Human biology , Biology

Your final assignment is to write an (~2000 words) on any drug that is currently approved by the FDA, describing how the drug works based on the mechanisms of human biology described in the class and how these mechanisms relate to the biological activity, side effects, utility, experience with the drug.

  • This paper should demonstrate your knowledge of one or more of the mechanisms described in this class and your ability to apply this knowledge.
  • Write clearly, use a technical vocabulary, and demonstrate that you understand this vocabulary by explaining technical terms in the text or providing a list of definitions. Do not use words if you do not understand them.
  • The text should be thoroughly referenced and should include at least two articles from the scientific or medical literature in addition to web sites. You may use Wikepedia as a web reference.
  • You may use diagrams to illustrate technical points. Diagrams should comprise no more than 2 pages of the paper and must include a caption in your own words explaining the elements of the diagram and its relevance to your paper.
  • Grading will be based on: (numbers are approximate)

30-40% Explaining mechanism of drug action at a molecular level based on an understanding of mechanisms described in class.

25-30% Explaining why the mechanism of drug action is useful in treating the diseases and/or how why it causes side effects listed in the product label.

32-30% Relevance of the above to individuals, industry, society.

10-20% Organization of paper.

  • The more you can demonstrate an understanding of the science underlying the drug's actions, the higher your grade. Hint: picking a drug that is relevant to the topics we covered in class will make this project easier.
  • The more you can connect the biology of the drug to issues that are relevant to you, individuals, businesses, or public policy, the higher your grade.
  • A well organized and efficient writing style will improve your grade.
  • Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will include not only appropriating text verbatim from your sources, but also appropriating ideas without understanding or citation. It is not difficult to identify your sources if you use technical words that you don't understand and appropriate ideas out of context.
  • Papers must be submitted to Dr. Ledley by email no later than 5:00 on Reading Day. Late submissions must be approved in advance or may be penalized 5% of their grade for each day not submitted.

How to start:

  • Pick a drug that is interesting to you to research and write about. Note: If there is some other topic in human biology that is of particular personal interest that you would like to research (for example, some students have chosen to work on diseases that are of particular personal concern), these may be acceptable topics - see me to discuss.
  • Email me with your choice of drug for approval. I will try to send you a review article from the medical literature that can give you some background on the drug's use and a current reference list.
  • Begin your work by reading the product label for your drug. This will describe the nature of the product (e.g. small molecule or biological - i.e. protein), how it is used, and key issues in use of the drug. The Physicians Desk Reference is a standard reference for products on the market. This will give you valuable background on the drug and the issues related to the drug. You can describe relevant information from the product label in your report - do not simply copy large amounts of information from the label that is not relevant. For example, unless the dosage form, color, and shape of the pill is relevant to your report (and unless you are writing about the marketing of Prilosec, Nexium, or Viagra, the color of the pill is not relevant), don't include it in your report.

Among the topics you may want to address in your report are:

  • Describe the drug, it's molecular structure, and why the structure is relevant to its mechanism of action or applications. For example, e.g. Is it a small molecule or a protein? It is an enzyme, hormone, neurotransmitter, competitive inhibitor, non-competitive inhibitor, substrate, cofactor, etc. It is often useful to include a picture of the drug molecule (if it is a small molecule) or the sequence, 3D structure of the product if it is a protein.
  • Describe the clinical indications for the drug. For example, what does it do in the body? What conditions or diseases does it treat?
  • Describe how it works. For example, does it affect gene expression, metabolic pathways, or the electrical properties of membranes? What is the target for the drug? Does it bind to a receptor, enzyme, transporter? Does it alter the activity of a pathway? Does it alter the electrical potential of a membrane? What tissue(s) does it effect?
  • What are the intended consequences of administering the drug? For example, why does this drug treat a particular clinical condition or disease? How does the mechanism of action relate to this action?
  • What are the unintended consequences of administering the drug? Are there side effects? How does the mechanism of action relate to these side effects?
  • Describe aspects of the drug that are relevant or interesting? For example, how it is used, why it is used, who uses it, do you have personal experience with the drug or know someone who has personal experience, is it used legally or illegally, how it is sold (prescription, non-prescription), how it was developed, how it is marketed, what is the completion, how is it priced, how is it made, are there public policy, regulatory, ethical, or legal issues in its use.
  • Your paper should we well organized and coherent. While I usually will not deduct points for spelling or grammar, I do expect you to make an effort to present a professional work, and points will be given if there is a logical flow of your ideas, connections between sentences and paragraphs, and a clear organization. Consider using subject headings in your text and including these in a short "table of contents" on the first page.
Posted Date: 2/26/2013 6:07:05 AM | Location : United States







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