Pharmacology 3B06


Pharmacology is an experimental discipline and we are going to teach you some experimental skills. You will also be expected to learn to interpret experimental data, to design your own experiments and to communicate your results. You will simultaneously be developing relevant knowledge through your work in 3A06. These two courses, 3A06 and 3B06 are companion courses in the truest sense and you must be prepared to transfer learning from one to the other throughout your progress this year.

So far as it is possible we have tried to make 3B06 "problem-based", and as such it will probably be unlike any lab course you have taken previously. Don't expect it to be easy, you will be required to do a lot of work both inside the laboratory and out. You will be expected to come to the sessions prepared for what you are about to do. Each exercise has a specific set of learning objectives that you must demonstrate you have attained.

Your lab group will need to function essentially like a tutorial group in defining relevant issues, seeking out resources, evaluating information obtained etc. If you want to meet the objectives of the course you will have to ask questions of the teaching staff. Remember that we are here to help you learn. In deciding what methods to use you should consider the strengths and weaknesses of each method as they relate to your experiments and make a choice on the basis of your understanding. You won't achieve much if you don't follow the instructions in the manual but aside from these never select a method or an explanation merely because someone has told you it's correct. Understand. Ask for help with your understanding, that's what teaching and learning are about. If you merely follow instructions, regardless of their quality you risk being penalised.

The exercises you will perform during weeks 2 to 16 have been designed to provide a balance in your learning between the areas of process (how to obtain knowledge in the experimental laboratory context), knowledge (a theoretical understanding of basic concepts in pharmacology) and skills (the ability to operate certain types of equipment and understand the data produced). To do this and to simultaneously maintain an acceptable workload we have had to make the experiments you will be doing, in a sense, "unreal". This means that you will not personally perform every step needed to take each experiment from beginning to end, much will be done for you. Even where not specifically outlined in the objectives you should make all reasonable effort to familiarize yourself with the theory and practice of what has been done on your behalf.


This course will teach you:
  • Some experimental skills
  • How to interpret experimental data
  • How to write a scientific report
  • How to design your own experiments
To be successful you must:
  • Come to the sessions prepared
  • Ask questions
  • Make an effort to understand
  • Transfer learning from other courses
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