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Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy

East Tennessee State University

Graduate Program

The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences offers a PhD under the umbrella of the BioMedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program ( at ETSU. After completion of the core BMS Courses, students rotate through different laboratories to find the best fit for their interests, while completing coursework tailored to the unique features of their research projects. Along with the lab director, a dissertation committee composed of 3-5 other faculty is formed to assist in the completion of the qualifying examination, the preparation of the dissertation document, and the defense of the thesis. Although a new concentration within the BMS program, Pharmaceutical Sciences already has four outstanding PhD candidates working in our laboratories as detailed below. Three of the students already have publications from their work and all are pioneering a pathway of success for future students to follow. If you are interested in more information, please contact the graduate program at .


Serena Allen

Serena received her B.S. in Pre-medical Biology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2011 where she was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and women's soccer team. She was the recipient of the Provost's Scholarship Program and was named to the Division I NCAA SoCon All-Academic team 2007-2010. Serena also received ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDa All-Academic honors in 2010. Serena received a M.Sc. in Medicinal & Biological Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh in 2013. She was the recipient of the Joseph Black School of Chemistry Tercentenary International Master's Scholarship. While at the University of Edinburgh she worked closely with Dr. Colin Campbell in the Joseph Black School of Chemistry. Her graduate work aimed to study redox chemistry in ophthalmic stem cell transplants. She had the privilege of presenting "Methods to improve the success rate of ophthalmic stem cells transplants" to Dr. Baljean Dhillon and colleagues at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. She is currently working under Dr. Brooks Pond in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences to investigate long-term effects of synthetic cathinones found in 'bath salts' on brain neurochemistry and neurogenesis in rodent models.


Derek E. Murrell

Graduating Summa Cum Laude in fall 2012, Derek received his Bachelor of Arts in biology with a chemistry minor from Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN. After entering the ETSU Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Program in the fall of 2012, Derek began working in the lab of his research advisor, Dr. Sam Harirforoosh, in the department of pharmaceutical sciences at the Gatton College of Pharmacy. Derek's graduate research project will consist of a clinical study examining the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacogenomics of a combinational HIV drug.


Hannah Oakes

Hannah graduated from Northeast State Community College in Spring 2013, where she earned 3 A.S. degrees in 5 concentrations: chemistry, physics, mathematics, pre-engineering, and pre-chemical engineering. She transferred to East Tennessee State University, and as an undergraduate, Hannah completed research that focused on DNA repair under the supervision of Dr. Phil Musich. In Fall 2014, she completed her B.S. degree, double majoring in Biology-biochemistry and Chemistry. In the Spring of 2015, she was accepted into the ETSU Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Program. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in Pharmaceutical Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Brooks B. Pond. Her research focuses on the effects of long-term methylphenidate (Ritalin) use on the central nervous system.

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