Faculty of Medical Sciences Online Learning


CHS8001 : Drug Discovery and Pre-clinical Development (E-learning)

  • Offered for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Simon Hill
  • Lecturer: Prof. Simon Thomas, Mrs Alison Clapp, Dr Ruben Thanacoody
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Off Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To develop a cohort of learners who have a detailed understanding of the first stage of Translational Medicine, namely the drug discovery and pre-clinical development process. They should be able to demonstrate application of their learning including in their own research or translational careers. The learners should have a clear appreciation of the role that regulatory authorities play in ensuring the efficacy and safety of new compounds.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module covers the following topics:

Drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination (Pharmacokinetics)
Mechanisms of drug action (Pharmacodynamics) and Inter-individual variability in pharmacokinetics and drug effects (Pharmacogenetics)
Overview of the Drug Discovery & Pre-clinical development process
Targets and target validation
Screening and hits
Molecular biology therapeutics
Optimising molecules
Pre-clinical in vitro studies

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
CategoryActivityNumberLengthStudent HoursComment
Guided Independent Study Assessment preparation and completion 3 15:00 45:00 N/A
Guided Independent Study Directed research and reading 9 6:00 54:00 Online content
Guided Independent Study Skills practice 1 1:00 1:00 Use of software
Guided Independent Study Reflective learning activity 9 3:00 27:00 eJournal / Reflective blog
Guided Independent Study Student-led group activity 5 2:00 10:00 online collaborative exercises e.g. wiki
Guided Independent Study Independent study 9 4:00 36:00 Supplemental reading
Guided Independent Study Online Discussion 9 3:00 27:00 collaborative blog / discussion
Total       200:00  
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The online content is a way of delivering highly detailed content in an interactive, interesting and diverse way. The combination of text, problems, MCQ questions, video, animations and other interactive tasks should allow learning across a wide range of learning styles. The syllabus is highly specialised and most learners will have only limited prior specific knowledge – meaning that this content rich delivery is necessary. This teaching method links primarily to the knowledge based outcomes for each topic.

The nine problem based, often collaborative online exercises (with submissions to discussion boards, blogs, journals, wikis) are designed to consolidate learning from the directed eLearning and promote application of that learning in an adult learning based way. Problems are situated in the virtual pharmaceutical industry or academia and often have no right or wrong answer. Justification of the approach and choices made is required. This teaching method links to the skills outcomes of data appraisal and handling and application of learning to own work or research.

The coursework project is chosen to promote further consideration of how the whole drug discovery process is linked together and to ensure the learners are able to apply their learning (“Do”) rather than simply “know”. This is what the pharmaceutical and academic stakeholders require from the learners. This teaching method is linked particularly directly to the first and second skills outcomes but also to all of the knowledge outcomes.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
DescriptionSemesterWhen SetPercentageComment
Computer assessment 1 M 45 One essay from a choice of 3 (maximum 2000 words)
Essay 1 M 45 2000 word project - propose a drug discovery project to a drug company board
Portfolio 1 M 10 Participation in a series of approx 9 problem based online activities
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay is designed to test detailed understanding of the drug discovery process including the principles, methodologies, people and resources required. Essays will be fairly broad allowing each learner to show in detail what they have taken from the course. Each essay question is blueprinted / linked to one or more of the knowledge learning outcomes directly.

The coursework project is designed to assess the ability of the learners to synthesise learning from each topic and construct an overall understanding of the process of drug discovery. It also primarily aims to test the skills learning outcomes of being able to apply the learning to their own research interests or area of work.

A participation grade is included to reflect the student's engagement with collaborative activities within the module.

Reading Lists


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