University of Technology, Sydney

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91707 Pharmacology 1

6cp; 6hpw (Autumn session), 16–17hpw (December session)
Requisite(s): 91703 Physiological Systems AND 91161 Cell Biology and Genetics
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses. See access conditions.


Pharmacology is the biomedical discipline that is involved in studying the effects of drugs on living systems. This subject provides the introductory principles governing drug and xenobiotic action to be developed further in 91709 Pharmacology 2. These subjects are designed to foster a problem-solving approach to pharmacology with particular emphasis on applying molecular pharmacology concepts to pathophysiological problems.

The major objectives of this subject are to develop the concepts of dose-response relationships and the specificity of drug action. Topics covered include the therapeutic index and the concept of selective toxicity; chemical neurotransmitters, ion channels and receptors as determinants of drug action in the central and peripheral nervous systems; and clinical efficacy of the major pharmacology drug classes used in the treatment of pathophysiological processes involving the nervous system. Chemical considerations are also involved in such aspects of pharmacology as the relationship between structure and activity and the physicochemical properties of drugs which affect their distribution in the body and their mode of action. Lectures are complemented by a tutorial/practical program which emphasises the clinical nature of the subject and develops lecture material using a variety of experimental and tutorial approaches.

The study of pharmacology is a desirable part of any general medical or bioscience education and is also relevant to those intending to pursue careers in teaching, law, and local government. For this reason, this subject is directed not only towards training specialist pharmacologists but also aims at providing a broad education about drugs/chemicals that may affect living organisms. In order to do this, the fundamental principles of pharmacology must be fully understood before the applied aspects of drug action can be discussed.

Writing is the most common form of scientific communication. Scientists communicate their research findings to other scientists in the form of structured scientific reports that are published in peer-reviewed journals. It is becoming increasingly important to also communicate science effectively to the general public and to people working in other disciplines. In this subject, students build on the knowledge they have gained on how to structure formal scientific reports and submit a report based on the data they generate in practical classes. Students also learn the principles behind effective communication of scientific concepts to the general public and submit scientific content on a pharmacology topic in a style suitable for online delivery, e.g. website, blog, message forum or social software.

Typical availability

Autumn session, City campus

Detailed subject description.

Fee information

Information to assist with determining the applicable fee type can be found at Understanding fees.

Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.