PHAR30080 Pharmacology of Neurodegenerative and Psychiatric Illness

Academic Year 2024/2025

This module forms part of the Stage 3 core curriculum in Pharmacology and Neuroscience B.Sc. degree programmes. The course introduces the student to the basic neurobiology and current treatment strategies for neurodegenerative and psychiatric brain disorders including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, ischaemia, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. The student will also learn about anaesthetics and analgesics, drug classes that achieve sedation/unconsciousness and pain relief, respectively, by inhibiting nerve function. Practical classes measure the effects of drugs on the enzyme glutamine synthetase, and on gastrointestinal muscle. Students are also trained to analyse drug effects on animal behaviour, based on video recordings.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Describe the neurobiology of psychotic, neurotic and mood disorders and review current therapeutic approaches to their treatment.
2. Describe the neurobiology of neurodegenerative disorders and their treatment.
3. Explain the role of excessive neural activity in epilepsy and ischaemia and assess current therapeutic approaches employed to treat these brain disorders.
4. Describe the pharmacology of anaesthetic and analgesic drug classes.
5. Demonstrate laboratory skills in line with the practical component of the module.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The theoretical content of this module is delivered by lectures. The lectures are complemented by laboratory sessions which are designed to develop laboratory skills, both technical and analytical. Students write reports on each laboratory session which encourages the development of scientific writing skills. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

see recommendations

Learning Recommendations:

It is recommended that students taking this module have an understanding of the autonomic nervous system and are familiar with the basic principles of pharmacology (pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics).

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
PHAR30060 - CNS Diseases

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade

Not yet recorded.

Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will be given individual feedback on their lab reports.

Name Role
Dr Olga Baron Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Gary Brennan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor John Crean Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Keith Murphy Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Paula Ventura da Silva Tutor