Course: BIOS 561, Pharmacology

When: Tu/Th 3:30-4:45

Where: Room 1728 Wood Hall.

Instructor: John Spitsbergen

Office: 3022 Haenicke Hall

Phone: 7-2739


Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday, 9:00 to 10:00 and Thursday 11:00 to 12:00.



Course Description:


Book: Human Pharmacology: Molecular to Clinical (3rd Edition, Editors; Brody, Larner, Minneman, Neu).

Lecture Notes: Available online. Through the GoWMU portal you will see a channel called e- Learning. The link in this channel will take you to the WebCT Vista home page where you can access WebCT Vista courses.

Format: Class will normally consist of lecture with additional presentations of papers on topics related to Pharmacology.

Broad Goals:

1. Learn language and terms used to describe pharmacology.

2. Become familiar with drug receptor interactions.

3. Become familiar with dose response curves.

4. Become familiar with processes controlling duration of action for drugs.

5. Become familiar with mechanisms of drug metabolism and elimination.

6. Be able to describe items 2-6 above for a variety of therapeutic agents used by humans.


Course Objectives:

The primary concern of this course is to understand biological aspects of human pharmacology. By the end of the course students should be familiar with language used to describe pharmacological concepts and to understand how a variety of different drugs exert their effects in humans.





5 Exams:

- 100 points each

- 50 multiple choice questions per exam, two points per question

Final exam: (only need scores on 5 exams)

- 100 points

- 100 multiple choice questions per exam, one point per question

- Cumulative!


Exam Questions: Exam questions can come from lecture material, material in the book, from papers presented by Dr. Spitsbergen or papers presented by students in the class.

Note: The majority of test questions will come from the lecture material.


Extra Credit! Important!: All presentations must be scheduled with Dr. Spitsbergen.

Current Events Presentation: Find a recent article discussing a pharmacological agent (in a newspaper, magazine, on the world wide web or a program on television).


1. Write a one to two page review of the article covering the following points.

A. What was the source?

B. What compound (drug) is discussed?

C. What class does this drug belong to (i.e. depressant, stimulant, etc.)?

D. Give a simplified mechanism of action for this compound.

E. What is the main use of the drug?




2. Give a five to ten minute presentation in front of class, describing this article (use same format as outline above).

3. Points! Current events presentation are worth 10 extra credit points to be added to total score at end of semester.

4. Limit 1 presentations per student and limit of 2 presentations per class. When all times have been filled no more presentations will be scheduled!


Grading Scale:


90 to 100         A

85 to 89.4        BA

80 to 84.4        B

75 to 79.4        CB

70 to 74.4        C

65 to 69.4        DC

60 to 64.4        D

     £  59.4        E


Class Policies:

Attendance: Attendance is not required; however, exam questions may cover material presented in class, which is not contained in the book or lecture notes.

Missed Exams: The final exam will act as a makeup exam (or replacement for low grade). The final exam will be scheduled at the normal time for this course.

Final Grade: IMPORTANT! Many of you are seniors hoping to graduate this year. If you get a failing grade in this class (less than a C) you may not be able to graduate. Therefore, if you are failing on the last day to drop, you may want to consider dropping. If you are near failing at the end of class, make sure you study hard so you do not end up failing. If you fail, donít come to me after the end of the semester to try and get your grade changed. Your final grade will not be changed after the end of the semester!

Academic Honesty: You are responsible for making yourself aware of and understanding the policies and procedures in the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs that pertain to Academic Honesty. These policies include cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism, complicity and computer misuse. [The policies can be found at under Academic Policies, Student Rights and Responsibilities.] If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s). If you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with me if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test.

(The Code of Honor passed by the Faculty Senate in November 2004 and administration in December 2004, can also be found at


Note: This is a tentative schedule and may be subject to change during the semester!

Week 1

Tuesday, January 8th:             Discuss syllabus and example of paper presentation.

Thursday, January 10th:          Lecture 1: Definitions and sites of drug action (receptors).

Week 2

Tuesday, January 15th:           Lecture 2: Dose and concentration response relationships.

Thursday, January 17th:          Lecture 3: Pharmacokinetics and drug delivery strategies.

Week 3

Tuesday, January 22nd:           Lecture 4: Routes of Administration and drug dosing schedules.

Thursday, January 24th:          Exam 1: Introduction, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

Week 4

Tuesday, January 29th:           Lecture 5: Introduction to nervous system and neuromuscular junction.

Thursday, January 31st:          Lecture 6: Introduction to autonomic nervous system.

Week 5

Tuesday, February 5th:           Lecture 7: Drugs affecting parasympathetic nervous system.

Thursday, February 7th:          Lecture 8: Drugs affecting the sympathetic nervous system.

Week 6

Tuesday, February 12th:                     Exam 2: Drugs affecting transmission and function of the PNS.

Thursday, February 14th:        Lecture 9: Blood pressure regulation and antihypertensive agents.

Week 7

Tuesday, February 19th:         Lecture 10: Cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias.

Thursday, February 21st:        Lecture 11: Congestive heart failure.

Week 8

Tuesday, February 26th:         Lecture 12: Antihistamines and drugs for treatment of asthma.

Thursday, February 28th:        Exam 3: Cardiovascular pharmacology and control of asthma.

Week 9

Tuesday, March 4th and Thursday, March 6th:                  Spring Recess

Week 10

Tuesday, March 11th:             Lecture 13: Introduction to Pain systems and local anesthetics.

Thursday, March 13th:                        Lecture 14: Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Week 11

Tuesday, March 18th:             Lecture 15: General anesthetic agents.

Thursday, March 20th:                        Lecture 16: Opioid analgesics.

Week 12

Tuesday, March 25th:             Lecture 17: Control of mood disorders and anxiolytics.

Thursday, March 27th:                        Exam 4: Control of pain, mood disorders and anxiety.

Week 13

Tuesday, April 1st:                  Lecture 18: Introduction to antibiotics.

Thursday, April 3rd:                Lecture 19: Antibiotics.

Week 14

Tuesday, April 8th:                 Lecture 20: Antiviral agents.

Thursday, April 10th:              Lecture 21: Cancer chemotherapy.

Week 15

Tuesday, April 15th:               Lecture 22: Immunopharmacology.

Thursday, April 17th:              Exam 5: Chemotherapy, antimicrobial, antiviral and immuno.

Week 16

Thursday, April 22nd:             Final Exam 8:00-10:00 a.m.