400 Level Pharmacology Course Details

PMCOL401/402 … PMCOL412 … PMCOL415 … PMCOL416 … PMCOL425 … PMCOL450 … PMCOL475


PMCOL 401/402
Pharmacology Tutorial
* These courses are identical other than that PMCOL 401 is offered in the Fall, and 402 the winter term.

Coordinator: Dr B Hubbard


Prerequisites: PMCOL 343 and 344, a GPA in the last 2 years of 3.3 or higher. Available only to students in the Pharmacology Specialization Program or at the discretion of the supervisor.

Grading: The final grade is based upon the following: laboratory performance (20%), laboratory notebook (20%), an abstract (15%) and a poster presentation (45%) on the research findings of the student.

Some of the most important skills that a student can acquire as an undergraduate are laboratory skills. "Hands-on" experience is seen as a valuable commodity by employers looking to hire recent graduates from BSc programs. With this in mind, this course provides an opportunity to work with a Faculty member on a research project during the Fall or Winter semester. The research project can be either literature- or research-based. The details of the project must be be mutually agreed upon by the student and supervisor. This is an excellent opportunity to learn current laboratory techniques, data analysis, laboratory notebook maintenance (a must for those interested in working in industry) and presentation skills. These projects typically require that the student be available for 8-10 hours per week.



Drugs and the Nervous System
Fall term, M, W, F 14:00
Coordinator: Dr S Sipione

Prerequisites: PMCOL 343 and 344 or 371 or consent of instructor

Grading: The final grade will be based on a midterm and a final examination.

No disease can be cured without knowledge of the underlying cause and molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis. The goal of PMCOL412 is to learn about the molecular basis of disorders of the nervous system, current therapies in use, as well as novel potential treatments that are in clinical trials or at the preclinical experimental stage. Research frontiers in pain and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer, Parkinson and Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and HIV-related neurodegeneration, among others, will be explored. Novel therapeutic targets and the potential treatments of tomorrow will be discussed.



Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Fall term, M W F 11:00
Coordinator: Dr R Schulz

Prerequisites: PMCOL 343 and 344

In case of limited space, preference will be given to students in the Pharmacology program.

Grading: TBA

Critical discussion and analysis of current research papers in cardiovascular pharmacology, grouped into themes. Recent developments and use of the literature will be emphasized. In-class participation during roundtable discussion to critique assigned papers is essential. Each theme will be accompanied by the students written analyses of papers assigned but not discussed in class, in the format of a condensation/critique.



Current Topics in Endocrine Pharmacology
Winter term, T R 11:00
Coordinators: Dr F Tse

Prerequiste: PMCOL 343 and 344

Grading: The final grade is based on two midterms (each 20%) and a final examination (60%), all in short essay format (about 1 page per topic).


PMCOL 416 introduces students to the primary literature (i.e. original research papers) on drugs (and their targets) that are relevant to the treatment of the endocrine dysfunctions. The topics include hormones, such as melatonin and endocannabinoids, which are typically not covered in introductory pharmacology courses. This course also highlights the development of new drug targets for the treatment of diabetes, obesity and some symptoms of aging. For each topic, an introductory lecture is followed by an instructor-led discussion of a relevant scientific or clinical paper. The students will be introduced to scientific methodologies such as transgenic mice with knock-down of specific receptors, behavioral studies, electrophysiology, as well as clinical trials. The goal of this course is to increase the students' skills in logical thinking and problem solving in the context of medical science.



PMCOL 425B1/425B2/425B3problem solving
Problem Solving Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Winter term, T R 14:00 - 15:20 / 15:30 - 16:50 /14:00 - 15:20
Coordinator: Dr M Davies, Dr H Kurata & Dr AS Clanachan

Prerequisites: PMCOL 343 and 344 and consent of instructor

This course is restricted to students in the Pharmacology Program.

Grading: There is no midterm or final examination. Marks are based on the following: a midterm paper based on one of the problems covered in class; a final paper in which the student must construct and solve a therapeutic problem; participation in the group discussions.

An important part of any undergraduate program is learning how to apply knowledge gained from several courses in a real-world manner. This is a course where senior students get to use their knowledge of pharmacology to solve problems in therapeutics. These problems typically focus on identifying the kinds of drugs used to treat certain medical conditions, identifying their mechanisms of action and determining their potential to cause side-effects. Each problem is covered in two sessions: in the first, the students discuss the problem and identify any gaps in knowledge. In the second session, they share their research on the problem and arrive at a consensus on how the problem is best solved.



Diabetes and its Pharmacotherapy
Winter Term, M W F 15:00

Coordinator: Dr PE MacDonald

Prerequisites: PMCOL 343 and PMCOL 344 or consent of instructor

Grading: Students will be required to write three papers over the course. Each section students will choose one topic for a 5 page report. The top 2 marks will be taken (and will contribute to 60% of the overall mark). The final exam (40%) will consist of a mixture of short essay questions.

The incidence of diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate in today's society. Understanding diabetes, and present and future treatments, is essential in battling this disease. This course will provide an overview of our current understanding of blood glucose homeostasis; insulin secretion and action; other important blood sugar-regulating hormones; and the pathology of diabetes. Current pharmacological approaches for lowering blood glucose will be discussed; including approaches aimed at replacing insulin, stimulating endogenous insulin production, and increasing insulin action. Finally, the latest experimental approaches, potential drug targets, and current research leading to new pharmacological approaches to the treatment of diabetes will be explored. At the end of the course, students should have an appreciation for the mechanisms that control glucose homeostasis in health and diabetes; the diversity of drug targets and mechanisms by which diabetes drugs promote glucose control, and current rationale and lines of research leading to potential new treatments.



Signal Transduction Systems as Pharmacological Targets
Winter term, M W F 11:00
Coordinator: Dr E Posse de Chaves

Prerequisites: PMCOL 343 and 344

Grading: Please contact the course coordinator.


Do you want to learn about the most advanced therapeutic approaches in development for cancer, neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, autoimmune and other diseases while overcoming the fear of complicated signaling pathways? In this course we analyze the main signaling pathways, their roles in health and disease and the therapeutic approaches targeting them.



PMCOL 498A/498B
Pharmacology Research Program
Fall and Winter terms

Prerequisites: Similar to Pharmacology 401 and 402, this course is the two-term research project that is available to Honours students only. Consent of the department is needed.
Grading: The final mark will be determined based on laboratory performance, laboratory notebook, a paper based on the research findings of the student and two ten-minute presentations based on a midterm and final examination.

You will be working side-by-side with graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and a Faculty member in one of the Department of Pharmacology research laboratories on a research project that you and your supervisor have designed. The projects are structured to provide you with the type of research experience that is vital to those who want to go on to graduate school or to work for a drug company. You will learn a variety of techniques, data management and interpretation, laboratory notebook maintenance and presentation skills.