This Course at MIT

This Course at MIT pages provide context for how the course materials published on OCW were used at MIT. They are part of the OCW Educator initiative, which seeks to enhance the value of OCW for educators.

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 20.201 Mechanisms of Drug Actions as it was taught by Prof. Peter Dedon, Prof. Steven Tannenbaum, Dr. Mark Murcko, and Dr. Charles Knutson in Fall 2013.

This course addresses the scientific basis for the development of new drugs. The course is team-taught by four MIT instructors, and includes guest lectures by scientists in the pharmaceutical industry.

Topics covered in the course include mechanisms of action of drugs and drug classes, role of drug structure and drug transport proteins in uptake and distribution, kinetics of drug behavior in the human body, metabolism, drug interactions leading to toxicity, drug-receptor interactions, and the role of pharmacogenetics in drug actions.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

Learning Objectives:

  • Develop an understanding of the scientific basis for drug development, drug mechanisms, drug disposition and drug safety
  • Develop an appreciation for the role of pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism and drug interactions in the mechanisms of drug action
  • Understand the balance between environment and pharmacogenetics in the toxicity and therapeutic outcome associated with a drug
  • Understand factors that lead to success and failure in drug development

What do students get out of 20.201?

  • Framework for understanding "drugs"
  • Fundamental concepts of drug development and pharmacology
  • Learn the language of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries
  • Application areas for modern biological engineering, chemistry, biology
  • Opportunities to meet scientists from drug companies

Possibilities for Further Study/Careers

Students will gain preparedness for graduate work in biological engineering or industry related jobs.

 

Curriculum Information

Prerequisites

Permission of the instructor

Requirements Satisfied

It is a “Restricted Elective,” which means that it intended to prepare students for advanced graduate work. Undergraduate students in biological engineering are required to take two restricted electives.

Offered

Every fall semester

The Classroom

  • A large classroom with tiered seating, several chalkboards, and a projector.

    Lecture & Recitation

    Lectures and recitations were held in a large classroom with chalkboards and a projector.

 

Assessment

The students' grades were based on the following activities:

The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by a quiz. 30% Exam
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by homework. 20% Homework
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by a case study project. 30% Case study project
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by readings and discussion. 20% Reading and discussion of the assigned papers
 

Student Information

On average, 27 students take this course each time it is offered.

Breakdown by Year

A combination of advanced undergraduate (juniors and seniors) and graduate students studying biological engineering.

Typical Student Background

There are no formal prerequisites, but students should have knowledge of biochemistry and organic chemistry.

 

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

Lecture

3 hours per week
  • Met 2 times per week for 1.5 hours per session; 27 sessions total.
 

Recitation

1 hours per week
  • Met 1 time per week for 1 hour per session; 11 sessions total. Attendance is optional.
  • Recitations in the first half of the semester were used for reviewing lecture material and the homework, as well as quiz review.
  • In the second half of the semester the recitation session was used for discussing and managing student projects.
 

Out of Class

8 hours per week
 

Semester Breakdown

WEEK M T W Th F
1 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. Lecture session. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
2 Lecture session. No session scheduled. Lecture session. No session scheduled. Recitation session.
3 Lecture session. No session scheduled. Lecture session. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
4 Guest lecturer. No session scheduled. Guest lecturer; assignment due date. No session scheduled. Recitation session.
5 Lecture session. No session scheduled. Lecture session. No session scheduled. Recitation session.
6 Lecture session. No session scheduled. Lecture session; assignment due date. No session scheduled. Recitation session; assignment due date.
7 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. Lecture session; exam held. No session scheduled. Recitation session.
8 Lecture session. No session scheduled. Lecture session. No session scheduled. Recitation session; assignment due date.
9 Lecture session. No session scheduled. Lecture session. No session scheduled. Recitation session.
10 Lecture session. No session scheduled. Guest lecturer. No session scheduled. Recitation session.
11 No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Lecture session. No session scheduled. Recitation session.
12 Lecture session. No session scheduled. Guest lecturer. No session scheduled. Recitation session.
13 Guest lecturer. No session scheduled. Lecture session. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
14 Guest lecturer. No session scheduled. Lecture session. No session scheduled. Guest lecturer.
15 Guest lecturer. No session scheduled. Lecture session; assignment due date. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
16 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
Displays the color and pattern used on the preceding table to indicate dates when classes are not held at MIT. No classes throughout MIT
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when lecture sessions are held. Lecture session
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when guest lecturers present to the class. Guest Lecturer
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when exams are held. Exam
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when no class session is scheduled. No class session scheduled
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when recitation sessions are held. Recitation
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when assignments are due. Assignment due date