300 Level Pharmacology Course Details

PMCOL300 … PMCOL301/302 … PMCOL303 … PMCOL305 … PMCOL337  … PMCOL343/344 … PMCOL371


Introduction to Pharmacology

Fall term, W 09:00

Coordinator: Dr AS Clanachan

Prerequisites: Available only to students registered in the Dental Hygiene Diploma Program

Grading: Final grade is based on one midterm and one final exam.


Lectures are used to illustrate the principles of pharmacology including rational application of commonly used drugs to the treatment of disease.


PMCOL 301/302
Introduction to Research in Pharmacology
Fall and Winter Terms
Coordinator: Dr E Posse de Chaves

A Pharmacology course for third year science students. Specially designed for students who have or might have special interest in fundamental research.

Objectives: To provide students the opportunity to perform directed research in the laboratory of a member of the Department of Pharmacology. Students will be involved in the complete process of scientific research: formulation of the scientific question and hypothesis, aquisition of background information and reference management, planning and performing experimental work, and presenting results orally and in a written report.

Format: The course starts with a workshop that addresses the mechanics of hypothesis formulation, background acquisition, references selection and management. After that, directed research is performed in the selected laboratory (10h/week). Students will be required to present results of their research project in a final written report and in an oral presentation to peers and supervisors. Evaluation will be based on the students' performance in the lab and their written and oral reports.

Pre-requisites: Open only to 3rd year students. PMCOL 201, a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher, and consent of the course coordinator is required. Students with a 300-level Biological Sciences, Biochemistry or Physiology course may be considered at the discretion of the Pharmacology Undergraduate Advisor and the individual research supervisor.


Registration: Closed to Bear Track registration. Students must apply and will be notified by email if their application is successful. This course may also be taken over the six week Spring/Summer session. The Department has received sufficient applications for available research opportunities at this time. Thank-you for your interest.


Introduction to Toxicology
Winter term only, T R 09:30
Coordinator: Dr M Davies

Prerequisites: BIOCH 200 or PHYSL 210 or PHYSL 212 and 214

This course is restricted to students in the Pharmacology program.

Grading: Evaluation is based on two midterms, a paper and a final examination worth 25, 30, 30 and 15%, respectively. The exams are a mixture of multiple choice, short answer and essay questions.


Just how dangerous is it to eat wild mushrooms? Can synthetic chemicals found in our water supply result in obesity? How does the production of "distressed" designer jeans lead to lung damage? These are some of the questions that will be addressed in Pharmacology 303. Toxicology is the study of the adverse effects of chemicals, both natural and synthetic, on living organisms. It encompasses biochemistry, physiology and, of course, pharmacology. We will look at the systems and organs that are typically most affected by these chemicals and will spend time examining specific examples in more detail. The molecular mechanism(s) behind the toxic effects produced will be emphasized.


An Introduction to the Pharmacology of Drug Abuse
Fall term, T R 14:00
Coordinator: Dr M Davies


Prerequisites: One of the following BIOCH 200, BIOL201, CELL 201, PHYSL 210, PHYSL 212 and 214, PMCOL 201, PSYCO 275, ZOOL 241 and 242

Grading: The final grade is based on a single midterm and a final examination in multiple-choice format.


Have you ever wondered why a drug like heroin is so addictive? If so, PMCOL 305 is the course for you. This course addresses some of the issues of drug dependence by examining the pharmacology of commonly used drugs of abuse. Some of the drugs we will talk about in this course include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, ecstasy and alcohol. Current issues such as the use of salvia and oxycontin abuse are also covered. You will come out of this course with an understanding of how these drugs affect the CNS, the potential damage they can cause, and the pharmacological treatments for addiction that are currently available.


Experimental Procedures in Pharmacology
Winter term, T 13:00
Coordinator: Dr F Plane

Prerequisite/Corequisite: PMCOL 343 and 344
This course is restricted to students in the Pharmacology program.

Grading: Students are continuously assessed by their in-class performance, quality of experimental results and merit of written laboratory reports.


Historically, pharmacology is based on experimental procedures whereby one observes the effect(s) of small molecules on isolated tissues and whole living systems. Despite advances in molecular pharmacology, drug development still needs to understand how new therapies affect isolated cells, tissues and the whole body. This course covers a range of exciting pharmacological procedures ranging from simple enzyme assays, monitoring the effects of drugs on isolated tissues, understanding how drugs affect blood pressure and respiration, through to observations of rodent behaviour following administration of psychoactive drugs. This constructive course represents applied pharmacology at its best and requires "hands on" approach by individual students to fully perform in a laboratory setting. This course is admirably suited to those looking forward to graduate study, or a career in industry or medicine.


PMCOL 343/344
Scientific Basis of Pharmacology:Parts 1/2
Fall term, M W F 13:00 Part 1 - Winter term, M W F 13:00 Part 2
Coordinator: Dr W Colmers (343) and Dr F Plane (344)

Prerequisites for Pmcol 343: PMCOL 201, Pre or Corequisite: BIOCH 200 and PHYSL 210 or 212 and 214

In the case of over subscription, preference will be given to students in the Pharmacology Specialization and Honours Programs.

Prerequisites for Pmcol 344: PMCOL 343
Grading: For PMCOL 343, the final grade is based on two midterm examinations (short answer format; 22% each) and a final examination in short answer format (56%).
For PMCOL 344, the final grade is based on two midterm examinations (short answer format; 25% each) and a final examination in short answer and multiple-choice format (50%).


Do you know how Lipitor, the world's top selling drug, reduces plasma cholesterol levels? Or why an antibiotic is the most effective cure for a stomach ulcer?

In Pharmacology 343 and 344 we will answer these questions and many more about how drugs affect the major organ systems in the body and how treatments for conditions such as pain, obesity, diabetes, depression, cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease actually work. Pharmacology is described by the British Pharmacological Society as the science that underlies "advancing molecules into medicines" reflecting the fact that Pharmacologists are the people responsible for the discovery of chemicals used in the treatment of disease and the relief of human and animal suffering. Pharmacologists study drugs – what they are, how they work and what they do. In this course we take this same scientific approach so that you will learn not just which drugs are used to treat diseases but why and how they work, and in some cases do not work.

PMCOL 343 and 344, together with their prerequisite PMCOL 201, are designed to give you a thorough understanding of all of the major areas in Pharmacology. Such an understanding will prepare you for further study in more specialized courses or professional programs and can lead to a wide variety of careers including basic or applied biological and clinical research, drug development in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as work in regulatory, management, technology transfer and consultancy sectors.


Cellular Neuroscience
Fall term, T R 09:30
Coordinator: Dr W Colmers

Prerequisites: PHYSL 210 or 212 and 214 or 252 or ZOOL 242
Grading: The final grade is based on a single midterm (40%) and a final examination (60%) in multiple-choice format.


Are you interested in how the brain works? PMCOL 371 might be the course for you! The brain is a complex, fascinating organ, comprising billions of nerve cells with trillions of connections. Internationally-renowned experts in the field of Neuroscience and Neuropharmacology will explore with you how individual nerve cells actually work at the level of membrane ion channels, how they communicate by means of chemical messengers acting directly, via ligand-operated channels like the GABA receptor and indirectly, via G-protein-coupled receptors like those for serotonin and the opioids. We will examine the different kinds of interactions nerve cells can have and how their previous activity can affect their connections. Finally, we will examine what can go wrong in the brain when some of the basic mechanisms fail. Along the way, you will also learn how we learn these things. At the end of this challenging course, you will have a greater understanding of the machinery that is the substrate of your mind