MEDSCI 304 : Molecular Pharmacology

Medical and Health Sciences

2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Considers the cellular and molecular mechanisms of drug action on receptors with a particular focus on G-protein coupled receptors. Explores how receptors signal and traffic through cells and the implications of these processes on drug development and design. Also includes in silico drug design. Develops skills in experimental design and critical appraisal of data.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: BIOSCI 203, MEDSCI 204

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Compare and contrast the major features of the two superfamilies of drug targets (G-protein coupled receptors and cell signalling kinase enzymes. (Disciplinary knowledge and practice) (Capability 1)
  2. Explain the common mechanisms of drug action on receptors and enzymes and describe the potential for new sites of drug action in the relevant cell signalling pathways. (Capability 1)
  3. Describe the multidisciplinary pathway of drug discovery and its application to the development of novel cancer therapies. (Capability 1 and 2)
  4. Explain and demonstrate the importance of the ethical handling of data during the analytical process following experiments. (Capability 2, 3 and 5)
  5. Demonstrate personal competence in the practice of essential and basic laboratory skills. (Capability 5)
  6. Use the critical evaluation of a selected range of scientific literature to design an experiment with the appropriate methodology, including controls. (Capability 1 and 3)
  7. Explain to peers the interpretation and limitations of a data set and its accompanying method. (Capability 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Mid Semester Test 10% Individual Test
Laboratory Reports and Quizzes 25% Individual Coursework
Lab Practical and Calculations Test 15% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Mid Semester Test
Laboratory Reports and Quizzes
Lab Practical and Calculations Test
Final Exam

Course Contacts

(co-Director) Dr Jack Flanagan
(co-Director) Dr Raewyn Poulsen
(Coordinator and Teaching Fellow) Dr Deanna Bell

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 22 hours of lectures,  17 hours of workshops, 17 hours of practical laboratory work, 24 hours reading and thinking about the content and 40 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.