LSC-20061 - Neuropharmacology
Coordinator: Samaneh Maysami Room: HUX-304 Tel: 01782 733671
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 734414

Programme/Approved Electives for 2022/23


Available as a Free Standing Elective





Introduction to neuroscience

Barred Combinations


Description for 2022/23

Understanding how medications influence the physiological function of the neuronal and glial cells in the nervous system is a fundamental step towards the design of an intervention (translational neuroscience) and testing therapeutic values of that drug in the clinic (clinical trial).

Medications that are aimed to treat neurological and mental disorders would (usually) apply their effects via binding to specific substrates (e.g. receptor, neurotransmitter or modulators) in the central nervous system (CNS) or peripheral nervous system (PNS). However, traditional efficacy trials (in models of disease) cannot always guarantee the effectiveness of an intervention in the clinic. This is due to the presence of various confounding factors that could alter drug absorption, metabolism, solubility (ability to cross the blood-brain barrier) and/or clearance (excretion and secretion).

The first part of this module will focus on an introduction to neuropharmacology e.g. drug-receptor interactions, dose-response (concentration-response in models of disease), distribution, metabolism, and elimination of drugs systemically or within the nervous system. In addition to covering basic principles of neuropharmacology, molecular mechanisms, sensitivity, specificity and efficacy of various neuropsychiatric compounds will be evaluated.

The second part of these lectures will review disease-specific therapy and current approaches in the treatment and management of common neuropsychiatric conditions.

The third part of this module will highlight advances made in neuropharmacology towards precision medicine and personalised therapy (future medicine). In specific, the importance of 'Omics (genomics/epigenomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) will be appraised and novel approaches such as robotics and nano-medicine (nano-particles) in providing effective treatment and management of neuropsychiatric disorders will be discussed.

In addition to the lectures, there will be two tutorials in this module that would allow students develop their transferable skills including (but not limited to), scientific communication, presentation skill, and providing critical appraisals and peer-reviews. Students are encouraged to be active learners during this module (as opposed to passive learners). The Q/A sessions are designed to maximise peer-peer interactions (i.e. social constructivism), constructivism, and connectivism (modern learning/teaching theories).

Students will learn about the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of medications used to treat neuropsychiatric diseases and disorders. They will learn about the pathways involved in drug discovery and novel approaches in treatment and management of neuropsychiatric illnesses.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Describe the biochemical basis and molecular mechanisms by which drugs regulate the neurotransmission to treat neuropsychiatric disorders in the preclinical and clinical settings: 1,2
Compare and contrast the therapeutic values, adverse-effects and/or side-effects of drugs: 1,2
Critically evaluate how various classes of drugs can induce changes in the neuronal signalling to affect mood and behaviour and/or cause dependency or addiction: 1,2
Communicate findings from analyses of journal articles orally or in writing in their assessments in accordance with professional conventions in neuroscience: 1,2
Critically evaluate the pathways in drug discovery and development in neuroscience from research and development to clinical trials: 1,2

Study hours

- 10x 5 hours of engagement with asynchronous topics
- 10x 1 hour tutorial to consolidate the lecture materials
- 40 hours Journal comprehension oral presentations
- 48 hours of independent study
- 2 hours exam

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Oral Presentation weighted 50%
Journal Comprehension Oral Presentation
Each student is given a research paper to critically review. They will need to concisely summarise the main aims and methods, situate main findings in the wider literature and identify key strengths and weaknesses of the paper. Students then work in small groups (6-10 students) to produce a conference style series of flash talks (5-10 minutes per student) presenting their findings. The final product should be a pre-recorded presentation no longer than 1.5 hrs per group. 10% of the overall marks will be a group mark awarded on the basis of overall coherency, flow and production. The remaining 90% of marks will be awarded to individual students based on their presentation and demonstrable understanding of their research paper.

2: Open Book Examination weighted 50%
Open book exam essay (unseen)
The paper will be released on KLE as a Word document at 9am on the morning of the exam. The paper consists 1 essay selected from 3. Students should address each topic using Word, clearly labelling each chosen topic as they provide their answers. Work will be submitted to Turnitin no later than 5pm on the day of release. International students will be asked to notify the School if they need an extension due to different time zones. Although students have been given significant time to complete this exam script, we expect most students to spend no more than 2 hours on completion of this assessment. Answers should be as accurate and concise as possible. Typical answers would be in the range of 500-750 words per topic. We recommend that students do not exceed 750 words per essay-based question as we will be assessing the quality of your answer, not the quantity.