BIOL 303
Pharmacology Fall 2024
Division III

Class Details

Pharmacology explores how molecules interact with biological systems to elicit a response. Roughly half of modern medicines are derived from metabolites with origins in nature, including drugs used to treat cancers and heart disease. In this course, we will consider these natural origins from plant, microbial, and animal sources, as well as how and why organisms synthesize these molecules. We will follow the path of molecules from biosynthesis in one organism to ingestion by another, to interactions with proteins in the body, to metabolism, and ultimately to excretion. Close examination of the molecular interactions between metabolites and proteins will allow us to explore how metabolite binding alters protein function and how genetic variation impacts bioactivity. In the first half of the semester, laboratory experiments will investigate caffeine metabolism using in vitro pharmacokinetic assays and protein structure analysis; these experiments lead up to a multi-week independent project in the second half of the semester. Readings for the lecture will come from the primary literature.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory; Three hours of lecture; three hours of lab with the possibility of occasional experiments outside of the scheduled lab time.
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 1147
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Three exams, short response papers based on in-class paper discussions, a lab notebook, a lab report based on an independent project, and an oral presentation.
Prerequisites: BIOL 202 or any two 200-level Biology courses
Enrollment Preferences: senior and then junior Biology majors
Distributions: Division III
Attributes: BIMO Interdepartmental Electives

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