Introduction to Medical Pharmacology

Introduction to Medical Pharmacology, GMS PM 730

Prereq: Premedical curriculum.

Walsh, staff. 4 cr, 1st sem.

Objectives, Assignments, and Grading

Course Objectives: This course is designed to introduce medical pharmacology to students who are pursuing degrees in the Medical Sciences. Topics will include the basic principles of pharmacology and several major classes of therapeutic agents, with attention to their mechanisms of action. Issues of current and future concern in medical pharmacology will be addressed including the sources of information about pharmacologic agents, the ethics of human experimentation, the drug development process and its costs, problems of drug abuse, and new biotechnological approaches to drug design.

Reading Assignments: The text for this course is Levine’s Pharmacology: Drug Actions and Reactions, 7th ed., Carol T. Walsh and Rochelle Schwartz-Bloom, Taylor & Francis, 2005. The book is available through e-Book resources in the library. The reading assignments for each class are indicated on the lecture schedule. Other reading assignments may be distributed in class or on the CourseInfo site.

Course Grade: The course grade will be determined from the grades for the writing assignment (20%) and the two examinations (40% each). The numerical paper grade times 0.2 plus each exam scaled score times 0.4 will be summed. This final score will be converted to a letter grade as follows: 94 and above, A; 90-93, A-; 87-89, B+; 84-86, B; 80-83, B-; 77-79, C+; 74-76, C; 70-73, C-; 60-69, D; less than 60, F.

Course Manager: Carol T. Walsh, Ph.D. – R-610, 638-4326,

Lecture Schedule

Semester 1, 2011-2012
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30-4:20 PM
Lectures in L-112

Sep 6 – Introduction and
Development of Pharmacology – Carol Walsh

Sep 8 – Drug Transport and Absorption – Carol Walsh

Sep 10 – Mechanisms of Drug Actions – Terrell Gibbs

Sep 15 – Drug Distribution and Elimination – Carol Walsh

Sep 20 – Time-Concentration Relationships – Carol Walsh

Sep 22 – Biopharmaceutics, Drug Delivery Systems, and Generic vs. Proprietary
Drugs (video) – Carol Walsh

Sep 27 – Principles of Pharmacodynamics – Terrell Gibbs

Sep 29 – Sources of Information about Drugs – Carol Walsh, David Flynn

Oct 4 – Population Pharmacology 1: Phenotype, Genotype and the Placebo Response, PK Pretest Discussion – Carol Walsh

Oct 6 – Population Pharmacology 2: Adherence, Interactions, the Allergic Response, and Mechanisms of Tolerance – Carol Walsh

Oct 8 – Pharmacology of the Autonomic Nervous System – Terrell Gibbs

Oct 13 – Pharmacology of Hypertension – Carol Walsh

Oct 18 – The Drug Development Process – Barry Berkowitz

Oct 20 – Economic Aspects of Drug Development and Drug Use – Joseph DiMasi and Paul Jeffrey

Oct 25 – Mid-Term Examination

Oct 27 – Principles of Toxicology – Carol Walsh

Nov 1 – Incidence and Treatment of Poisonings – Sophie Dyer and Carol Walsh

Nov 3 – Pharmacology of Pain and Inflammation – Carol Walsh

Nov 8 – Pharmacology of Substance Abuse and of CNS Stimulants: Caffeine, Nicotine, and Cocaine – Conan Kornetsky, Valentina Sabino

Nov 10 – Ethical Issues in the Clinical Study of Drugs – Leonard Glantz

Nov 15 – Principles of Chemotherapy – Carol Walsh

Nov 17 – Pharmacologic Approaches for Diabetes and Obesity – Alan Herbert

Nov 22 – Pharmacology of Parkinson’s Disease – Benjamin Wolozin

Nov 24 – NO CLASS – Thanksgiving Break

Nov 29 – Development and Pharmacology of Antianxiety and Antiepileptic Agents – Shelley Russek

Dec 1 – Advances in Drug Development: Neurosteroids and Treatment of Stroke (Paper due at 2:30 pm) – David Farb

Dec 6 – Advances in Drug Development: Biopharmaceuticals – Jas Seehra

Dec 8 – NO CLASS

Dec 20 – Final Examination


BERKOWITZ, Barry, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco. Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology. Formerly President and CEO, Scion Pharmaceuticals. Research interest: Drug development. 508-877-4522, 508-982-0509,

DIMASI, Joseph, Ph.D., Center for the Study of Drug Development, Tufts University, 192 South St. Suite 550, Boston, 02111.  Research interest:  Economic aspects of drug development. 636-2116 or 636-2170,

DYER, Sophia, M.D., Boston University School of Medicine, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Dowling G06, 617-343-1125,

FARB, David H., Ph.D., Brandeis University.  Professor and Chairman of Pharmacology.  Research interest:  Neurosteroids and their effects on CNS receptors.  L-603, Ext. 8-4300,

FLYNN, David.  Head of Library and Information Management Education, BUSM Alumni Library, 8-4271,

GIBBS, Terrell, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School.  Associate Professor of Pharmacology.  Research interest:  Modulation of GABA receptors.  L-606, Ext. 8-5325,

GLANTZ, Leonard, J.D., Boston University. Professor of Public Health.  Research interest:  Medical ethics and health law. A4, Ext. 8-4640,

HERBERT, Alan, MB.ChB., Ph.D. Research interest: Effect of genomic variants on risk of disease and drug response. Associate Professor of Pharmacology. R-610,

JEFFREY, Paul L., Pharm.D., Duquesne University.  Former Director of the Pharmacy, Boston Medical Center. Pharmacy Consultant, Massachusetts Division of Medical Assistance, Office of Clinical Affairs, 600 Washington Street, Room 5333, Boston 02111, 617-210-5319, Assistant, Nancy McDonald,, 617-210-5695

KORNETSKY, Conan, Ph.D., University of Kentucky.  Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology) and Pharmacology.  Research interest:  Effects of drugs on behavior, substances of abuse, and antipsychotic drugs.  R-620, Ext. 8-4320,

RUSSEK, Shelley, Ph.D., Boston University. Professor of Pharmacology.  Research interest:  Regulation of genes for CNS receptors.  L-606, Ext. 8-4319,

SABINO, Valentina, Ph.D., Boston University, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology. Research interest: Neurobiology of addiction and stress-related disorders. R-612, Ext. 8-4327,

SEEHRA, Jas, Ph.D., Formerly Chief Scientific Officer, Acceleron Pharma, 149 Sidney Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, 617-649-9202,

WALSH, Carol T., Ph.D., Boston University. Professor of Pharmacology.  Research interest:  Pharmacokinetics, gastrointestinal pharmacology, metal toxicology.  R-610, Ext. 8-4326,

WOLOZIN, Benjamin, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology. Research interest: Pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. R-614,


BIGDELI, Kristina F., M.A., Boston University, Academic Coordinator, Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics. L-603, Ext. 8-4301,