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PA20344: Cell regulation and function: receptors to genes

[Page last updated: 03 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology
Credits: 9 [equivalent to 18 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 180
Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: EX 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Exam (EX 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: After taking this unit, the student will be able to
* List a variety of receptor families and outline their mechanism of activation and links to intracellular pathways
* Describe the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation and aberrations in these mechanisms and processes which lead to disease
* Justify the use of recombinant DNA technology as a research tool and for the production of pharmaceutical products.
* Describe the properties and potential of stem cells
* Apply their knowledge to clinical cases through problem-based learning.

Aims: To enable the student to gain knowledge of the pathways and mechanisms which regulate cellular activation and function and how changes in gene sequence or expression can lead to disease. To enable the student to appreciate how this knowledge can be utilised in the laboratory to establish disease models; in the clinic for disease diagnosis and for the potential development of novel therapeutics.

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

* Receptor families, second messenger systems, protein kinases and their phosphorylation targets.
* Impact of signalling pathways on nuclear events including regulation of gene expression through transcription factor binding.
* Genetic mutations, oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes and the control of cell growth.
* DNA cloning and the use of vectors, including plasmids and viral vectors.
* Manipulation of DNA including the use of restriction enzymes, DNA sequencing, hybridisation techniques, polymerase chain reaction.
* Stem cells and molecular techniques - RNAi and gene therapy.
* Problem based learning applied to relevant clinical case studies.

Programme availability:

PA20344 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology
  • USPA-AFB02 : BSc(Hons) Pharmacology (Year 2)
  • USPA-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Pharmacology with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • USPA-AKM02 : MPharmacol(Hons) Pharmacology with Year long work placement (Year 2)


  • 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.