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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 Science
OfferedClayton First semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Wayne Hodgson


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 able to:

  • discuss the mechanisms by which drugs act to produce changes in living systems
  • utilise the basic principles of pharmacokinetics to explain individual differences in responses to drugs
  • apply knowledge of endogenous mediator systems to predict the therapeutic and adverse effects of drugs
  • demonstrate the ability to present, analyse and interpret data from pharmacological experiments clearly and concisely in written form
  • demonstrate the ability to source, critically evaluate and use scientific literature to address a defined pharmacological problem
  • demonstrate the ability to work in a team
  • apply knowledge of a computer-based data acquisition system to obtain data from pharmacological experiments.


Examination (2 hours): 55%
Test (1 hour): 15%
Group written assignment (1000 words): 15%
Laboratory work: 15%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Elizabeth Davis

Contact hours

Two 1-hour lectures and three hours of laboratory or self-directed learning/ tutorial per week


BMS2031, or two of PHA2022, PHY2011, PHY2021 or PHY2032