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Drug Discovery: Treating Human Disease Through Medicine

This course is expected to run but has not yet been scheduled.

Course Description

Whether you’re pursuing a career in research or medicine, this award-winning class will give you a “behind the scenes” look into drug discovery and prescription medicine. You will learn biological pathways of the most prevalent diseases affecting society and how drugs are being developed to treat these aliments. By course end, you will have developed a fundamental understanding of various disease states, their current drug regimens and how these treatments came into existence.

In particular, in this course, we will:

• Learn about the key diseases confronting society today
• Conduct hands-on tissue dissections and in-class demonstrations with implantable drug delivery devices
• Tour industrial and university laboratories to learn where and how medicines are invented
• Bring in leading experts from industry and academia to share their knowledge, experience, and perspectives on careers in science
• Explore the drug design process from bench top to bedside
• Research controversial drug treatments and their associated toxicology vs. efficacy
• Highlight the path to achieving your professional aspirations

We will investigate biology in drug discovery from the vantage point of the pharmaceutical scientist, research biologist, and clinician. We will use simple frameworks to examine biological pathways, pathologies and current treatments for major maladies such as diabetes, heart disease, ophthalmological disorders, and microbial infections. The second half of the course will emphasize diseases of the nervous system, a “final frontier” in pharmacology. We will explore biological underpinnings of depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s, and consider why modern medicine cannot fully cure these neurological disorders.

We will also discuss practical considerations of drug development, for example:

• Why are you advised to take some drugs with food, while others restrict particular foods (such as grapefruit juice)?
• Why do medicines work for some patients and not for others?
• Why do some drugs come as tablets, some as gel-caps, and still others require injection?
• Why does alcohol interact with prescription drugs?
• Why are some illnesses still “untreatable”?
• Why do drugs have side effects and are they predictable?

We will answer these questions and many more while learning the basic principles of pharmaceutical sciences.

There are no prerequisites for this course, but a background in high school biology and/or chemistry may be advantageous.

*Please note: This course has a Material Fee of $150.00.