Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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

FacultyFaculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
OfferedParkville First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Dan Malone


This unit investigates in detail disorders involving the nervous system, and provides the relationship between the pathophysiology of these diseases and the rational design and use of drugs. Students will review the structure and function of the nervous system and important aspects of neurotransmission and cell signalling, and will then consider in detail exemplar disorders involving the nervous system, such as Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, depression, pain, and brain cancer, and disorders affecting blood-brain barrier function. The aspects of these disease states which are amenable to pharmacotherapy will be discussed in detail and students will perform a number of tasks which will help with the development of critical thinking skills.


After completing this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the normal physiology of the central nervous system and cell replication cycles
  2. For each disease or disorder, be able to explain the pathogenesis and the signs and symptoms of the disease, and relate these to the pathophysiology
  3. Describe the diagnosis, risk factors / epidemiology and the burden of the disease on society
  4. Explain the mechanism of action of current treatment options, explain their rationale of use, advantages and disadvantages, side effects and other limitations
  5. Build a learning portfolio that:

  • Includes discussion of relevant biological models, preclinical and clinical issues, and a proposed investigation into a novel therapeutic option
  • Proposes new targets for therapeutic interventions or identifies areas of the pathophysiology yet to be exploited
  • Describes and evaluates relevant biological disease models
  • Investigates current research efforts, both preclinical and clinical, and identifies how novel therapeutic interventions may be assessed for efficacy within current models, or proposes new methods of investigation


20%: two in-semester tests assessing lecture material; each worth 10%
15%: three workshops, worth 5% each
20%: a 2,000 word report/learning portfolio
45%: end-of-semester exam (2 hours)

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

Contact hours for on-campus students:
Thirty 1-hour lectures
Five1-hour tutorials
Three 3-hour workshops;
Two 1-hour in semester tests


PSC1011 Physiology I
PSC1012 Physiology II
PSC2012 Molecular pharrmacology
PSC2332 Disease-focused pharmacology - peripheral

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