Module code: BMS3099

Module Overview

Pharmacokinetics and Toxicology is the science of safety: It is the study of how exogenous chemicals enter and are disposed of by the body, and the effects that they can have on the organ systems of the body. Toxicology is designed to minimise the risk of harm to humans from exposure to any of the thousands of chemicals that we use every day. In this module, we will look at the basic mechanisms of how chemicals may cause harm to living organisms, and some of the testing procedures in place to detect such adverse effects. We will examine the mathematical patterns of drug administration and excretion and learn to explain these and determine their meaning, these concepts will be brought together through a series of case study workshops where mathematical data will be handled and examined. 

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

BAILEY Ian (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 25

Tutorial Hours: 8

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Biological Sciences students on the general pathway can take either BMS3096 or BMS3099 but not both.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Introduction to Experimental Toxicology

  • Mechanisms of Toxicity (oxidative stress, receptor-mediated toxicity, biopharmaceuticals, nanotoxicology, and genotoxins)

  • Toxicity testing (acute, (sub)chronic, carcinogenicity, and reproductive)

  • The Drug development cycle &ndash moving from pre-clinical to clinical

  • Target Organ Toxicity (nephrotoxicity, dermal toxicity, liver toxicity)

  • Tutorials: Specific tutorials will be held for the assessment feedback and briefing and for revision. 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework 20
Coursework Coursework 40
Coursework Coursework 40

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate a deep understanding of all the different topics under consideration.

Students are assessed by coursework only. All students will take an online pharmacokinetics test, which will take place through SurreyLearn and will ask the students to complete calculations based on their learning in the lectures and tutorials, an provide some interpretation of the results.

Each student will then write two essays, the titles of which are provided by the three members of teaching staff. The essays will be provided in two stages to cover material under discussion in the lecture topics. Students will have a free choice of topics at the first stage, but will be unable to select a title from the SAME LECTURER for the second stage essay. This will enable assessment of a greater range of the learning material and will allow students to demonstrate a rounded understanding of the subject. A feedback tutorial is scheduled once the first essays are returned, to allow students to effectively utilise their feedback for the second essay.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • 20% - Pharmacokinetics online coursework taken through SurreyLearn.

  • 40% - Essay 1 - Choice of one from any of the three lecturers - essays of no more than 1500 words (hard word limit).

  • 40% - Essay 2 - Choice of one from any of the two other lecturers - essays of no more than 1500 words (hard word limit).

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive formative feedback and assessment briefing throughout the module during both lectures and tutorials. Students have a timetabled coursework feedback session in which we will discuss the feedback form Essay 1 in order that the students can take most advantage of the improvement opportunities.

Module aims

  • To create an awareness of the scope of toxicology in relation to industrial chemicals, food additives and contaminants,
    pharmaceuticals and consumer products
  • To provide a sound understanding of the principles underlying toxicity testing and risk assessment, including concepts of
    the NO(A)EL, ADI, MTD
  • To study both acute and chronic toxicity
  • To undertake and explain the results of some essential pharmacokinetics calculations based on model data
  • To illustrate mechanisms of toxicity
  • To study the mechanisms of target tissue, cell and organelle toxicity

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand the concepts of pharmacokinetic parameters CPT
002 Appreciate the toxicological tests necessary to evaluate potential toxicity, assess risk and assess safety in use of food additives, pharmaceuticals, chemicals in consumer products KC
003 Understand the limitations of animals as surrogates for humans in toxicological assessment and safety assurance, and how interspecies and interindividual differences in sensitivity are accommodated C
004 Understand the basic concepts underlying the development of toxicity and recognise common themes KC
005 Understand the basic principles of action of a number of toxins that act upon organs central to exposure (skin), metabolism (liver) and excretion (kidney) of xenobiotics K

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

The pharmacokinetics will begin with an introductory lecture prior to "practical seminars" where students will work with each other and with academics to complete calculations based on pharmacokinetic data. This combination of workshops and lectures should provide students with a solid handle of the mathematical tools to complete the calculations before their assessment. The module will then move towards a theoretical basis in toxicology where we will explore the molecular mechanisms underpinning several key organ system toxicologies. The module uses a series of building blocks to first embed subject knowledge within the student and then develop cognitive and analytical skill to allow the correct application of this knowledge. This is achieved through the use of initial concept lectures that are designed to impart fundamental knowledge of the area to the students. 

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • A total of 33 contact hours

  • Lectures &ndash 3 or 4 hours per week for 8 weeks (25 hours in total) - including coursework briefing sessions.

  • Tutorials &ndash 6 hr of pharmacokinetics tutorials 2 hr of coursework feedback tutorials  

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS3099

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Biomedicine with Data Science BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biomedicine with Electronic Engineering BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biochemistry BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Food Science and Nutrition BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biochemistry MSci (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Food Science and Microbiology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.