Pharmacologists are scientists who study and report on the ways medicines and drugs interact with humans and animals at all levels, from cells and tissues to organ systems and the entire body. They also help pharmaceutical companies to establish parameters for effectiveness and safety in dosages for clinical trials and consumer markets alike, as well as discover side effects that can include both harmful reactions and ancillary benefits to drugs. Some pharmacologists also work in toxicology fields to help companies establish the safe handling, labeling, and material safety of the substances they manufacture.
Most pharmacology work is done in a laboratory setting, as pharmacologists examine tissue and cell samples from test subjects to determine how natural body systems may react to different medications, foreign substances, and - particularly for pharmacologists in toxicology - poisons. Pharmacologists carefully log all data related to their examinations and search for both minute details that provide clues at the smallest levels, and macro-data and trend lines at higher levels. In doing so, they can provide valuable information for dosages and offer professionals clues for early warning signs of adverse reactions to various medical treatments. Those who work in the toxicology field can also provide information regarding treatment and safe storage of chemical substances and details of negative/adverse reactions to skin and aerosol exposure, as well.
Most pharmacologists specialize in a discipline related to chemical biology, and a graduate degree in the field and experience working in pharmacological teams are generally required to work for a chemical or pharmaceutical company. Most pharmacologists work in a laboratory environment during regular business hours.
Identify, develop, test and optimize drugs and their manufacturing methods and techniques.
Design and conduct experiments and trials to test hypotheses.
Provide expert input about clinical research and pharmacology data.
Document and reproduce results, calling out key variables and equipment needs.