The Department of Pharmacology at Yale University offers a unique environment to study the structure and function of important biological molecules in a highly collaborative environment. The tools of the structural biologist are essential to understand how the molecular machinery of the cell. At the Department of Pharmacology at Yale we use these tools (X-ray crystallography, NMR and Electron Microscopy) to understand how these molecular machines work, how they become dysfunctional in disease, and how to design drugs that alleviate human suffering. The use of these tools is both exciting and rewarding; the structural biologist has always been the first person to see what any protein looks like at the molecular level. These techniques drive the understanding of macromolecular function at the atomic-level.
The department has a large structural biology faculty with interests as broad as investigating the mechanisms of intramembrane proteolysis, understanding the regulation of signal transduction by tyrosine kinases and adhesion receptors, and investigating the mechanisms of chemokine signaling. These interests are directly relevant to diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders and Alzheimer’s. Collaborations between structural and non-structural groups are encouraged, and there are many exciting inter-disciplinary studies ongoing. The department offers a unique collaborative environment to use these tools, and a critical mass of structural biologists to provide a detailed “Structural Pharmacology” program to prospective graduate students.