Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
OfferedSunway Second semester 2011 (Day)
Parkville Second semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Paul White (Parkville); Dr Tang Kim San (Sunway)


This unit builds on the previous unit "Chemical Properties of Drug Molecules" to provide students with an understanding of the basis of drug action - efficacy. The consequences of drug binding to cell-surface receptors and enzymes will be considered at a structural level.

This will involve:

  • Drug targets
  • Receptor activation - efficacy and affinity
  • Chemistry of drug-receptor interactions
  • Newer / Emerging drug classes - particularly "biologicals" - protein therapeutics
  • Pharmacology in action - practical application of principles of affinity, efficacy and potency


At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. List and describe in detail the categories of proteins with which drugs interact.
  2. List and explain the properties of a drug that determine its affinity, efficacy and potency.
  3. Describe the chemistry of drug-receptor interactions, and explain the properties of drug and receptor that determine binding and efficacy.
  4. Evaluate the interactions between drug and receptor that determine efficacy based on theoretical or empirical information.
  5. Calculate drug affinity, potency and efficacy based on model data, and make comparisons between drugs based on such data.
  6. Describe the mechanisms of action of several classes of emerging therapeutic classes.
  7. Effectively apply the principles of affinity, efficacy and potency to find solutions to problems associated with commonly used drugs.
  8. Based on laboratory experience within this unit, demonstrate a personal understanding of the biological evaluation of drug affinity, efficacy and potency.


CAL Tutorial assessment: 10%; two practical class reports (10% each): 20%; final exam (2 hours): 70%.

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Paul White

Contact hours

30 1 hour lectures, two 3 hour tutorials, one 3 hour problem based / case based learning session, three 1 hour whole class introductions to practical class and one three hour practical class


Attempted PAC2171

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: