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
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Life and Health Sciences
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • 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.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Ricky Chen
Unit rules
(CHEM1002 Chemistry—Structure and Reactivity
CHEM1004 Biological Chemistry)
SCIE1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell;
(IMED1001 Form and Function
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
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]

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.

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.