Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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


Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Associate Professor Helen Irving



  • First semester 2016 (Day)


This unit aims to introduce students to essential elements of biochemical pharmacology. Participants in this unit will learn how membranes and proteins are involved in relaying extracellular signals from outside the cell to within the cell where specific outcomes are generated to activate cellular responses. The topics covered include membrane and protein biochemistry focusing on their roles in signal transduction, receptor families and different types of signalling pathways employed to relay extracellular information within the cell. The subject provides an essential foundation for understanding biochemical pharmacology and its use in biological research and the pharmaceutical industry.


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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of how the structure of lipids and proteins influence their function particularly in relation to membranes and receptors, transporters, ion channels and enzymes;
  2. Analyse experimental results involving enzymes and receptor activation;
  3. Explain the processes of intracellular signaling pathways activated by receptor ligands;
  4. Compare and contrast different signaling pathways used by cells to respond to external signals;
  5. Design experiments to test the activation of specific signaling pathways;
  6. Analyse experiments and experimental techniques that are used in the study of biochemical pharmacology.


Final exam (2 hour) 60%; practicals/workshops 15%; mid-semester test 10%; various quizzes 5% and assignment(s) 10%.

Workload requirements

Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • Twenty four 1-hour lectures
  • Four 1-hour tutorials
  • Four 4-hour workshops
  • Four 4-hour practicals
  • Twelve hours directed (active) learning

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


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