BSc Pharmacology with Industrial/Professional Experience

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Neuropharmacology of Human Health (E)

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL31671
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


Neuropharmacology of Human Health presents key topics at the forefront of modern neuropharmacology. Emphasis will be placed on how the molecular and cellular basis of function of major excitatory, inhibitory and modulatory neurotransmitter receptor systems operate under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. You will gain active knowledge into the role of neurotransmitter systems in the generation and therapy of diverse, but significant, neuropathological disorders.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Drugs & the Brain BIOL21312 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
BIOL31671 Pre & Co-requisites is BIOL21312

BIOL31671 Pre & Co-requisites is BIOL21312


The aim of this unit is to provide a thorough understanding of key neurotransmitter systems and how these systems function under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. You will gain insight into how these neurotransmitter systems are targeted to provide therapeutic benefit in the clinic.


PLEASE NOTE: This unit has restricted numbers and it may not be possible for students to be enrolled on this unit during the two-week course unit change period at the start of semester 1.



Learning outcomes

      Understand the importance of neurotransmission for health and disease.

      Describe the known signalling defects underlying specific neurological diseases and the consequences of these defects to neural circuit function and whole organism behaviour

      Describe the application of appropriate research methods used to investigate these processes and to identify aberrant signalling mechanisms

      Understand and interpret primary research findings and describe how these have been used to develop clinical treatments

      Understand how to find, identify and interpret key data, concepts and ideas and to pass these on to others


For all areas, there will be material detailing basic principles and building on those from the prerequisite unit (BIOL212312 Drugs and the Brain). The topicality and importance of these areas will then be underscored by additional material designed to foster critical thinking.

  • Neurobiology and pharmacology of addiction.
  • Role f glutamate in schizophrenia and stroke.
  • Role of acetylcholine in Alzheimer's disease.
  • 5-HT and psychedelics.
  • Brain regulation of metabolism.
  • Rhythms in mental health and disease.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Multiple sources of information often provide conflicting views. The student needs to balance what they read to reach an appropriate conclusion.
Oral communication
Students are encouraged to ask questions during and after lectures
Expectation that the student will undertake additional reading to understand and extend knowledge provided in lectures
Written communication
Summative exam answers (essay)

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 10%
Written exam 90%

2 hour examination (90%) consisting of: Section A (1 hour) - answer 1 essay question from a choice of 3. Section B (1 hour) - answer 1 essay question from a choice of 3. Other - Blackboard self-directed activity (10%). Each lecture block will have an associated element of self-directed activity to allow for assessment of learning and feedback on understanding. These activities will reinforce lecture material.

Feedback methods

Interactive sessions will allow discussion and formative feedback to students. Each lecture block will have an associated element of self-directed activity to allow for assessment of learning and feedback on understanding (this activity will collectively be worth 10% of the final mark).

Recommended reading

Specified reading will be advertised on Blackboard for each block of material.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 80

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Susan Cochran Unit coordinator

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