Skip to main content

Learning Pathways

Questions about how to register? Check out our FAQ page

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.

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. 

Chemical Synthesis

This module will discuss chemical synthesis, particularly solution phase parallel synthesis? and combinatorial chemistry? peptide synthesis?. Some other topics include, solid supports?, solid phase organic synthesis?, solution phase parallel synthesis?, phase switch, polymer and silica-based reagents/scavengers?, ion-exchange chromatography (SPE), fluorous-tagged reagents/scavengers & technology?, microwave-assisted organic synthesis (MAOS)?, applications to total synthesis & drug discovery, and finally peptide synthesis. We recommend taking the Principles of Medical Chemistry module before beginning this module if you do not have a chemistry background.

Clinical Pharmacology

Clinical and basic pharmacology share much common ground yet, there are also some particular differences—one of the differences in the culture between clinical and basic pharmacologists. Basic pharmacologists choose their experimental preparations with care and minimize potential sources of variation. Factors like species, age, sex, and so on can be extensively standardized. However, clinical pharmacologists deal with huge numbers of human subjects to translate reliable conclusions. The endpoint of interest is a clinical outcome. Some examples of these outcomes include stroke, death, or myocardial infarction, with tens of thousands of subjects enrolled in clinical trials.Furthermore, there are many fields in which clinical pharmacologists are engaged. Some of these fields include health policy, pharmacovigilance, safety pharmacology, and human clinical trials, including pivotal Phase III efficacy studies. The topics mentioned above are some of the strengths of clinical pharmacology. Despite the fundamental similarities between basic and clinical pharmacology, it is necessary to facilitate engagement that melds the two different perspectives. Therefore, we created this course to highlight some of the key areas of clinical pharmacologist for basic scientists. This course is taught by Vanderbilt’s Clinical Pharmacology Fellows and is meant to serve as a surface a few key areas of clinical pharmacology. Learning objective: (1)Identify the intersection of basic pharmacology and practical applications to clinical pharmacology, (2) Utilize databases and medication references at Vanderbilt that aid in the practice of clinical pharmacology, (3)Defend the clinical action plan for a clinical case report

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.

Digital Science Communication

In this course, students learn the skills required for modern, digital scientific communications, including video production, public speaking in a virtual environment, creating posters, and writing abstracts. Students will review scientific information presented in professional and popular media and will produce drafts of videos, presentations, abstracts, and posters. In addition to learning effective communication, students will learn to evaluate the quality of science presentations available across various media from popular media (news, magazines, blogs) to professional sources (scientific journals). Learning objective: Students will produce a short video, give a brief virtual presentation, and create an early draft of an abstract and a poster for their summer experience.

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.

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. Valerie Kramlinger, Ph.D. is currently a Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK) scientist at Amgen. In this course, Dr. Kramlinger leads students through DMPK concepts. Additionally, F. Peter Guengerich, the Tadashi Inagami Professor of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the Associate Editor for The Journal of Biological Chemistry since 2006, will introduce concepts of enzyme Kinetics, a central component to understanding pharmacology and drug discovery. The overall course objectives include topics like the mechanism of drug actions, inhibitors, key parameters for measuring the efficiency of action, how enzyme metabolism can make drugs more toxic, and the application of these concepts in drug distribution, absorption, bioavailability, and multiple dosing. Overall this course will provide an introduction to DMPK and drug discovery.

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.

Enzyme Kinetics

Drug development is a long and expensive process that starts with the identification of a hit compound endowed that hinders the development of a given disease and proceeds through subsequent rounds of structural changes and optimization until the desired pharmacological properties are reached (lead compound. The precise mechanism of action studies, as well as quantitative measurement of the performance of the compound against its target, requires Enzyme Kinetic and therefore essential component of the drug development process. F. Peter Guengerich, the Tadashi Inagami Professor of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the Associate Editor for The Journal of Biological Chemistry since 2006, will introduce concepts of Enzyme Kinetics, a central component to understanding pharmacology and drug discovery. The overall course objectives include topics like the mechanism of drug actions, inhibitors, key parameters for measuring the efficiency of action, how enzyme metabolism can make drugs more toxic, and the application of these concepts in drug distribution, absorption, bioavailability, and multiple dosing. Overall this course will provide an introduction to enzyme kinetics as a key component of drug discovery.

Experimental Design and Hypothesis Testing in Drug Discovery

At each of the stages of research, scientific rigor and reproducibility are critical, particularly as the financial and ethical stakes rise throughout the drug development and development. Intentional actions are needed to educate the next generation of scientists about principles that contribute to scientific rigor and reproducibility, particularly in the area of drug discovery and development. Bruce Damon is the instructor for this course and is the Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Biomedical Engineering. He is the Director of the Chemical and Physical Biology Program. This course will cover the many challenges that face the future of science, including retaining public trust in the scientific process. Through a case-study approach, this course can help educate the next generation of science and build a renewed confidence in scientific inquiry.

Intellectual Property and Patents

The course will introduce you to the basic concepts of intellectual property and the patent process relevant to pharmaceuticals. You will gain an overview of current issues, explore case studies, and develop skills and approaches that can be applied to future drug discovery efforts.

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.

Ion Channels

Ion channels critically regulate essential physiological processes, underlie numerous acquired and inherited human diseases, and represent important targets for clinically used drugs and emerging experimental tool compounds. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to fundamental concepts in ion channel electrophysiology, including Ohm’s Law, the Nernst Equation, the Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz equation, the Current equation, voltage-clamp electrophysiology, the importance of membrane capacitance, time-constants, and length-constants in neurological function, as well as high-throughput screening methods for discovering novel small-molecule ion channel modulators. Historical and modern research articles illustrating the importance of rigorous and reproducible experimental design and statistical methods and limitations, and quantitative literacy will also be discussed. The course will be taught by Jerod Denton, Ph.D., who is Professor of Anesthesiology, Professor of Pharmacology, and Director of Ion Channel Pharmacology at the Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery.

Management and Business Principles for Scientists - Beta version

Management and Business Principles for Scientists - Beta version

Organs-on-Chips in Drug Discovery

An organ-on-a-chip (OOC) is a multi-channel 3-D microfluidic cell culture chip that simulates the activities, mechanics and physiological response of entire organs and organ systems, a type of artificial organ with multiple applications in drug discovery and development. Professor John Wikswo is the A. B. Learned Professor of Living Physics, a Gordon A. Cain University Professor, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and the Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education (VIIBRE). For the past 40 years, John Wikswo has worked on measurements and modeling in bioengineering and electrophysiology, initially at the scale of humans and dogs, then with rodents, and more recently at the level of nanoliter bioreactors and individual cells. John Wikswo's research effort focuses on systems biology, primarily from the perspective of organs-on-a-chip and the optimization of automated systems for combined experimental control and inference of quantitative metabolic and signaling models to help us better span the breadth of spatiotemporal scales of systems biology, toxicology, and pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. The goal of this course is to explore the importance of organs-on-chips and a systems biology perspective in drug discovery and development. The learning objectives for this course are utilizing the online platform to get the most out of the course, understanding the concept of multidimensional phase space, defining organs-on-chips in the context of systems biology, describing the history and complexity of biology and how this relates to drug discovery and development, and finally predicting how organs-on-chips will impact drug discovery in the future.

Planning Your Scientific Journey

Being successful as a scientist requires more than acquiring knowledge and developing experimental skills. It also requires: (1) asking a good scientific question, (2) establishing a clear plan of action, and (3) seeking advice along the way. These three topics are the focus of iBiology's course, "Planning Your Scientific Journey." Through customizing the iBiology content, we provide summer 2020 undergraduate students an opportunity to explore these topics during their virtual experience. The goal of this course is to have our Summer Undergraduate virtual research student explore research questions that interest them, define potential career goals, and to network with mentors and faculty that can support their scientific journey. Learning goal: Students will develop a personalized science career journey with goals and dates that can be used for future personal growth.

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.

Hear the latest from DDO!
You will receive monthly updates on the latest courses, certifications, and workshops developed by our Team. In each newsletter, we will share a new video clip with you, a behind-the-scenes look into the course production, and an interview with a Drug Discovery Online faculty member, staff member, or student. Sign up to learn more!
Never display this again