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The University of Southampton

BIOL2049 Pharmacology

Module Overview

The aim of this module is to build on the first year introduction to pharmacology to progress students understanding of pharmacology. The course is structured to firstly provide a platform of core concepts that widely pertain before developing this to some key areas in which drugs action are applied to treat disease.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Extract primary data for description and discussion in the style of a scientific publication. Utilizing distinct modes of action to explain drug selectivity on functional outcomes.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Interrogation of the literature to identify bona fide sources and extraction of evidence based information and synthesis into report writing.
Disciplinary Specific Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe utilizing drug classes discussed across the course how drugs interact at both the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetic levels. Outline how these principles inform on the wiser use of drug combinations.
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to: Describe the basic mechanism of drug receptor interactions and the quantitative analysis of these interactions. This will include applying the law of mass action and drug receptor interactions and its use to obtain quantitative estimates of agonist and antagonists binding.
  • Outline the concepts that explain underpinnings of pain. Describe two major classes of analgesics and how their pharmacology is applied for the mitigation of pain.
  • Define the difference between analgesia and anaesthesia. Name the distinct classes of local and general anaesthic drugs. Outline the important chemical and pharmacological principles that define how local and general anaesthics are applied biomedically
  • Describe the biological basis for the production of prostaglandins. Explain how distinct classes of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can be applied to mitigate fever, inflammation and pain.
  • Outline important peptide and steroid hormone systems and how their selective manipulation by pharmacology are applied for clinical benefit including contraception and exemplar metabolic disorders.
  • Outline the main methods by which drugs have been developed, designed and brought to market. Describe these outlined principles by utilizing some specific examples.
  • Explain how drugs enter the body/tissues and some of the mechanisms responsible for their subsequent removal.
  • Outline key principles pharmacogenomics to explain how the genome impacts the way in which drugs interact with biological systems
  • Describe the mechanisms of action of drugs with distinct mode of actions that modify autonomic nervous system.
  • Give examples of drugs that act on the neuromuscular junction and describe their mode of action.
  • Describe the ways in which selective drugs interact with the distinct classes of receptors mediating the action of the neurotransmitters histamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine
  • Explain the mechanism of action of several classes of antibiotics to outline how pharmacology can be applied to treatment of bacterial infection
  • Name important classes of cardiotropic and diuretic drugs and explain how they control cardiovascular function and are applied in the treatment of heart and circulatory disease.


Pharmacodynamics, Pharmacokinetics, Receptors structure and function, Pharmacogenomics and exemplars of drug classes that underpin current therapies.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, lab based practical class, class and paper based calculations (dry practical's), independent study. This independent study include reporting data in form of a scientific paper and assimilation of a current topic in applied pharmacology in the form of a structured mini-review.

Completion of assessment task35
Independent Study120
Wider reading or practice40
Total study time306

Resources & Reading list

Ritter/Flower/Hemderson/Loke/MacEwan/Rang (2019). Rang and Dale's Pharmacology. 



Class Exercise


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 75%
Coursework 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

BIOL1007 OR BIOL1008 OR BIOL1010 OR BIOL1011 OR BIOL1012 OR BIOL1013 OR BIOL1014 OR BIOL1022 OR CHEM1039 OR CHEM1041 OR CHEM1043 OR CHEM1044 OR CHEM1045 OR CHEM1031 OR CHEM1033 OR CHEM1035 OR CHEM1032 OR CHEM1034 OR CHEM1036


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


There are no additional cost associated with this module

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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