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Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Revision date(s)

July 22, 2022

Graduate Council Approval

November 17, 2022

Article I. Objective

A. Degree(s) offered by the program


B. Discipline: a brief statement on the discipline(s) of the program

The Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics (PSPG) Graduate Program is a unique, dynamic, contemporary program in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics at the University of California San Francisco that attracts diverse faculty and students who share a common interest in applying basic sciences to challenging research topics in drug development and precision drug therapy. The graduate program reflects exciting scientific developments in the area of genomics, quantitative and systems pharmacology, therapeutics and computation that have far-reaching implications to the pharmaceutical and pharmacological sciences.

C. Mission of the program

The goal of the PSPG graduate program is to educate and train PhD students to conceptualize, design and execute innovative scientific research in the interdisciplinary scientific areas encompassed by modern pharmaceutical sciences. This multidisciplinary and unique graduate program has a dual focus:

  1. pharmaceutical sciences and drug development, including molecular and systems pharmacology, drug delivery and therapeutic bioengineering, gene therapy and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics and modeling; and
  2. pharmacogenomics, the application of genetics and genomics for the development of novel therapeutics and the optimal use of drugs in individual patients for precision medicine.

The training program includes a series of core courses providing an in-depth understanding of the principles of pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics. Core courses are complemented by electives covering advanced drug delivery and pharmacokinetic principles, advanced topics in pharmacology, principles of genetics and cell biology, bioinformatics, tissue and organ biology, CRISPR therapeutics and computer programming. Students also participate in laboratory rotations that expose them to the diversity of potential projects available for their dissertation research and a university-wide course on responsible conduct of research. The program immerses trainees in the culture of science through a journal club with students across four basic science graduate programs that are focused on quantitative approaches to studying biology, a seminar program which brings in leading academic, regulatory and industrial scientists, student research presentations, and an annual retreat. Underrepresented minority students are actively recruited through a number of faculty activities. Upon graduation, the new PSPG PhD scientist will have the ethics, knowledge and tools necessary to become independent researchers, and also the passion and enthusiasm to make impactful contributions to the pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics field throughout their career.

Article II. Membership

A. Criteria for membership in the graduate program

Authority to define criteria for faculty membership in the various graduate groups is delegated to the executive committees of these graduate groups, including criteria for inclusion, exclusion, and removal, unless otherwise specified. Further, authority is also delegated to graduate group executive committees to propose and administer bylaws governing faculty participation and conduct. Membership is independent and separate from academic department appointments. Membership is based upon disciplinary expertise and active research, so members throughout campus are eligible for consideration to membership in the group

B. Voting rights

Graduate program matters will be determined by a vote of the Executive Committee members. All members of the Executive Committee will have an equal vote.

C. Application for membership

1. How faculty may apply

To become a member of the PSPG Program, faculty must formally apply to the program by emailing the program directors, and have their application approved by the PSPG Executive Committee. Membership in the PSPG training program is considered a privilege and a responsibility. Faculty should submit their CVs and a short write-up elaborating how they will be active participants within the program (See anticipated contributions below).

2. Anticipated contributions that graduate faculty members will perform as a member.

  1. Faculty in the PSPG program are expected to demonstrate their commitment to the training program by regularly participating in program activities. These may include teaching in courses; presenting or serving as a coach for the journal club series; serving as an academic advisor; serving on thesis and qualifying examination committees; outreach and other activities that promote diversity and inclusivity in the PSPG program; participating in recruitment and interviews; regular attendance at program events; and PSPG program committee service.
  2. Mentoring and teaching in the lab: Program faculty are expected to maintain a productive and inclusive training environment for thesis students. Relevant measures may include evidence that the laboratory environment is welcoming to and supportive of trainees from all backgrounds; that lab students produce rigorous and reproducible publishable research; that research is conducted in the spirit of open science including depositing work on preprint servers and publishing in open-source journals, when appropriate; that lab students complete their degrees in a timely manner; and that students successfully transition into careers in the scientific workforce.
  3. Participation in faculty mentor development activities: Program faculty must participate in the Thesis Mentor Development Program. Specifically, each faculty member with a PSPG student in their lab must complete the DEI Champion’s Training within 1 year of accepting a student into their lab and take part in at least one mentorship development activity of their choosing within 1 year of accepting a student into their lab and each successive year. Both faculty and students are required to sign the DEI statement upon entrance to the PSPG program. Typically, an “activity” will be a University-sponsored training, such as the courses offered by the Graduate Division (Graduate Faculty Development Program Trainings). However, the development of strong mentorship skills is an ongoing process that extends beyond any single course, and faculty are encouraged to seek mentorship development opportunities in many different ways. Faculty who undertake significant activities outside of the University-sponsored training may petition the program to allow these activities to satisfy the mentor development activity requirement in a given year.
  4. Compliance with University policies and Program values: Program faculty are expected to comply with all university policies and uphold the values of the training program, including but not limited to the University Code of Conduct (APM-016) (PDF, 7 pages, 182 KB); UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment; the UC Policy on Discrimination, and the Harassment, and Affirmative Action in the Workplace; scientific misconduct and/or financial improprieties.

D. Emeritus status

Emeritus faculty with active research programs may remain members of the program and are afforded the following rights: they may attend and participate in program activities (including meetings and administrative committees), may teach graduate courses, and may serve on student committees. Emeritus faculty on the Executive Committee may vote on policy and bylaw issues related to the program. They cannot mentor new students.

E. Review of membership

The criteria for reviewing members of the program is the same for all members. Each faculty member’s contributions to the program shall be reviewed at least once every two years for the purpose of identifying faculty members who are not providing a minimal level of service to the program.

1. Obtaining relevant information

To ensure compliance with these requirements the Program Director(s) and Executive Committee need to have the relevant information about faculty conduct. While information about faculty participation in program events and training is readily attainable, information about other types of violations may be difficult to obtain if, for example, the University is not forthcoming with information about faculty violations of university policies, or an individual who experiences a hostile interaction in the workplace does not report it. Thus, considering the different types and sources of information that are needed, the PSPG Program proactively seeks to track compliance with these requirements in multiple ways, as described below.

2. Violations of program expectations for faculty conduct

The Graduate Program Directors, Executive Committee, and Program Coordinators are in frequent communication with trainees, faculty, the Graduate Division, and the University administration to monitor for compliance with all membership policy requirements. This can include reports from the Bias Response Team (once it has been established) or other communications from the Graduate Division, and communications from the University administration about faculty violations of the University Code of Conduct. The Executive Committee will promptly revoke program membership at any time upon learning about faculty conduct detrimental to the program or the safety and welfare of its members. Examples of evidence of this type of detrimental conduct include (but are not limited to), official findings by the University that a faculty member has violated Title VII or IX, or legal determinations of guilt (including settlements out of court) that may not have resulted in a University sanction.

In addition, faculty may also be put on suspension or removed from the program for conduct that has not resulted in a University or legal sanction but nonetheless has been determined by the Executive Committee to be detrimental to the program or the safety and welfare of its members. This may include serious or sustained actions that create a hostile work environment such as a pattern of racist, sexist, or homophobic remarks or behavior, or a significant lack of professionalism or integrity. Indeed, the PSPG program expects all of its faculty members to represent and uphold UCSF values of Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Diversity and Excellence.

The Executive Committee will develop a course of action on a case-by-case basis. For example, faculty who are found to have violated Title VII or IX will be removed from the program immediately and are generally not eligible to reapply whereas the plan of action to address less severe violations may include interventions by program leadership, mediation, additional training, etc. before a decision to suspend or remove a faculty member from the program is reached. In any of these cases, the program may seek guidance from University offices and resources, such as the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of the Ombuds, and the Graduate Division.

F. Membership appeal process

If membership is denied or not renewed, faculty can appeal to the Executive Committee for reconsideration.

Article III. Administration

The administration of the program and its activities will be vested in the Program Director(s) and an Executive Committee.

Article IV. Graduate Program Director

A. Director and Co-director appointment process

The graduate program director or co-directors will be nominated in consultation with the Executive Committee and approved by a 2/3 vote of the Executive Committee provided that a quorum is present. Active participation in mentoring, teaching and service will be major considerations in nominating and appointing the director/co-directors.

B. Director and Co-director terms of service

The Director and Co-director commit to serving for at least three years unless extenuating circumstances call for a shorter term.

C. Duties of the Co-directors

The PSPG program currently uses the Co-Director mechanism. Both Co-Directors share the following responsibilities: a) provides overall academic leadership for the program; b) develops and implements policies for the program; c) represents the interests of the program to the campus and University administrators; d) calls and presides at meetings of the Executive Committee; e) calls and presides at meetings of the program; f) is responsible for coordinating all administrative matters with the Graduate Division and the program managers; g) manages the budgets of the program; h) takes responsibility for the submission of competitive and non-competitive renewals of the training grant, if applicable (and is often the Lead PI of the training grant); i) submits course change or approval forms; and j) is responsible for the accuracy of all publications related to the program including web pages and catalog copy.

Co-Directors also mutually agree to divide certain leadership tasks, including:

  • Student progress and well-being
  • Faculty membership review
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Retreats
  • Seminars
  • Program funding/Philanthropy
  • Broad outreach including social media
  • Student awards
  • Admissions and recruitment
  • Curriculum

Article V. Committees

A. Executive Committee

The Executive Committee shall consist of the director (and co-director, if applicable) of the program plus at least six faculty selected from the membership, and one student who has advanced to candidacy. The student member is nominated by the students and selected by the Executive Committee. All members have voting rights, including the student representative, unless the student does not participate in the discussion due to the nature of the item (see below). The faculty members of the Executive Committee shall be elected for a three-year term, which is renewable.

Election of faculty members to the Executive Committee: All PSPG program faculty will be notified of openings on the Executive Committee and can submit nominations and self-nominations by e-mail to the Program Director or Co-Director, or the Program Manager. Elections shall be conducted by a vote of the Executive Committee.

The principal duties of the Executive Committee shall be to determine and implement policy for the good of the program, determine program membership, and to represent the interests of the program generally to various universities and other agencies.

Any Executive Committee member may rule that an item of business is inappropriate for discussion in the presence of the student representative. That item of business will then be discussed in the absence of the student member of the Committee. More generally, the chair of any committee with a student member must excuse the student representatives from meetings during discussion about personnel actions or disciplinary issues relating to faculty, during rankings of existing students for funding, during discussions of student welfare issues, and for disciplinary issues related to students.

The Executive Committee shall meet at least three times a year. Additional meetings and executive sessions may be held as deemed necessary, or upon petition by five members of the program. In some cases, decisions can be made by email without calling a meeting of the committee members.

B. Admissions Committee

The Admissions Committee shall consist of at least six faculty members in the program, and one student. The committee members will review and rank the written applications to select applicants for an interview and will assess interview evaluations to select applicants for admission. In addition, two students who are not a part of the committee will provide a summary of the student impressions (positive or negative) about specific applicants. Faculty and student members will serve for one-year renewable terms, for up to four years.

C. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee

The DEI Committee shall consist of at least four faculty members and at least four PSPG students. The goals of this committee are to combat intolerance and implicit bias to create a more equitable, inclusive and supportive environment for graduate students. Students and faculty members spearhead two task forces: 1) Admissions and Outreach, which focuses on outreach to community colleges, HBCUs, etc., to recruit a diverse group of graduate students; and 2) Transparency and Community Building, which focuses on inclusivity training and accountability within the PSPG community and raising awareness of structural racism by organizing events such as DEI-focused panel discussions and Juneteenth celebrations.

D. Curriculum Committee

The Curriculum Committee shall consist of at least two faculty members of the Group and at least two student representatives. The function of this committee shall include consideration of course offerings, review of course evaluations, and recommendations regarding teaching assignments. The faculty members of the Committee will serve for a three-year term that is renewable.

E. Seminar Committee

The Seminar Committee shall consist of three faculty and one student. The committee requests seminar speaker recommendations from PSPG faculty and students annually, then meets to confirm invites. With a focus on diversity and inclusion we encourage nominations of scientists historically marginalized and/or under-represented.

Article VI. Student Representatives

Student representatives are self-nominated or nominated by the students, typically in response to a Committee Service Announcement sent out by email. The nominees submit a short description of their interest in the position and particular qualifications, if applicable. The Program Director or Committee Chair will select the student representative from the list of nominees. The term of service and voting rights of the student representative will be determined by the Chair of the committee.

Article VII. Graduate Advisers

Each year, PSPG assigns advisors for the incoming class. MSTP students joining will keep their MSTP advisors. Students must meet with their assigned Graduate Advisor quarterly during Year One, and at least twice during Year Two. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss the student’s coursework, lab rotations, and general academic progression. The Graduate Advisor is someone who will be outside of rotation or thesis lab choices, and thus a neutral person to confide in and discuss issues that may be uncomfortable to discuss with a rotation or thesis PI. The advisor can be an important ally during the student’s time in the program in case of conflicts with faculty, postdocs or other students. Advisors will focus on career advice rather than scientific advice, so students may be paired with advisors outside of their field of interest.

Article VIII. Meetings

The PSPG Program will have at least one annual meeting with the Program Director (and Co-director, if applicable) and the students, typically at the PSPG220. At this meeting, the Program Directors will summarize recent programmatic changes and updates and will open the floor for input from the students. Suggestions from this meeting will be taken into consideration by the Program Directors as they set policy for the coming year and will be discussed with the Executive Committee, as appropriate. The PSPG program also has an annual retreat that included faculty-student research talks, faculty-student team building events.

Article IX. Quorum

All issues that require a vote must be:

  • Voted on by at least 50% of the Executive Committee Membership
  • On graduate program matters other than amendment/revision of bylaws, passage requires a supporting vote by at least 50% of the members voting.
  • On amendments and revision of bylaws: passage requires a supporting vote by at least two thirds of the members voting.

If balloting is conducted via e-mail or web-based technology, 10 days must be provided for expression of opinions about the proposal prior to the acceptance of votes; the program must allow 14 days for votes to be returned or before the "polls are closed."

Article X. Order of Business for Meetings

The PSPG Program does not have a set order of meetings.

Article XI. Amendments

Amendments to these bylaws may be made in accordance with program’s quorum policy in Article IX. Program members may propose amendments by petition to the program Chair. The program Chair, or relevant program committee, may ask for revisions from the faculty who submitted proposed amendments before forwarding the revisions to the membership for review and voting. Quorum, voting and passage is prescribed in Article IX. All amendments and revisions must be submitted to the Graduate Council for review and approval; changes in the bylaws will become effective upon approval by the Graduate Council.