PhD Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences

[…ut civitas Perusii sapientia valeat elucere…]

Coordinator: Prof.ssa Oriana Tabarrini

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Deputy Coordinator: Prof.ssa Maria Letizia Barreca

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Board of Professors

Advisory Board 


The PhD program in Pharmaceutical Sciences is part of the efforts that the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences constantly pursues and devotes to promote PhD students. It offers rigorous grounding in a broad range of scientific disciplines related to drug discovery and nutraceuticals, that are critical to shaping successful next-generation.

Talented italian and foreign students are trained in a highly collaborative atmosphere using multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to develop expertise and gain skills that will enable them to excel in later career paths of choice.

The educational path is divided into research activities and advanced theoretical-practical training activities, both focused on themes characterizing the SSD of the College teachers, such as the design and synthesis of biologically active molecules, the identification of new pharmacological targets, the study of new formulations, the development of innovative and sustainable synthetic methods, the study of new analytical, metabolomic and lipidomic procedures, the extraction and characterization of active ingredients of plant origin, the development of special foods and nutraceuticals, which are tackled with an interdisciplinary approach.

Two curricula of choice are currently structured in the program:

  1. EARLY PHASE DRUG DISCOVERY. This curriculum established in the context of the DELPHI project, achieved by the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2018 (Departments of Excellence 2018-2022). This curriculum is addressed to graduates in the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnological and biological areas, with the aim of creating highly qualified research professional profiles, culturally characterized by the multidisciplinary thematic areas of the doctoral course which play a fundamental role in the initial stages of identification and development of potential drugs.
  2. PHARMACEUTICAL TECHNOLOGY AND NUTRACEUTICALS. This curriculum is addressed at graduates in the chemical, pharmaceutical, biological, agri-food and human nutrition areas with the aim of creating highly qualified research professional profiles, culturally connoted with the multidisciplinary topics of the doctoral course, related to technological and formulation developments of drugs and to the nutraceutical-food areas. Particular attention is placed on promoting green economy initiatives, such as the development of research topics focused on the use of vegetable waste materials from the agri-food industry to obtain nutraceutical products that may improve human health.
  •  Referent of the Early Phase Drug Discovery curriculum: Prof. Serena Massari; email: Questo indirizzo email è protetto dagli spambots. È necessario abilitare JavaScript per vederlo.
  • Referent of the Pharmaceutical Technology and Nutraceuticals curriculum: Prof. Elisabetta Albii; email: Questo indirizzo email è protetto dagli spambots. È necessario abilitare JavaScript per vederlo.

The PhD course promotes a higher education activity close to the real needs of pharmaceutical, biotechnological and nutraceutical-food companies. In particular, some agreements are in place with the following companies:

Itel Telecomunicazioni s.r.l., Janssen-Cilag Spa-Cilag Spa, MAGI'S LAB, Sibylla Biotech Spa, ADIENNE Pharma & Biotech SA , Vivatis Pharma Italia Srl and Sterling Spa

The PhD program guarantees and stimulates the growth of doctoral students as members of the scientific community through a close collaboration with international Universities and networks, as follows:


-Paul ErhlichMedChem,

-Universidade Federal de Pelotas - Brasil

Each PhD student carries out research activities under the supervision of one or more tutor at the facilities of the three sections of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (DSF), including the research laboratories and those hosting the instruments of Delphi Star-Lab for learning by doing activities.

The path is supplemented by internships (generally six-monthly) in foreign universities or in companies in the reference sectors, in order to strengthen his/her education and prepare him/her for a vast range of career options.

PhD students employed by companies with active agreements with the DSF can carry out research activities within their own company.

The Academic Board defines the teaching activity plan for each cycle corresponding to 40 credits along the three-year program, of which at least 24 credits of frontal teaching, consisting of theoretical courses or instrumental laboratory courses.

The courses cover topics in scientific disciplinary sectors to which the members of the Academic Board belong, with particular focus on medicinal chemistry, analytical chemistry, pharmaceutical technology, organic and bioorganic chemistry, nutraceuticals, molecular biology, and biochemistry. Relevance will be also given to interactive teaching consisting in group activities coordinated by a tutor.  

  • Ad hoc teaching activities planned by the Academic Board of the Doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences:theoretical courses (1 CFU = 6 hours); instrumental laboratory courses (1 CFU = 8 hours).
  • Other teaching activities: courses organized by other Departments, Universities, Institutes and Research Centers) (1 CFU = 6/8 hours).
  • Courses of the University of Perugia or other institutions to acquire Linguistics, Computer skills and "Soft Skills" in general (1 CFU = 6 hours).
  • PhD students are also invited to participate in:

- National/international congresses and/or workshops, also as speakers, at least one in the three-year period (0.5 CFU per day).

- National and international schools on topics related to the PhD program, at least 2 in the three-year period (1 CFU per day). Suggested International and National Schools

The academic board will evaluate the CFU attribution for attendance in schools not included in the suggested list.

  • Seminars on topics related to the curricula held by high-profile Italian and foreign experts from the academia, research institutions, and companies (each 0.33 CFU).
  • Teaching and tutoring activities: PhD students can carry out limited tutoring and/or integrative teaching activities, consistent with the research project, for students of bachelor's degree courses, single-cycle degree courses and master's degree courses (Max 2 CFU per year).

- Integrative teaching activities (1 CFU = 6 hours)

- Tutoring activities: (1 CFU = 25 hours)

  • Internship abroad: (1 CFU per month)
  • Training moments for the exchange/presentation of research results are envisaged:

- At the end of the first and second year, the PhD student presents a written report in English on the research activities carried out. The report is examined and evaluated by a commission made up of members belonging to the Academic Board which evaluates the ability to develop and illustrate the research project and eventually suggests revisions;

- At the end of the first year (between December-January), each PhD student gives a seminar on the preliminary results;

- At the end of the second year (around February), each PhD student presents a monographic thematic seminar on topics related to her/ his curricular path.  

PhD Seminars

The PhD student is required to present the list of training and research activities carried out annually by filling in the appropriate form (PhD card)

  • The PhD students may spend periods of study and research at qualified national or foreign universities, public or private research institutions and companies. Ordinarily a foreign mobility period of 6 months, even non-continuous, is expected.

Each month in foreign country = 1 CFU

PhDs in Pharmaceutical Sciences will be able to find employment opportunities in one of the following sectors: 1) Manufacturing companies and/or companies with research and development activities that have interests in national/international markets in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, nutraceutical and food sectors, flavors and fragrances, food additives, pesticides, biotechnological processes. 2) Commercial companies of pharmaceutical, herbal and nutraceutical products. 3) Universities and public and private research institutions involved in national and international research and development projects in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical-food sectors. 4) Institutes of Higher Education for the teaching profession and cultural education in the broadest sense. 


Università degli Studi di Perugia - Facilities