BSc Biomedical Sciences with Entrepreneurship

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Pharmacology RSM

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL20932
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This Research Skills Module is designed to develop your experimental design, report writing and practical skills. You will investigate a range of topics including drug toxicity testing, anaesthesia, computer based molecular modelling and the ethical issues surrounding drug testing on human volunteers.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Drugs: From Molecules to Man BIOL10822 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Clinical Drug Development BIOL21302 Co-Requisite Compulsory
BIOL20932 Co-requisite is BIOL21302

BIOL20932 Co-requisite is BIOL21302


To provide practical experience of research methods used in the discovery of drugs, from initial ideas through to full clinical use in man.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand methods used in drug discovery and development
  • Improve technical skills
  • Find and understand information
  • Analyse complex data sets
  • Write scientific reports


May include “wet lab” versions or simulations of

Radioligand binding assay: competition and saturation binding assays
Computer methods for drug discovery: prediction of drug potency using molecular modelling software.
Practical data analysis: graphing and analysing experimental data using GraphPad Prism software.
Schild analysis: students will study the interaction of methacholine and atropine analogues in rat ileum.
Human volunteer practicals e.g. paracetamol metabolism
Animal tissue practicals such as a dissection

    Employability skills

    Analytical skills
    Extensive data handling and analysis required to write up practicals
    Group/team working
    All practicals are done in groups; students also complete a group-based results report
    Problem solving
    Extensive data handling and analysis required to write up practicals
    Research on muscarinic receptors as drug targets is required for the full practical report.Group based oral and written presentations on novel drugs
    Written communication
    Full Group based oral and written presentations on novel drugs, practical report written in the style of a research papers.
    Practical lab skills. Discipline specific laboratory skills, knowledge of drug discovery strategies

    Assessment methods

    Method Weight
    Other 10%
    Report 40%
    Project output (not diss/n) 30%
    Set exercise 20%
    • Pre-RSM e-assessments mcqs and short note questions (10%)
    • Short note questions (30%)
    • Full practical write-up (40%)
    • Group based results report (incl peer assessment) 20%)


    RSM Attendance guidelines.

    Students are expected to attend all scheduled RSM sessions on time (N.B. Health and safety information will be delivered at the start of practical sessions, and students who are not present at the start may be asked to leave the lab). Students who arrive late will be marked as absent for that session. Failure to attend a session (an unauthorised absence) will result in a 10% (i.e. 10 mark) penalty being applied to the overall RSM mark (i.e. a student obtaining a mark of 65% overall will instead receive a mark of 55%). Furthermore, any students who miss a practical session will not receive a mark for any associated post-lab assessment (N.B. this mark will be removed before calculating the average post-lab mark to avoid a student being penalised twice).Further absences will result in further penalties (i.e. 2 absences = a penalty of 20% (as described above)).

    Due to the use of animal tissues, students are also required to complete Health Screening by the University Occupational Health Service. Not completing screening will result in exclusion and unauthorised absence from the relevant practicals and mark penalties as detailed above.

    Feedback methods

    Feedback will be provided via annotated practical write-ups and verbal advice on practical techniques during classes.

    Study hours

    Scheduled activity hours
    Practical classes & workshops 43
    Independent study hours
    Independent study 57

    Teaching staff

    Staff member Role
    Richard Prince Unit coordinator

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