Course Descriptions

Current Topics in Pharmacology

Journal Club
Credit: 1 hour

This is a hot topics journal club where students present papers relevant to the broad area of pharmacology arising from many different disciplines. Each week a student will pick a relevant high-impact paper from the laboratory of one of the seminar speakers that will be visiting our campus and presenting a seminar that same week (this includes speakers for ULS and all basic science departments). One to two weeks before class, each presenting student will submit a paper to the organizers for approval. The class is lively and spirited and all students are called upon to speak in class and give their opinion of the paper presented.

Signal Transduction I

Credit: 1.5 hours
Paul Sternweis, Ph.D.

This course offers an in-depth study of the interactions of neurotransmitter and polypeptide hormones with receptors and their subsequent regulation of cellular events. Topics emphasize basic physicochemical concepts of ligand interactions with biological systems and mechanisms of common signaling pathways, including classical second messengers, G-protein-dependent mechanisms and regulation via protein phosphorylation. Quantitative approaches and current controversies are stressed where appropriate. Lectures are supported by discussion of classic and current research articles and presentations by students.

Signal Transduction II

Credit: 1.5 hours
Paul Sternweis, Ph.D.

The second part of this series integrates previous themes into various endocrine pathways, examines regulation at the nuclear level, and broadens topics to such diverse topics as apoptosis, circadian rhythms and signaling network analysis. Quantitative approaches and current controversies are stressed where appropriate. Lectures are supported by discussion of classic and current research articles. Each student is expected to submit an original research proposal, present and defend the proposal orally, and evaluate the proposals of other students.

Mechanisms of Drug Action

Credit: 3 hours

The course is organized around weekly lectures (one hour) and discussions (two hours). During the first part of the course, the general principles of pharmacology are examined. Topics include the entry, distribution and elimination of drugs; the time course of the drug action; the molecular basis of pharmacological selectivity and efficacy; the adaptation, tolerance and addiction to drugs; and pharmacogenetics.

These sessions are followed by discussions of the molecular bases of antibiotic chemotherapy and autonomic pharmacology. During the final weeks of the course, a range of topics is explored using examples from contemporary literature. Topics include peptides and proteins as drugs, rational drug design, the use of RNA and DNA as drugs, gene therapy, prodrugs, immunotoxins, anticancer chemotherapy, and strategies of selective drug delivery.