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Learning Pathways

DDO learning pathways

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001. Introduction to Drug Discovery and Development

Welcome to Drug Discovery and Development! This module will be your introduction to this topic and a starting point for the rest of the content developed by Drug Discovery Online. We intend to provide you with the knowledge, applications, and appreciation of biochemical and molecular biology principles to modern biomedical and biotechnology problems. Completing this module will begin your journey exploring concepts and additional resources that support careers in diverse areas within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

002. Principles of Medicinal Chemistry

This module will provide a condensed overview of how novel, pharmacologically active molecules are designed to treat human diseases. From first principles of drug action to design and development of potential therapeutics, an overview of modern medicinal chemistry will be presented.

003. Chemical Lead Optimization

The Lead optimization module is a critical process that results in identifying preclinical candidates early in the drug discovery process. Once they are identified through hit-to-lead efforts, the most promising hit series advances into the lead optimization stage of drug discovery. This stage extensively optimizes both the biological activity and the lead series' properties through both in vitro and in vivo assays screening. This module will provide an overview of the lead optimization process. 

004. Chemical Synthesis

Chemical Synthesis, taught by Craig Lindsley, will discuss chemical synthesis, particularly solution phase parallel synthesis, microwave-assisted organic synthesis (MAOS), and peptide synthesis. Some other topics covered in this course include solid phase organic synthesis, solid supports, polymer and silica-based reagents/scavengers, ion-exchange chromatography (SPE), fluorous-tagged reagents/scavengers, and other applications to total synthesis & drug discovery.

We highly recommend taking the Principles of Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Lead Optimization before beginning this course. If you are a little rusty in organic chemistry, it might be beneficial to review nucleophilic acyl substitutions reactions before beginning the peptide chemistry portion. 

006. Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics - Level 0

Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK) is a scientific discipline once primarily associated with safety evaluation in drug development that has, in the last two decades, become a core discipline within drug discovery, development, and even post-marketing. Valerie Kramlinger, Ph.D. is currently a Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK) scientist at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. In this course, Dr. Kramlinger leads students through DMPK concepts. Additionally, other Vanderbilt faculty members and content experts will contribute to the course content. The overall course aims to explore the application of DMPK concepts in drug distribution, absorption, bioavailability, and multiple dosing. Students will walk away from this course with an introduction to DMPK and drug discovery.

007. Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics - Level 1

Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK) is a scientific discipline once primarily associated with safety evaluation in drug development that has, in the last two decades, become a core discipline within drug discovery, development, and even post-marketing. This module will cover the basic principles of drug administration, absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion. In addition, the steps needed to design a Pharmacokinetic (PK) study to aid in the development of a lead drug candidate are summarized here. Lastly, drug metabolism and clearance are covered in great depth.

008. Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics - Level 2

As a Level 2 course offered in Drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, this course focuses on a higher-level discussion of the study of the biochemical and physiological effects of drugs and the mechanisms of their actions. The quantitative aspects of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion will be discussed. Briefly, the course will cover the philosophy of pharmacokinetic modeling and its application. An overview of the structure, function, and regulation of major drug metabolic enzymes and transporters will also be emphasized through case-studies.

009. Current Perspectives on Drug Discovery Targets

When given the complex tasks of designing a novel pharmaceutical drug used to treat a specific disease, where does one begin? In this module, Professor Lindsley outlines various strategies used by scientists here at the WCNDD to develop new potential treatments for patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, Rett’s Syndrome, and schizophrenia.

10. Case Studies in Drug Discovery

Discoveries tend to originate from the most unusual beginnings, but none seem to follow the same path. This module provides selected case study examples of small molecule and biotech molecule development from discovery to market. We conclude this module by reviewing what these discoveries teach in terms of informing about the process.