The course consists of an eight-month interdisciplinary research project, and a taught component on drug discovery science, including lectures, research seminars and group discussion sessions.
You also attend Journal Club, which is an assessed transferable skills course, which aims to develop presentation skills, whilst encouraging scientific debate, and providing the opportunity to broaden scientific knowledge.
At each Journal Club meeting you will work in a group and make a presentation about a seminal high impact paper. This will be followed by a chaired discussion/debate about the paper.
You will be assessed on your ability to organise the presentation in a logical manner, the use of clear PowerPoint slides, the clarity of the presentation and its scientific content.
Taught modules currently offered include:
Module 1 - Introduction
- Standard Drug Discovery Model
- Small molecule drugs
- Molecular Interactions in Proteins and Enzymes
- What makes a good drug?
Module 2 – The right targets
- Overview on target validation
- Systems Approaches in Drug Discovery
- Chemical Genetics
- Target selection and Biomarkers
- Protein modelling strategies
Module 3 – The right drugs
- In silico drug design
- Structural biology for drug design
- Bioanalytical Techniques
- High throughput screening
- High content screening
- Re-purposing drugs
- Fragment-based drug design
- Whole animal imaging
- Gene therapy
Module 4 – In the clinic
- Getting drugs to market
- Financing and protecting drug discovery
- Designing Clinical Trials
- Current therapeutic challenges in...
- Cardiovascular disease
- Inflammation and COPD
- Neurodegenerative diseases
Module 5 – Forming an opinion
- Keynote lectures from high profile guest speakers covering past, future, and frontiers of the field
MULTIDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH PROJECT
The major component of the course is an eight-month long multidisciplinary research project on drug discovery and development, to be written up as a thesis.
You will select a research project from a range of proposals submitted by collaborating staff, and jointly supervised by at least one physical scientist and one scientist from the biomedical sciences or industry; the lead supervisor will be based at the College.
The projects are based entirely in the research laboratories of the supervisors, allowing you to benefit from interaction with postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers from each discipline.
You will also present your research findings at a one day MRes conference held at the beginning of September, which counts towards your overall assessment.
Satisfactory progress is monitored by a mid-term progress report completed by you and your supervisors. The course directors will regularly request feedback regarding your project progress, logistics and effectiveness of split site working, and will offer additional support whenever necessary.