AP0611 - Drug Design and Development

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn about the drug discovery and development process. You will be introduced to a range of issues in drug discovery starting with selecting a disease through to identifying a disease target and the type of molecules to be utilised. For example, in this module, you will learn about cancer as a group of diseases and consider contemporary chemotherapeutic agents. This module will start by discussing drugs and the testing of drugs within a social and historical setting. You will learn how drugs interact with and affect their target areas in the human body. You will then learn about how to evaluate drug properties, the identification of lead compounds and developing these compounds into drugs that are introduced into the clinic. Topics will include pharmacogenomics, emerging technologies in personalised medicine, principles of clinical trials and pharmacological methods as well as a consideration of ethical issues.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through lectures, workshops, practicals, online activities and independent learning. Interactive sessions will cover important concepts that will enable you to tackle laboratory practicals and assessment. Laboratory practicals will enable you to learn key pharmacological methods and relate these to drug action. To enable you to complete these activites, Northumbria’s computer labs are fully equipped with the latest industry-standard software. Tutor-led workshop sessions will incorporate problem based activities and group work which will provide you with opportunities for free exchange of knowledge and views on contemporary topics such as ethics. These sessions will also provide you with the opportunity to develop team skills.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module team recognises the need for effective student support. You will have access to module materials including lecture slides online through the eLearning Portal. There will be initial study advice provided by the module tutor. Workbooks that underpin this advice in order to support you in developing skills such as critical thinking and writing will be accessible through the module site on the eLearning portal. Specific advice on how to answer questions and undertake assessment will be provided in the module guide and during formal /informal academic sessions run by members of the module team. You will be provided with support and feedback during tutor led laboratory practicals, workshops and seminars. In addition, tutors will respond to questions via email within 72 hours.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. You will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of some facts, language, concepts and principles relating to developing drugs and medicines

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. You will be able to critically evaluate published research articles that discuss drug design and deveopment.
3. You will be able to analyse, interpret and evaluate scientific information including textual, numerical, graphical and multimedia material
4. This module will develop your skills and knowledge in current trends and applications associated with modern drug discovery to enable you to enter into a range of employment areas including the clinical trial and pharmaceutical research sectors

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. You will develop and reinforce the ethical characterisitcs of a Northumbria graduate as you consider values that underpin the use of animals in testing and clinical trials. You will reflect on how they link with your own values.

How will I be assessed?

The assessment in this module will involve two components, a scientific literature review (60%) and an exam testing knowledge base, data analysis and interpretation skills (40%).

The first component will test your ability to critically evaluate primary literature in the area and understand their significance in the wider context. (MLO: 1,2,4)

The second component will test your specific knowledge and understanding of the topic area and your ability to present, interpret and understand the significance of data. (MLO: 1,3, 5)

You will be supported in preparing for these assessments via feedback obtained formative exercises delivered via the eLearning Portal which will include multi choice quizzes and problem-based question sets. You will also be supported in your evaluation of primary papers via group discussions in which you will review some key journal articles.


Molecular Biology and Genetics (AP0511); Principles of Cellular and Biomolecular Analysis (AP0507), Biology of Disease (AP0508)



Module abstract

Have you ever wondered where drugs come from ? Are you interested in pursuing a career in drug development research or in the pharmaceutical industry? A biomedical sciences degree is considered as an excellent basis for a wide variety of future graduate-entry career paths. This module will develop your skills and knowledge in current trends and applications associated with modern drug discovery to enable you to enter into a range of employment areas including the clinical trial sector.

This module will cover the phases involved in present day discovery and development of medicines from concept to marketing. Topics will include pharmacogenomics, emerging technologies in personalised medicine, principles of clinical trials and pharmacological methods

Through lectures, laboratory practicals, tutor-led workshops and online activities, this module uses an integrated approach that embeds practical and transferrable skills into the investigation of pharmacological principles. Importantly, you will benefit from staff research activities and professional expertise.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 6 years part-time
1 other options available

Department Applied Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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