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Unit information: Pharmacology of ion channels and synaptic transmission in 2020/21

Unit name Pharmacology of ion channels and synaptic transmission
Unit code PHPH30002
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Sheppard
Open unit status Not open

PHPH20011 Principles of Pharmacology 2A



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


Students study advanced topics covering the pharmacology of ion channels and synaptic transmission. Lectures examine how drugs affect the function of a number of ion channels (including potassium and calcium channels), the roles these channels play in regulating transmitter release, examples of diseases caused by mutations in ion channels, the fundamental properties of transmitter release and synaptic transmission, and how drugs can be used to modify the operation of channels and transmitter release in the treatment of disease.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • An in-depth knowledge and understanding of the advanced topics covered in the unit and an ability to keep abreast with recent developments in the relevant field.
  • The ability to gather information from the primary scientific literature and to critically evaluate the material and appraise competing theories.
  • The ability to integrate information from multiple sources and disseminate it in written accounts.
  • An understanding of the importance of specialist ion channel and synaptic pharmacology.

Teaching details

Lectures, practicals

Assessment Details

Timed assessment 90%

The unit will be assessed through a timed assessment in May/June, which contributes 90% of the unit mark.

Coursework 10%

Essay or Data Analysis or Figure Interpretation question

Reading and References

Reviews and primary articles from the current scientific literature (updated by individual lecturers on an annual basis).