MSc in Pharmacology - modules

  • Drug Discovery -The aim of the module is to provide an overview of the drug discovery process from target to market. This module includes an overview of the pharmaceutical industry, an introduction to receptors and drug action, biological evaluation of new compounds, drugs from nature, medicinal natural products - a biosynthetic approach,; lead discovery and lead optimization, combinatorial chemistry and high throughput synthesis, drug chirality and its pharmacological consequences, prodrugs, absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination and clearance, the role of toxicology in drug development, drug design and physicochemical properties, drug development, clinical trials, future trends and case studies in drug design and drug discovery.
  • Physiological Pharmacology - This module covers the basic physiology of neuromuscular junction, ANS and CNS synapses, the basis of neurotransmitter release and action potentials. Other topics include ligand-gated ion channels, pharmacological techniques and basic pharmacodynamics. This module aims to provide a basis for understanding the modules that follow below.
  • Systems Pharmacology 1Basic and Autonomic Pharmacology - The aim of this module is to provide a description of receptor theory, second messenger and G-protein action, and to describe the pharmacology of the autonomic nervous system, the core of any pharmacological understanding of ligand-receptor interactions.
  • Systems Pharmacology 2 Neuropharmacology - This module covers more advanced topics such as glutamate and GABA receptor pharmacology, central neurotransmission, and expands the material covered into areas of CNS function and dysfunction including, for example, the molecular pharmacology of memory formation, anxiety and depression.
  • Advanced Pharmacology - This module aims to present cutting edge topics, including, cannabinoid receptor pharmacology, further molecular aspects of memory formation at CNS synapses, and advanced aspects of GABA function. Material is presented by active researchers, in 2-hour seminars.
  • Research Methods 1: Professional Development - The professional skills taught in this module will equip students with a range of professional skills for academia and the biotechnology sector whilst familiarising you with professional issues such as research funding and ethical codes for guiding ‘best practice’ in research.
  • Research Methods 2: Communication Skills - This module includes the following - critical analysis of published work, reviewing papers; writing abstracts, writing research papers, preparing poster presentations and oral presentation skills. 
  • Research Project - The research project involves experiential learning with the completion of a comprehensive literature review appropriate to the project. This involves the preparation of a detailed project plan including resourcing and costing of materials and appreciation of experimental design, power calculations where appropriate for study design, ethical and logistic considerations. In addition, an individual research project that includes practical work that involves data production, processing and analysis. The preparation of a detailed final project report (mini-thesis) and the preparation of a poster to illustrate the main findings from the project to an audience of fellow students and staff.

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