module specification

CH6009 - Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 300
93 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
207 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 25%   Written practical report (2000 words)
In-Course Test 25%   In class progress test (1 hour)
Unseen Examination 35%   Unseen exam (2 hours)
Coursework 15%   Written practical reports (2000 words)
Running in 2018/19

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This first half of this module focuses in detail on the structures and chemical reactivity of all the important groups of natural products (alkaloids, flavanoids, terpenes, carbohydrates, amino acids and proteins). The medicinal chemistry lectures will concentrate in detail on the molecular mechanisms by which drugs act in the body, and the various strategies used in drug design.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.

The module aims to give an in-depth understanding of the principal roles played in biology by each different group of natural products. The module aims to enhance students’ awareness of the major role played by chemistry in the treatment of diseases. The module aims to provide students with the skills needed to critically assess the whether or not a natural product or a synthetic compound may be regarded as a potential drug candidate.

The module aims to provide students with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment through the requirement of the following: the exercising of initiative and personal responsibility, decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts, and the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.


An in-depth look at the different classes of natural products, in particular alkaloids, flavonoids, and terpenes. There will be particular emphasis on their key roles in living systems, especially their medicinal applications.

A brief survey of the history of medicinal chemistry from its origins in the use of natural products to molecules derived from computer-assisted design techniques. Use of data derived from approaches such as Hammet, QSAR/Hansch analysis, X-ray crystallography and computer modelling, to determine whether a bio-active molecule may be a good candidate for clinical development.

A variety of drugs are chosen to exemplify their synthesis, mode of action and clinical impact. These include areas such as centrally acting drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics. Special emphasis is also given to: anti-malarial agents such as (+) Qinghaosu, H2-histamine antagonists like cimetidine (Tagamet TM) and ranitidine
(Zantac TM), penicillins, the potent anti-viral acyclovir, HIV-reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors and anti-thrombotic peptidomimetics.

Examination of the individual steps needed to be taken, from the discovery of a potential new drug, to its approval and marketing. Themes such as rational drug design, targeted synthesis, early biological evaluation, identification of structural leads, and lead optimization progressing to the identification of a clinically viable drug candidate, combinatorial chemistry and high throughput screening in drug discovery are examined.

Learning and teaching

Acquisition of knowledge of the subject matter of this module will be promoted through  lectures (60 hours) and tutorial workshops (20 hours); laboratory practical classes (24 hours) and through the guided use of student-centred learning resources (184 hours). Self managed time and private study should be spread out over the whole year and not left until the final weeks.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module the students will be able to:

  1. Understand how the physico-chemical properties of the various natural products are directly related to their molecular structures, and be able to predict in detail how a newly discovered natural product might behave in a biological system [A1, A3].
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the chemical synthesis, pharmacological action and clinical properties of drugs [A2, A3].
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of pre-clinical and clinical development of a drug, and the criteria of assessment that are used to allow the passage of a ‘safe’ drug onto the market place.
  4. Survey the current literature in a given field, investigate current drug developments in this field, and suggest future drug developments.

Assessment strategy

This module will be summatively assessed by two pieces of coursework (laboratory practical reports), an in class progress test (1 hour) and a final, unseen exam (2 hours). To pass the module, students must pass the written reports, progress test and the exam with an overall mark of 40% or above.

(Students would be required to submit a ‘rework’ of the practical coursework, if they were to be reassessed in these components).

Component Marks Learning outcomes
Written practical report 25% 1, 3, 4
In class  Progress Test 25% 1, 2
Written practical report  15% 1, 3, 4
Unseen Exam 35% 3,4



1. An Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry, 4th Edition, Patrick G. L.,Oxford University Press, 2009. [CORE]
2. Molecules and Medicine, Corey E.J., Czako B. & Kurti L. John Wiley & Sons,   2007.
3.  Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy & Phytotherapy, 2nd Edition, Heinrich M et al., Churchill Livingstone, 2012. [CORE]
4. Drug Discovery & Development-A Technology in Transition. Rang H. P., Churchill Livingstone, 2006.
5. Classics in Total Synthesis II: Targets, Strategies, Methods. Nicolaou K.C. & Snyder S., 2003.
6. Asymmetric Synthesis of Natural Products. Koskinen A., John Wiley & Sons, 1998.
7. Natural Product Chemistry at a Glance, 1st Edition, Stanforth S. P. Blackwell Publishing, 2006.
8. Combinatorial Chemistry. Terret N.K., Oxford University Press, 1998.
9.  Medicinal Natural Products: a biosynthetic approach, 3rd  Edition, Dewick P. J.Wiley & Sons, 2009  
10. Colour Chemistry, Christie R.M. RSC Publications, 2001