Module Overview


This module introduces the fundamental principles of pharmacology and toxicology, including the key concepts of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Building on this knowledge the areas of pharmacogenomics, drug target selection and pharmacotherapeutics are discussed.

Module Code

BIOL 9908

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change


Drug Targets - receptor classification (G-Protein coupled receptors, Ion channels, Steroid receptors), Enzymes as drug targets; receptor theory & pharmacology; receptor binding theory; common drug functional groups; receptor agonists and antagonists (dose response curves). Drug Target Selection; Receptor Modulation & ligand selectivity (incl. allostery); Ligand Binding Interactions advanced; Intro to Structure and Ligand-Based Drug Discovery.


Movement of drug molecules across biological membranes. Standard routes of drug administration. The basic principles of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. Key pharmacokinetic parameters. Novel drug delivery systems focussing on nanoparticulate nanomedicines including theranostics: strategic designs and clinical examples.

Clinical Trials

Introduction to clinical trials: overview of trial phases, outcome measures and trial design.


Toxicological testing, toxicological molecular mechanisms of disease.


Genomic basis of drug response including: drug mechanisms of action, drug efficacy and drug toxicity. Genomic biomarkers and genetic polymorphisms leading to inter-individual variability in drug response: SNPs, short sequence repeats, haplotypes, DNA epigenetic modifications. Companion diagnostics. Different types and examples of genomic-targeted intervention.

Special Topics

Design of affinity capture reagents for diagnostic tests: e.g. small molecules, aptamers, antibodies, antibody-mimics. Diagnostic and therapeutic applications of exosomes

Experimental Pharmacology

Generate pharmacological data and analyse and interpret results. (including but not limited to computer assisted learning)

Lectures and tutorials which will include online student response systems, in-class quizzes and educational videos.  Experimental pharmacology to include but not limited to, data interpretation workshops and computer assisted learning software.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination60
Other Assessment(s)40