Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Biochemistry and Pharmacology
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 5 x 1 hour lectures per week (50 hours)
Other 1 x 3 hour revision session (3 hours)
Other 2 x 2 hour workshops (4 hours)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Workshop 1 report.  10%
Semester Assessment Workshop 2 report.  10%
Semester Assessment Group work.  20%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Theory paper.  60%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  40%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Describe the fundamental principles and processes underlying drug action and drug metabolism relating these to general issues of efficacy.

2. Relate general principles to specific examples of drug use in human disease in the context of the pathological mechanisms.

3 Discuss critically the factors affecting the choice of drugs in a specific situation and the potential for drug toxicity.

4. Discuss the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the actions of biological toxins.

5. Critically assess the published literature.

6. Analyse experimental data and formulate hypotheses showing how these are supported by data.

7. Demonstrate an ability to summarise complex ideas and information.

8. Demonstrate an appreciation of team roles and organization.

Brief description

The mechanisms by which drugs affect target cells and the design and delivery of these will introduce the module. This will be followed by examples drawn from clinical, research and social use of drugs which will reinforce and elaborate on the key themes introduced at the start of the course.


The module will commence with a detailed examination of the biochemistry of receptors and their signaling pathways, and ion channels as these are the targets of many drugs. Delivery, partitioning, metabolism and elimination of drugs will be considered in the context of both their clinical use and drug design. This forms the introduction to the course and the subsequent content will reinforce these central themes.

Topics will include:

1. Biochemistry of drugs and their targets
2. Drugs used in the treatment of conditions affecting the autonomic nervous system
3. Drugs used in the treatment of cardiac conditions such as angina and dysrythmia
4. Analgesia
5. Research use of pharmacological agents
6. The relationship between drugs and toxins
7. Recreational drug (ab)use and psychoactive drugs
8. Anti-microbials

Two workshops will use data analysis and virtual experiments to emphasise and expand the taught material.
In addition there will be four ad-hoc lecture sessions based on recent developments in pharmacology.
Group work will consist of the preparation of support materials for revision and engagement with teamwork analysis tools.
The module will also feature a 2 hour session involving an invited speaker who will talk about her or his work in a field related to the topic and discuss career paths with students.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number There will be a requirement to summarise and analyse workshop data using standard statistical procedures.
Communication The teams will be required to produce a revision document for each area of the module. This will need to summarise the core content and include material from additional sources and present this in a concise readable form supported by reinforcement exercises developed by the group.
Improving own Learning and Performance
Information Technology
Personal Development and Career planning Opportunity to hear about a career related to the topic and question an invited speaker about career paths.
Problem solving Workshops will require the application of logic to interpret sets of experimental data and formulate an hypothesis based on the data and support this hypothesis with argument.
Research skills
Subject Specific Skills
Team work The group work will require that regular meetings are held and minutes kept. Team members will analyse the roles they have played in the team (for which a structure is suggested)


This module is at CQFW Level 6