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PHA3011 - Principles of drug action

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader: Associate Professor Wayne Hodgson


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


This unit provides a basic understanding of the principles of drug action - including the targets of drug action (receptors, enzymes, ion channels), drug receptor interactions, receptor families and signalling pathways - as well as the principles of pharmacokinetics (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion). Particular examples of neurotransmitter systems and mediator systems (including histamine, 5HT, eicosanoids and the renin angiotensin system) as targets for drug action are studied in detail.


On completion of this unit, students will: be aware of the basic principles of drug action; be equipped to study qualitative and quantitative aspects of drug interactions with living systems; have an understanding of humoral mechanisms, and of the sites and mechanisms of actions of drugs affecting neurotransmission; have developed a framework for the understanding of the actions and therapeutic applications of major groups of drugs used in modern medicine; be able to present results and interpret scientific experiments clearly and concisely in written form; be able to conduct searches to access relevant scientific literature, and show evidence of critical thought and analysis in addressing a topic which is not part of the lecture stream; be able to work in a team environment; have mastered the use of state-of-the-art computer-based data acquisition systems used to obtain data from pharmacological experiments; be able to carry out basic procedures for the statistical analysis of data.


Examination (2 hours): 60%
Group written assignment (1000 words): 20%
Laboratory work and practical test: 20%

Contact hours

Four 1-hour lectures and three hours of laboratory or self-directed learning/ tutorial per week during weeks 1-6


Two of PHA2022, PHY2011, PHY2021 or PHY2032 or BMS2031