PSC3321 - Disease-Focused Pharmacology CNS - 2017

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


Dr Jennifer Short

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


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 multiple sclerosis, 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
  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


  • 10%: two in-semester tests assessing lecture material
  • 15%: three workshops, worth 5% each
  • 30%: a 2,000 word report/learning portfolio
  • 45%: end-of-semester exam (2 hours)

Workload requirements

Contact hours for on-campus students:

Thirty 1-hour lectures

Five 1-hour tutorials

Three 3-hour workshops

Two 40 minute in-semester tests

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


PSC2012 Molecular pharmacology

PSC2332 Disease-focused pharmacology - peripheral

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