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Programme & Unit Catalogues

XX50227: Physiology, pathology and pharmacology

[Page last updated: 05 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology
Credits: 18 [equivalent to 36 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 360
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Academic Year
Assessment Summary: CW 40%, EX 60%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 40%)
  • Jan exam (EX 30%)
  • May exam (EX 30%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: In taking this module you may not take XX50228 after week 5
Description: Aims:
To provide core knowledge of cellular biology, microbiology, pharmacology and immunology for the identification of biological molecules as drugs and drug targets, and to develop the students' ability to apply this knowledge to carry out laboratory-based investigations. To describe the anatomy and physiology of specific organs and discuss the pathological changes associated with different diseases which impact on function, drug delivery, metabolism and excretion.

Learning Outcomes:
After studying this unit, students should be able to:
* Outline the structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, describe the key processes underlying cellular and organ function and how appreciate how these can function as drug targets.
* Describe the general anatomy and functions of the nervous system, the identification, distribution, synthesis and degradation of neurotransmitters, and the pharmacology of ionotropic and metabotropic receptors.
* Describe the anatomy of the lung, skin and gastrointestinal tract and explain the impact on drug delivery
* Describe the structure of the heart, liver and kidney and explain how drugs can affect function
* Demonstrate knowledge of and competency in a range of key laboratory skills, and appreciate their application to drug discovery.
* Work in a team to generate, analyse and interpret data collected.
* Present experimental data and research findings in written reports and poster formats.

�¿Learning and studying (T,F,A), Problem solving (T, F, A), Practical skills, Numeracy (F, A), Analysis (T,F,A), Independent working (F), Scientific writing (F, A), Oral communication (F)�¿


* Cell biology - structure, membranes, intracellular organelles, genes, receptors and functions.
* Biological molecules as drugs and drug targets - proteins, enzymes, receptors, antibodies.
* Cloning, insulin production, vector/ plasmid delivery/ gene therapies
* Receptor Pharmacology - agonist/ antagonist- affinity/ potency/ efficacy
* Receptor signalling mechanisms
* Genes, transcription, cell cycle
* Immunology-basics to understand monoclonal antibody production, targets for inflammation particularly biological therapies/ immunotherapy
* Central and peripheral nervous systems - nerve cells, excitability and action potential, synapses and release of chemical mediators, anatomy of the CNS, BBB and peripheral NS, amino acid and amine transmitters and receptors. Sites of drug action.
* Lung physiology and drug delivery
* Skin physiology and drug delivery
* Gut physiology and drug delivery
* Heart and drug impact
* Kidney physiology and drug excretion
* Liver physiology and drug metabolism

Practicals - to enable the students to develop knowledge of and competency in a range of experimental and data analysis techniques:
* Cell culture
* Biochemical substrate/ enzyme assays
* Radioligand binding
* Agonist and antagonist profiles on biological tissue
* Cloning
* Molecular pharmacology
* Bioimaging.

Programme availability:

XX50227 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.