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Pharmacology at Yale University has a rich history of achievement and a strong tradition of scholarship. Yale was the site of the first studies and trials of anticancer chemotherapy. The modern era of cancer chemotherapy began when Alfred Gilman and Louis Goodman studied the effects of nitrogen mustard on transplanted lymphosarcoma in mice and then initiated clinical trials in 1942 (Gilman, A. Am. J. Surg. 105: 574-578, 1963). In 1953, Arnold Welch arrived at Yale to chair the Department of Pharmacology. He hired an exceptional group of young biochemists, eager to apply their knowledge to Pharmacology. These included Bill Prusoff, father of antiviral pharmacology, future Nobel Laureate John Vane, Jack Cooper, future chairmen Alan Sartorelli, and Robert Handschumacher (Welch, A. Ann. Rev. Pharmacol. Toxicol. 25: 1-26, 1985). Welch left in 1967 and Murdoch Ritchie was recruited to chair the department. Ritchie, in turn, recruited Bill Douglas and another future Nobel Laureate Paul Greengard. Following Sartorelli’s tenure as chair, the department was led by John Perkins and then Leonard Kaczmarek. In 2001, the school of Medicine recruited Joseph Schlessinger from the Skirball Institute at NYU as the William H. Prusoff Professor and Chair of Pharmacology, and in the process, initiated an extensive expansion and renovation of the department’s laboratories and offices. The department has maintained its position of pre-eminence through to the present day with the recruitment and development of scientists with international reputations.

The Department of Pharmacology at Yale has historically had strong interests in neuropharmacology and chemotherapy, but the present research interests of the department emphasize other areas as well. The current research programs in the department include areas of neuroscience, drug development, signaling and structural biology.


Yale University is situated in New Haven, a small (pop. ~120,000) historic New England city located directly on Long Island Sound. New Haven has an active cultural life, especially noteworthy for music, theater, and outstanding restaurants. Some of the events that take place include the yearly International Festival of Arts & Ideas, summer concerts on the New Haven Green, theatrical performances, and museum exhibitions, among others. The Connecticut shoreline provides a wide range of year-round outdoor recreational opportunities in a beautiful New England setting. New Haven is also home to East Rock Park where visitors can enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, picnicking, bicycling, boating, bird-watching, and dog-walking. From the summit of East Rock Park one can catch a view of downtown New Haven and surrounding towns, and behold the colorful firework displays on the 4th of July. Restaurants and bars in New Haven provide for an exciting night on the town. The local restaurants make up a wide spectrum of international cuisines, with menus ranging from “New Haven style” brick oven pizza and gourmet burgers to more upscale selections. Yale’s own Gryphon’s Pub (GPSCY) is popular among grad and professional students for its karaoke and trivia nights, affordable drinks, and their annual Halloween party.

While there are many local attractions, New Haven is also conveniently located midway between New York City and Boston, both being a train ride away. If you are traveling farther away, Bradley International Airport is located 50 miles from New Haven.