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PHAR2210 Foundations of Pharmacology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Pharmacology major sequence
  • Level 2 elective
This unit provides an introduction to the basic principles of pharmacology, the branch of science that studies the effects of drugs on the human body. Topics, which are delivered in modules, include (1) drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion; (2) toxicology and structure–activity relationships; (3) receptor classification, dose–response relationships and intracellular signalling; (4) chemotherapy; and (5) clinical aspects of drug effects. The material in the unit is the foundation for further study in pharmacology but can be taken on its own. While introducing students to the scientific study of drugs and medicines, emphasis is mainly placed on explaining general mechanisms, processes and theories rather than detailing the complex properties of the many individual drugs that are used and abused in today's society. Summative assessments are held throughout the unit to help students adopt a learning strategy that facilitates long-term understanding and mastery of material.
Students are able to (1) describe the actions of drugs at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels, discriminating between the actions of agonists and antagonists; (2) identify the fundamental processes that regulate the fate of drugs in the body and explain how these influence the magnitude and duration of the effects of a given drug dose in humans; (3) explain the problem of unwanted drug effects, being able to identify a select number of classic drug-induced toxic syndromes and explain the main features of the mechanisms underlying them; (4) identify the main stages in the process whereby molecules turn into medicines, explaining how candidate drugs are identified and carried forward for testing in humans; (5) acquire, evaluate, interpret and present scientifically robust information; and (6) execute simple laboratory procedures relevant to assessing the actions of drugs.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tests; (2) laboratory assessment; and (3) end of semester examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Ricky Chen
Unit rules
( CHEM1002 Chemistry—Structure and Reactivity and SCIE1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell ) or ( CHEM1004 Biological Chemistry and SCIE1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell ) or ( BIOC1001 Introductory Cellular Biochemistry and SCIE1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell ) or ( IMED1001 Form and Function and IMED1002 The Facts of Life )
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; practical labs: 3 x 4 hours per semester; computer lab: 1 x 3-hour session

Flower RJ, Henderson G, Loke YK, MacEwan DJ, Rang HP, Ritter J (2019) Rang and Dale's Pharmacology. 9th edn.

An earlier edition is suitable - Dale MM, Flower RJ, Henderson G, Rang HP (2016) Rang & Dale's pharmacology. 8th edn.

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  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.