Pharmacology BSc/MSci

Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics 4A option BIOL4024

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will examine how understanding disease pathology in the cardiovascular system can lead to the development of new or improved therapeutic agents. Sessions will cover the latest research on a particular topic and will explore how this research can be applied to the development of drugs.


This option is assigned to block S2-A. There are normally 3 hours of teaching on Mondays, which may be split over more than one session. 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by means of a 2-hour examination (75%) and a written in-course assessment (25%).

The written assignment will be in the form of a newspaper or blog-style "story" on one of the taught topics or a current newsworthy story in the field of science or drug development. Students will be asked to distil their knowledge into a form and style which can be read and understood by the general public but still convey the exciting and translational nature of the topic. 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aim of this option is to explore disease pathology in the cardiovascular system and how this can lead to the development of new or improved therapeutic agents.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to: 

■ Discuss the main processes in the development of atherosclerosis and the therapeutic options; 

■ Discuss the role of perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) in regulation of vascular tone and how this can go awry in diseases such as diabetes and obesity; 

■ Discuss how vascular tone is influenced by disease and how exercise can be beneficial; 

■ Discuss the pathogenesis of cardiac arrhythmias and how drugs can be beneficial; 

■ Discuss the therapeutic modalities for treating coronary heart disease such as stenting and how drugs may be used to reduce complications; 

■ Discuss the effect of hypoxia on the sphingolipid system and the interactions between sphingolipids and the endocannabinoid system;

■ Discuss the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and the counter-regulatory system and how these are involved in cardiovascular disease and can be targeted by drugs; 

■ Discuss how vascular structure and substances such as collagen may be important determinants of risk of stroke. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.