conciousbreathing asked: Hi, I'm thinking of studying pharmacology at University of Toronto . or maybe Mcmaster. In general, what is it like? what do you learn ? likes and dislikes?
I’m from Australia so the courses may be slightly different, but in general initially you learn about pharmacodynamics - what a drug does to the body, so drug action at different receptors etc, how receptors work and then pharmacokinetics - what the body does to the drug, so drug metabolism. When studying that aspect you learn different drugs and their mechanism of action etc as examples of those principles.
Following this, I took the following courses: toxicology, drug design and development, drug therapy and neuropharmacology.
Toxicology involved a lot of statistics which I didn’t enjoy so much, but then you learn about biowarfare and stuff which is kinda interesting.
Drug design requires understanding of organic chemistry and I really enjoyed it, it involved understanding how the chemical structure of a drug is important to its action and how structures can be designed/changed to produce particular outcomes.
Drug Therapy was your standard this is a disease, this is a drug for it, this is how it works - ours was taught in systems, so respiratory, cardiovascular etc, I really enjoyed this subject as well and helps a lot if you have some pathology, and even immunology and microbiology knowledge.
Neuropharmacology was similar to drug therapy but specifically neuro, however it also involved in depth study of the receptors in the brain and how they differ and different transmitter systems - GABA/glutamate/serotonin/dopamine/noradrenaline, I didn’t enjoy this subject so much because I generally don’t find neuro topics very interesting.
Some people find pharmacology extremely difficult, personally it was a subject that just made sense for me and I really enjoyed it, I enjoy the fact it ties in all my other study areas - path/immuno/micro into one subject and that I was able to apply my knowledge from these other subjects. There is a lot of memory involved - drugs don’t exactly have names that are easy to remember, but you get used to it.