Pharmacology BSc/MSci

CNS Neurotransmitters and Drug Development 4Y option BIOL4032

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores the broad range of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators that are active in the CNS, the ways in which clinically and experimentally used drugs interact with these molecules to alleviate CNS disorders and/or produce undesired effects, and emerging classes of drugs that interact with endogenous neurotransmitter systems. 


There are normally 3 hours of teaching on Fridays, which may be split over more than one session. 

Excluded Courses



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

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

This course aims to provide students with a detailed understanding of neurotransmission within the CNS and how drugs that modulate neurotransmitter function can be used to treat CNS disorders. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Discuss the key proteins and processes that serve as drug targets in the CNS;

■ Assess the relative contributions of individual neuromodulators and neurotransmitter systems to the functioning of the CNS in health and disease;

■ Evaluate the mechanisms of action, efficacy and adverse effects of current experimental drugs and licensed medications and their utility in the exploration of CNS function and the treatment of CNS disorders;

■ Critically appraise the therapeutic potential that resides within individual neuromodulators and neurotransmitter systems in terms of future CNS drug development.

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.