Freshman Seminar, Spring 2017
A History of Drug Discovery

    COURSE TIME: Thursday 5:10-7:00 pm.
    COURSE LOCATION: Physics 416

    INSTRUCTOR: Richard Scalettar
    OFFICE: Physics-Geology 409.
    OFFICE HOURS: Monday, 3:00-4:00 pm, 409 Physics

    Tentative Schedule:
    Thursday, April 6:
    Introductions. General discussion of course.
    Video (14 minutes) "A cure for no cures"
    Video (18 minutes) "Reimagining pharmaceutical Innovation"
    First Reading Assigned: "History of Drug Discovery and Development" by Rick Ng.

    Thursday, April 13:
    Student presentations following up on Section A1.1 of Week One reading: Chinese, Egyptian, Indian, Greek Medicine; or Section A1.2: drug discovery in the early church and in Arabian medicine. Select one of the paragraphs in Ng's article and expand upon it: What sorts of drugs were discovered by different cultures? How were they discovered and by whom? Did they work? If yes, how? Are they still used? Etc.
    Second Reading Assigned: "The Changing Role of Chemistry in Drug Discovery," an interview with Cathy Tralua-Stewart (Imperial College, London), Derek Lowe (researcher and blogger), David Leahy (CEO, Molplex), Allan Moorman (Alta Vetta Pharmaceutical Consulting), Alex Tropsha (University of North Carolina), and Paul Leeson (AstraZeneka).
    This will give some background to Dr. Heather Harris' talk in the following week.

    Thursday, April 20:
    Discussion led by Dr. Heather Harris, researcher in pharmaceutical industry (Pfizer).
    Third Reading Assigned: "Early Drug Discovery and the rise of pharmaceutical chemistry."

    Thursday, April 27:
    Student presentations. Select one of the early scientists profiled in the Third Reading: von Liebig (chloroform), Liebreich (chloral hydrate), von Bayer (barbituric acid), Kekul\'e (aromatic rings), von Mering (barbital), Etc. Discuss what they accomplished. Was there something interesting about their background? What led them to do research into drugs?

    Thursday, May 4:
    Video: Why Prescription Drugs Cost So Much
    Be prepared to discuss: What do you think about the costs of health care and the United States health care system in general? What do you know about President Obama's "Affordable Health Care Act"? Was it good/bad? What are the elements of President Trump's planned replacement?

    Thursday, May 11:
    Presentation by Genentech Campus Ambassadors and discussion.
    Fourth Reading Assigned: "Drug Discovery: A Historical Perspective", by Juergen Drews.
    This is the most technical of all the readings.

    Thursday, May 18:
    Student Presentations. Select one of the technical aspects in the Fourth Reading and explain what it really means. For example: What is a 'structural pathway'? What is a 'receptor'? What are 'disease genes'? Etc.

    Thursday, May 25:
    Presentation by Courtney Manning, Allison Lee, Megan Tsao, and Wahib Ead on applying to pharmacy school (much of the information/advice will be pertinent to other graduate programs): personal statements, extracurriculars, getting letters of recommendation, interview preparation, and school research. In terms of pharmacy school specifics, she will talk about the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test), PharmCAS (Pharmacy College Admission System), and supplemental applications.

    Thursday, June 1:
    Discussion led by Libby Drumm, Pharm.D., recent Thomas Jefferson pharmacy school graduate, and grad-intern pharmacist at CVS.

    Thursday, June 8:
    Closing discussions. Course summary.


    History of Drug Discovery and Development
    Early Drug Discovery and the Rise of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
    Drug Discovery: A Historical Perspective
    The Changing Role of Chemistry in Drug Discovery