Medicinal chemistry is an interdisciplinary subject, requiring an understanding of chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, biology, mathematics, statistics, and computing! In this unique course, you will have the opportunity to develop your knowledge of and skills in all of these areas! The course is divided roughly into three sections:
1. Pharmacology Basics: during this section, you will be introduced to concepts in organic chemistry, the structure and classifications of drugs, and the basics of ADME -- absortion, distribution, metabolism, and elimination. Topics include:
- Organic chemistry functional groups
- Physiology of how drugs work in the body
- Computational pharmacokinetics
2. Drug Design, Modification, and Optimization: this section is the heart of the course. During this section, we'll look at how lead drugs are identified, modified, and optimized for a wide range of conditions. We'll review some acid/base chemistry, especially as pertains to the human body, learn how to perform conformational analyses on drugs, perform a quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) statistical study, and use a variety of powerful online tools to analyze the properties of drugs.
3. Pharmacogenomics: in this final section, we'll investigate topics from genomics, including how DNA works, how proteins are structured, and the role of genetic mutations on human disease. We'll use a variety of computational biology (bioinformatics) tools to investigate the genetic of disease, and then apply that knowledge to the design of drugs. With a little luck, we'll be able to do some protein docking!
In addition to homework activities, labs, quizzes, and journal article reading, the main goal of this course is for students to be able to work in a group setting to successfully complete a medicinal chemistry scenario. Playing a variety of roles -- medicinal chemist, clinical pharmacologist, computational chemist, etc. -- the course will culminate with students doing a thorough analysis of some drug and preparing a technical report for a (fictitious) customer.