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Unit information: Pharmacology Research project in 2015/16

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Unit name Pharmacology Research project
Unit code PHPH30006
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Steve Fitzjohn
Open unit status Not open

PHAR20001 Principles of Pharmacology 2A PHAR20002 Principles of Pharmacology 2B


20 cp Concepts and Skills (pharmacology) 20 cp Pharmacology of ion channels and synaptic transmission 20 cp Receptor signalling and non-drug therapies 20 cp Pharmacology of the nervous system

School/department School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


Students undertake a supervised research project. Projects offered include wet laboratory projects and dry projects, which may be analytical or literary. All of these are carried out at an advanced level, with much more independent direction and critical evaluation expected from the students than in previous years of study. Students express their preference and projects are allocated on this basis whenever possible. The unit aims to develop key research and analytical skills in pharmacology. Students will gain experience of pharmacological research and gain an understanding of scientific enquiry through project work.

Intended learning outcomes

Outcomes applicable to all types of research project include:

  • Ability to formulate hypotheses and to critically test theories and concepts
  • Ability to disseminate experimental observations in written accounts and in poster presentations.
  • Scientific experimental design and execution
  • Research and analytical skills
  • The ability to critically evaluate scientific data and literature and appraise competing theories
  • Problem solving skills
  • IT skills
  • Scientific report writing.

A student undertaking a wet project, will develop the experimental skills that are necessary to carry out a research project in an active research laboratory. A student undertaking a dry project that is an analytical or bioinformatics project will develop advanced skills required for the detailed analysis of particular type of data A student undertaking a dry project that is a literary project will develop a very detailed understanding of the latest advances in a particular area of pharmacology, and hence be able to critically evaluate latest findings and suggest alternative experiments

Teaching details

Practical projects involve laboratory and/or computer-based work that, although carried out under supervision, requires self-direction, motivation and independent thought from the students Literary projects are self-directed but are also supervised through weekly meetings between student and supervisor. Supervisors advise on the content of the project write-ups.

Assessment Details

Students write up the project (5000 words for a wet project, 7500 words for a dry project). BSc with SiI students will be required to undertake a library project (7500 word limit). Each write-up is marked independently by two members of staff, neither of which is the supervisor. Students also present a poster on their work to the two assessors.

Reading and References

Reviews and primary articles from the current scientific literature.