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CH10192: The chemistry of physiology and drug properties

[Page last updated: 21 April 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/3
Owning Department/School: Department of Chemistry
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: EX 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Examination (EX 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: Before taking this module you must take CH10191
Learning Outcomes: After taking this course the student should be able to:
* Understand the fundamentals of human physiology, with an emphasis on its central role in the drug discovery process;
* Be aware of the composition of different bodily fluids with an emphasis on the biological function of the major components of blood;
* Appreciate how the cardiovascular and central nervous systems functions and are regulated;
* Gain an appreciation of how the kidney, liver and endocrine/immune systems function to regulate homeostasis;
* Demonstrate an understanding of the solution behaviour of drugs and the role of solution thermodynamics in drug delivery;
* Recognize the fundamental physical properties that are important in drug-receptor interactions;
* Illustrate the utility of ''og P' values and the importance of drug solubility in designing an effective drug molecule;
* Identify common structural features of drug molecules and understand how structure/activity relationships can be used to guide the drug discovery process;
* Appreciate why the Lapinski rules are a useful tool for the design of new drug molecules;
* Understand how the process of drug metabolism is very important in the drug discovery process.

Aims: Familiarise the student with the major physiological systems, describing how they are integrated and regulated, with emphasis on the study of disease mechanisms and drug actions. To introduce students to the physico-chemical characteristics of drugs and demonstrate what factors need to be considered in designing an effective drug molecule.

Skills: Learning and studying T/F/A, Written communication T/F/A, Numeracy & computation T/F/A, Problem solving T/F, Information handling & retrieval T/F/A, Working independently F.

Content: Overview of multi-cellular organisms. Body fluid composition and compartmentalisation; Neurones - basic anatomy and physiology of the central and autonomic nervous systems; Blood and the immune system, pH, respiration, metabolic rate; Hormones and the endocrine system; Gut motility and absorption; The cardiovascular system; Mechanisms used for detoxification; Regulation of blood pressure, oxygen levels and glucose levels. Relevant examples of different drugs directed at different biological systems with an emphasis on understanding their mode of action at a physiological level. Different types of drug targets. Assays used to test for biological activity. Drug polarity and functional group effects. Solvents and solute-solvent interactions. Acid-base equilibria, pH/drug dissociation profiles. Forces involved in protein-ligand interactions. Routes of drug administration, drug absorption and distribution. Active and passive transport of drugs across membranes. An introduction to drug metabolism and excretion. Properties of drugs described by the Lapinski rules.

Programme availability:

CH10192 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Chemistry
  • USCH-AFB07 : BSc(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery (Year 1)
  • USCH-AAB08 : BSc(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Study year abroad (Year 1)
  • USCH-AKB08 : BSc(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Industrial Placement (Year 1)
  • USCH-AFM05 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery (Year 1)
  • USCH-AAM06 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Study year abroad (Year 1)
  • USCH-AKM03 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Industrial Placement (Year 1)

CH10192 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Chemistry


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • 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.
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