course you can go the medical school route as well, but it is not necessary if you just want to do research or if you don't feel a need to directly administer your concoctions to humans yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say that your focus should be on neurobiology. That is the proper path IMO. I'd actually advise against studying to be a psychiatrist, as they are pretty much (very rough simplification follows) therapists who can prescribe meds (whereas a clinical psychologist is a therapist who does not prescribe meds). We used to joke that the first treats the symptoms and the second treats the causes.

 

Like I said, a good area of focus would be neurobiology. You may be able learn more by checking out the web page of the teacher I had for psychopharmacology about a decade ago. He was awesome, and might even be open to questions about how best to get into the field.

 

http://www.utexas.edu/neuroscience/Neurobiology/TimSchallert/index.html

 

 

Good luck. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd actually advise against studying to be a psychiatrist, as they are pretty much (very rough simplification follows) therapists who can prescribe meds (whereas a clinical psychologist is a therapist who does not prescribe meds). We used to joke that the first treats the symptoms and the second treats the causes

 

I disagree about the psychiatry point.

There are plenty of MDs that did psychiatry residencies and are doing fine psychopharmacology research in medical schools and in drug companies.

 

Unlike iNow, I'm completely unbiased, and realize that Medicinal Chemistry (combining pharmacology, drug design and synthesis) is the best path to take. :)

 

Check out Dr Dave's Website at Purdue (you could do worse than do your thesis under him):

http://www.mcmp.purdue.edu/faculty/?uid=drdave

Research: Medicinal and Bioorganic Chemistry

Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology

 

""The general thrust of the work in our laboratory could be characterized as the development of molecular probes to understand the role of brain monoamine neurotransmitters in normal behavior. Although molecular biology has made great strides in providing information about structural and functional aspects of the brain, those studies must be complemented through the use of specifically designed molecules that are directed toward particular biological targets. In an academic sense, such molecules are useful in gaining fundamental information about neuronal function. When one of them has high efficacy and low toxicity, however, it may become a drug candidate.

 

We have a particular focus on brain systems that utilize dopamine or serotonin as the neurotransmitter. In the former case, we are interested in molecular probes that have specificity for only one of the five general types of dopamine receptors (D1 - D5). Our efforts to date have led to several novel series of molecules that are full efficacy agonists at the dopamine D1 receptor subtype. One of these (named Dihydrexidine) showed remarkable efficacy in an animal model of late stage Parkinson's disease. A second-generation compound named dinapsoline has properties similar to dihydrexidine. Dinapsoline now has also shown dramatic efficacy in both rodent and primate models of Parkinson's disease. Recently we have developed yet a third series of related compounds based around a prototype named dinoxyline that is a sort of "universal" dopamine agonist. By appropriate structural modifications, these different templates have led to molecules with specificity for the D2 or D3 dopamine receptor isoforms.

 

We also have a continuing interest in the serotonin 5-HT1A, 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors as likely targets for hallucinogenic/psychedelic substances and atypical antipsychotic drugs, and the possible roles that these receptor systems may play in normal cognitive function. These projects are comprised of systematic structural modification, coupled with pharmacological assay, with a view toward identifying structural determinants of the ligand binding domain in these receptors. One theme of this work has been to identify how molecules from different chemical classes can all be accommodated within the same receptor binding site. More recently we have been studying the second messenger systems that are coupled to the 5-HT2A receptor, and investigating their relative importance in the actions of hallucinogenic drugs. We have also developed a computer-based homology model of several G protein coupled receptors and are attempting to understand the functional elements within the receptor that are key to agonist activation.""

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oyy... that has nothing to do with the OP. I was just offering an inside joke. Good grief.

 

 

My point remains. If you want to study psychopharm, neurobiology or biopsych are the umbrellas under which it most commonly falls.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know.:doh:

And I thought it was funny.

 

But don't you think that Dr Dave's research is cool?

They have "borg rats".

Rats with electrodes sticking out of their heads, which connect to specific neural pathways in their brains, in order measure/monitor the effects of hallucinogens.

And various other animal models, including mazes, to measure the effects of hallucinogens.

 

Interesting side note: the group used to (I'm sure they still do) have "groupies"....people tried to hang out with them in the hopes that they might receive handouts.....


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
Oyy... that has nothing to do with the OP. I was just offering an inside joke. Good grief.

 

Also, I didn't want the young'en to get the wrong impression.

:eyebrow:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have stated, if you simply want to do research medical school is not required.

 

In a very basic, you would get a BS in a basic science, then go to graduate school. While in graduate school you would determine the "angle" you wanted to take on psychopharm (e.g. animals or humans, at the molecular or behavioral level etc.).

 

I got into the field with a background in basic "pharmacology and toxicology", and took on a "behavioral" approach (using in vivo techniques). I have now ended up doing the exact research you are interested in. You may PM me for details.

Edited by badchad
added more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.