Frontiers in Drug Discovery


1/4 Credit Course

The discovery of a new medicine typically takes over a decade and costs more than $1 billion.  This course will provide an overview of the key steps involved in drug discovery and give an appreciation for the challenges that arise along the way. Topics include: (1) small molecules vs biologics; (2) target-based vs. phenotypic screening; (3) considerations for performing a high throughput screen (i.e., assay development; chemical library selection; natural products vs. drug-like compounds, etc); (4) approaches to triaging hits from a screen to identify leads; and (5) strategies to optimize the structure of leads to increase potency and selectivity for in vivo studies (i.e., medicinal chemistry, structure-based drug design).

Course Time and Location

Location: TBA (we hope to hold classes and meetings in person, but may do by zoom)

Class 1: Oct. 12 2-4pm: Overview & lecture (Melnyk)
Class 2: Oct. 19 2-4pm: Lecture (Melnyk/Nodwell)
Class 3: Oct. 26 2-4pm: Lecture (Melnyk)
Class 4: Nov 2 4-4pm: Student presentations
Class 5: Nov 16 2-4pm: Student presentations
Class 5: Nov 23 2-4pm: Student presentations



Course Next Offered

Fall 2021

Course Time and Location


Enrollment Limit

Yes — 12

Method of Student Evaluation

20%: In-class participation
40%: Oral presentation of a journal article
40%: Written assignment – design drug discovery project based on your own research (5 pages)


Last Updated 20 July 2021