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PSCI302 Medicinal Chemistry

Drug targets, drug lead design and discovery including computer-aided molecular modelling, key functional groups necessary for drug action, metabolism, stereochemistry and selected drug classes in medicinal chemistry.

PSCI302 builds on pharmaceutical chemistry with a focus on medicinal chemistry topics. Students will investigate the concepts of drug targets of small molecule drugs, drug design and discovery including computer-aided modelling and design, key functional groups necessary for drug action, testing of drug leads, optimisation of drug leads, metabolism, stereochemistry and selected drug classes in medicinal chemistry.

Paper title Medicinal Chemistry
Paper code PSCI302
Subject Pharmaceutical Science
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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PSCI 201 or CHEM 202
PHCY 258, CHEM 305

PSCI302 builds on the principles of pharmaceutical chemistry (PSCI201 or CHEM202) with a focus on drug design and discovery. The paper provides a strong base for further study in medicinal chemistry and can complement BSc degrees with a chemistry, pharmacology, biochemistry or biology focus.


Teaching staff

Paper Co-ordinator: Professor Joel Tyndall

Teaching Staff: Dr Sumit Dadhwal

Paper Structure

PSCI302 will be taught through lectures, laboratories and tutorials covering the following general topics,

  • Small molecule drug targets.
  • Drug-protein interactions.
  • Chemical principles of drug design and discovery.
  • Assays and screening.
  • Computational methods for drug design.
  • Commercialisation.
  • Case studies.

Recommended: Patrick, G. L. (2017) An Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry, 6th Ed, Oxford University Press.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised

Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

Learning Outcomes

By completion of this paper students will be able to,

  1. Describe how small molecule drugs interact with different biological targets in the context of the human body.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the identification and development of drug leads.
  3. Operate computational modelling techniques.
  4. Demonstrate laboratory skills relevant to medicinal pharmaceutical chemistry, including synthesis, characterisation and measurement and analysis of drug activity.
  5. Evaluates and applies scientific literature.
  6. Exhibit high level communication skills for a scientific audience.

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 9-14, 16, 18-22
Wednesday 08:00-08:50 9-14, 16-22
Thursday 10:00-10:50 9-11, 13-14, 16-18, 20-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 14:00-16:50 12, 14, 17, 19, 21


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 13:00-13:50 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20