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Unit of study_

PCOL3922: Neuropharmacology (Advanced)

2024 unit information

Do you want to understand how drugs act on the brain? The human brain has been called the last great frontier in science and medicine. In this unit of study, you will learn about how the brain normally functions and what goes wrong to generate neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases and disorders. As pharmacologists we study chemicals, modulators and their synaptic, cellular and neural pathway targets for potential drug therapies and to further understanding the disease processes. This unit includes a comprehensive lecture series that delves into the mechanism of action of drugs, cutting-edge pharmacology and neuroscience methods used in understanding of addiction, Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders, schizophrenia, epilepsy, pain, anxiety and depression. You will develop skills through a series of tutorials and practicals to understand development of new therapies beginning at the molecular level stepping through to preclinical cellular and behavioural experiments and finally human testing of drug action. This unit of study is highly recommended for students interested in pursuing a career in medicine and allied health professions (e.g. nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy, dentistry) and medical research pathways.

Unit details and rules

Managing faculty or University school:

Medicine and Health

Study level Undergraduate
Academic unit Pharmacy
Credit points 6
A mark of 70 or above in [(PCOL2011 or PCOL2021 or MEDS2002) or (BMED2401 and BMED2402 and BMED2405) or (ANAT2010 or ANAT2910) or (PSYC2010 or PSYC2910 or PSYC2015 or PSYC2915)]
Assumed knowledge:

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Describe and explain centrally acting drugs and their targets at a molecular, protein, cellular, system- and organism-level, and how these drugs are used to modulate CNS-mediated function and behaviours including drugs used to treat somnolence, stress, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, pain, epilepsy, migraine, stroke, movement disorders, and dementia.
  • LO2. Critically evaluate current research methods in neuropharmacology and explain their role in producing new knowledge about CNS pharmacology.
  • LO3. Investigate current topics in neuropharmacology using literature searches and critically analyse the research literature for reliability and relevance of information.
  • LO4. Integrate information from many sources into a coherent and critical appraisal of the currently available information on a specific research area, and communicate a concise, informative response presenting a recommendation or view in written and/or oral form.
  • LO5. Communicate ideas and interpretations of scientific information through both oral and written communication tools using appropriate language and style.
  • LO6. Determine the appropriate experimental design in attaining a specific scientific aim.
  • LO7. Collect, analyse and interpret data derived from experiments and describe and interpret experimental results.
  • LO8. Consider social, ethical and cultural issues that affect scientific enquiry and research methodology.
  • LO9. Take responsibility for your learning, including time management, and work independently as well as within a team.

Unit availability

This section lists the session, attendance modes and locations the unit is available in. There is a unit outline for each of the unit availabilities, which gives you information about the unit including assessment details and a schedule of weekly activities.

The outline is published 2 weeks before the first day of teaching. You can look at previous outlines for a guide to the details of a unit.

Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 2 2024
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 2 2020
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Semester 2 2021
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Semester 2 2021
Normal day Remote
Semester 2 2022
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Semester 2 2023
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

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Modes of attendance (MoA)

This refers to the Mode of attendance (MoA) for the unit as it appears when you’re selecting your units in Sydney Student. Find more information about modes of attendance on our website.