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BIO8414 Drug Design and Discovery

Semester 1, 2012 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Biological & Physical Sciences
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Lindsay Brown
Moderator: Kate Kauter


The course aims to provide a thorough understanding of the ethical, chemical and biotechnological principles governing the discovery of novel therapeutic drugs and the selection, design and development of active structures required to produce the final drug products.


The course will review major aspects of the discovery and design of drugs and the role of natural products. The role of molecular interactions at target sites will be emphasised. High throughput and high content screening of candidate structures will be described together with the use of computational methods to identify desirable structures. The application of high standards of human and animal ethics will be emphasised.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Apply ethical principles associated with clinical research and in particular with preclinical and clinical testing of drugs;
  2. Understand the principles involved in drug discovery;
  3. Understand the principles involved in drug design;
  4. Understand the principles which govern molecular interactions at drug targets;
  5. Design a high throughput approach to drug screening based on a range of methodologies;
  6. Demonstrate skills in the written and oral communication of major concepts in this course.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The origin of currently available drugs, drug design and biological targets 15.00
2. Molecule-molecule recognition, intermolecular forces and biological effect 15.00
3. Molecular and chemical diversity in drug design 15.00
4. Approaches to drug design 15.00
5. Chemical modification to improve site specificity and action 10.00
6. High throughput screening in drug discovery 15.00
7. Human and animal ethical considerations in drug design and discovery 15.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 80.00
Private Study 40.00
Seminars 20.00
Tutorials 26.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Assignment 1 30 30 28 Feb 2012 (see note 1)
Assignment 2 45 45 28 Feb 2012 (see note 2)
Seminar 25 25 28 Feb 2012 (see note 3)

  1. Examiner to advise due date for Assignment 1.
  2. Examiner to advise due date for Assignment 2.
  3. Examiner to advise due date for Seminar.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, and tutorials,) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. Students do not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to be awarded a passing grade in this course. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination for this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must retain a copy of any assignment submitted. If requested, students will be required to provide a copy of assignments submitted for assessment purposes. Such copies should be despatched to USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request being made.