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PA10312: Fundamentals of pharmacology: the healthy body 1

[Page last updated: 03 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology
Credits: 12 [equivalent to 24 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 240
Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: EX 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • EXAMINATION (EX 100% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: While taking this module you must take PA10311 AND take PA10313 AND take PA10314
Learning Outcomes: After taking this unit, the student should be able to:
* Define health and illness and the physiological concept of homeostasis
* Describe the normal structure and function of human cells at a molecular, cellular and tissue level
* Demonstrate a foundation knowledge of the differences between bacterial, viral, fungal cells and principles of infection mechanisms
* Explain the principles of the molecular basis of drug action within living systems at a molecular and cellular level (pharmacology)
* Use relevant pharmacological calculations to determine the potency of agonist and antagonist drug action.

Aims: To provide the student with an understanding of the normal structure and function of the cells and tissues comprising the major physiological systems of the healthy human body, their integration and regulation, as the basis for the later study of physiological function relevant to pharmacology.
To provide the student with an introduction to the concepts of drug action within living systems at a molecular and cellular level.

Skills: Scientific and practical skills (T/F/A)
Study skills, handling information, working with others (T/F)
Problem solving (T/F/A).

* What is health?
* What is a healthy body (Introduction to cell, tissues, and systems)?
* What is a cell? - Structure, function, membranes and organelles of the human cell.
* Lipids / cell membranes, Proteins - amino acids & peptides
* Transporters, enzymes, receptors - cell to cell
* Introductions to bacterial cells, human microflora & infections, viral cells & infections, protozoa & fungi, human microbiome & defences
* Intro to pharmacology & receptor theory, agonists - EC50 - efficacy, co-operativity. antagonists - comp / non- comp IC50, Schild plots
* Introduction to pharmacodynamics
* Enzymes as catalysts. Enzyme role in drug metabolism.
* Enzymes as drug targets - Km, Vmax
* Nucleosides / tides, nucleic acids, nucleic acid biosynthesis
* DNA replication prokaryotes / eukaryotes
* Transcription to translation - drug targets
* Carbohydrates - cellular functions
* Anatomy of the nervous system, nerve cells - membrane potential, communication - chemical transmission & synapses, the brain, the autonomic nervous system
* Reflexes and senses (touch)
* Ears and eyes (Anatomy and function)
* Nose and throat (Anatomy and function)
* Blood cells, blood formation & clotting
* Skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle
* The gastrointestinal system: anatomy, function, digestion.

Programme availability:

PA10312 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology
  • USPA-AFB02 : BSc(Hons) Pharmacology (Year 1)
  • USPA-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Pharmacology with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • USPA-AKM02 : MPharmacol(Hons) Pharmacology with Year long work placement (Year 1)


  • 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.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.