BPS2012 - Pharmacology II: drug action - 2019

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

Chief examiner(s)

Dr John Haynes


Dr John Haynes

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


BPS1012 Human Physiology II: Body systems


Unit previously coded PSC2012


Pharmacology II will introduce students to advanced concepts related to drug action, including descriptions of antagonist activity, partial and inverse agonists, allosteric modulators and biased ligands. This unit also extends beyond drug-receptor interactions to show how signal transduction processes regulate cellular activities. The gastrointestinal system will be used as an exemplar to demonstrate how the normal physiological function of an organ system can be used to define mechanisms of disease and allow for the identification of suitable drug targets.

Students will practice laboratory techniques and experimental approaches to solving pharmacological research questions. They will also record, interpret and communicate the outcomes of such investigations to a variety of audiences.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Characteristics of drug interaction with receptors (agonist and antagonist quantitation);
  • Properties of G-protein coupled receptors and interactions with signal transduction systems;
  • Ion channels, transporters and intracellular calcium signalling.


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

  1. Describe how pharmacologically active chemicals might affect living systems through interactions with receptors;
  2. Speculate upon the nature of drug action at receptors and likely intracellular signalling mechanisms;
  3. Explain how receptor-mediated changes in intracellular calcium might regulate specific bodily functions;
  4. Use our understanding of drug action at a cellular level to predict drug effects upon human health;
  5. Record, analyse and critically interpret experimental data and report it in written and visual formats.


End-of-semester examination (50%) and in-semester assessment (50%)

Workload requirements

  • Twelve 1-hour online modules (discovery)
  • Twenty-four 1-hour lectures
  • Thirty-six hours of laboratory classes and workshops

See also Unit timetable information

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