SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3B226388
Module Leader Yvonne Dempsie
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

SCQF7 Physiology or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module provides an in-depth understanding of the basic principles of drug action and applies this to the analysis of drug receptor interactions. The content highlights the actions of selected endogenous chemical mediators as a framework for studying drug actions. A laboratory programme enhances and underpins lecture material and provides experience of practical pharmacology with emphasis on collection, analysis and interpretation of pharmacological experimental data.


Quantitative Pharmacology: Quantitative aspects of drug receptor interaction. Affinity, efficacy, agonist, partial agonist, inverse agonist. Calculation of agonist affinity (KD), relationship between occupancy and response. Relationship between concentration/dose- response relationship and EC50. Types of antagonism, antagonist affinity, fractional occupancy, Schild Equation, Schild plot (pKB/pA2). Molecular Aspects of Pharmacology: Receptors and receptor superfamilies- classification. Ionotropic receptors, G-coupled receptors (metabotropic), Kinase-linked receptors, nuclear receptors (structure, transduction, therapeutic examples of each) Pharmacology of cellular mechanisms: excitation, contraction and secretion. Mechanisms of calcium regulation, ion channels and membrane potential Pharmacology of chemical mediators: Nitric oxide, 5-hydroxytryptamine, excitatory amino acids, inhibitory amino acids. Inflammation: the acute inflammatory reaction; inflammatory mediators; anti-inflammatory drugs; specific immunological response. Endocrine system . Obesity, diabetes mellitus causes and treatments; drugs in the treatment of thyroid disorders; treatment of growth hormone disorders; disorders of the adrenal glands Reproduction/contraception.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Demonstrate knowledge of the mechanism of action of drugs which act at each of the four major receptor classes2. Discuss how selective manipulation of the production or effects of endogenous chemical mediators can lead to the development of therapeutic agents3. Apply the quantitative aspects of drug receptor interaction to relevant experimental data4. Analyse and interpret data from pharmacological experiments.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

A variety of teaching and learning strategies will be used including lectures, tutorials and practical laboratory sessions. The emphasis will be on participative modes of learning, not only in tutorials and laboratories but also in lectures.

Indicative Reading

Rang, H.P. Ritter, J.M., Flower, R.J., Henderson, G. (2019) Rang & Dale's Pharmacology. 9th edition, Churchill-Livingstone.Neal, M.J.(2020) Medical Pharmacology at a glance. 9 th edition, Wiley Blackwell. Katzung BG, Maters SB, Trevor AJ (2017) Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. 14 th Edition.

Transferrable Skills

The analysis and interpretation of scientific data. -359

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 22.00
Practicals (FT) 15.00
Independent Learning (FT) 137.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Tutorials (FT) 6.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam 01 3.00 60.00 35% Unseen written exam (MCQ + Essay questions)
Course Work 01 n/a 40.00 35% Data Analysis