Life Sciences

Molecular Pharmacology

Module code: C7128
Level 6
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Class
Assessment modes: Coursework, Unseen examination

In this module, you examine the actions of drugs at the molecular level. And you analyse the methods employed to study these interactions.

Such methods include molecular cloning, receptor binding and cell-based functional assays.

The focus of your studies in this module is on receptor binding theory and the effects of drugs on intracellular signalling pathways.

In the module, you study a variety of drug targets in detail, including examples of the G-Protein couple receptor (GPCR), ligand-gated ion channel, neurotransmitter transporter and enzyme facilities.

You use GPCRs to exemplify the effects of drugs on second messenger systems (e.g. cyclic AMP, inositol trisphosphate) and related signalling cascades - and the GABAA receptor is highlighted as a prototypic ligand-gated ion channel.

Module learning outcomes

  • Show an in depth understanding of the structure and function of different types of drug targets (e.g. GPCRs, ion channels, enzymes and transporters).
  • Demonstrate a knowledge and critical appreciation of the concepts of drug actions (i.e. agonism, antagonism, inverse agonism and allosteric modulation).
  • Demonstrate an understanding and critical awareness of the Drug Discovery process and the progression of drugs through different preclinical and clinical phases.
  • Show an appreciation of the importance of target validation when choosing a drug target for novel therapeutics against, for example, Alzheimer’s disease or cystic fibrosis.
  • Outline the mechanism of action of drugs that exert their actions via the GABAA receptor.