Medicinal Chemistry: Chemical Sciences
B.A. (Moderatorship) ; 4 years full-time ; CAO code: TR061
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What is Medicinal Chemistry?
Medicinal chemists are the creative talent behind the modern pharmaceutical industry. As well as being expert chemists, they have extensive knowledge of molecular design, drug synthesis and the biological function of drugs.
Medicinal Chemistry: The course for you?
Yes, if your dream is to design and prepare new drugs, if you want to understand the biological mechanisms by which they operate, if you have a natural flair for chemistry and are interested in developing the skills and expert knowledge relevant to the pharmaceutical industry.
Graduate skills and career opportunities
As with graduates in other branches of chemistry, the skills acquired during this degree programme will make you highly attractive to employers in a wide variety of areas. In addition to the pharmaceutical industry itself, business, finance, administration and teaching are all possibilities that are open to you as a Medicinal Chemistry graduate. Former graduates of this course are working in companies such as Pfizer, Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline, MSD (Merck & Co.) and Norvatis.
Medicinal Chemistry would serve as an excellent primary degree for a graduate course in medicine. Our graduates can also pursue postgraduate degrees either in the School of Chemistry or in other world-class research institutions.
Your degree and what you’ll study
You will study foundation courses in chemistry, biology and mathematics in the first two years.
In third year, the course will branch off into more specialised aspects of medicinal chemistry, although there will be considerable overlap with the Chemistry degree. This overlap is primarily in organic chemistry; less emphasis will be placed on physical and inorganic chemistry in order to allow for the delivery of medicinal-chemistry modules.
Your specialised medicinal chemistry modules will include:
- Basic Principles of Medicinal Chemistry
- Biochemistry (Protein Structure and Function)
- The Autonomic Nervous System
- The Fundamentals of Computational Drug Design
- Anti-Viral and Anti-Cancer Agents
- Anti-Microbial and Anti-Infective Agents (compounds that can combat the microorganisms that cause disease)
- Anti-Malarial Chemistry (study of the development of drugs in this area)
- Steroid Drugs (study of drugs based on the steroid skeleton)
- Industrial Medicinal Chemistry
Lectures are complemented by laboratory experiments, where you will gain experience in more sophisticated preparative chemical techniques and will also be able to carry out your own spectroscopic analyses and computer-based modelling.
In fourth year, in addition to core chemistry modules, you will cover the medicinal chemistry of the cardiovascular and central nervous systems, combinatorial chemistry and drug delivery, as well as computational medicinal chemistry and modern analytical methods. Case studies in medicinal chemistry (focusing on specific diseases or drug types) will also feature in your programme.
Practical work in the final year will consist of a Capstone project. This may be carried out either in Trinity under the supervision of a member of staff, in a chemistry department at an overseas university, or in a commercial laboratory.
For more details on the modules and the overall course structure required for each moderatorship offered by the School, please visit: www.chemistry.tcd.ie/study
Study abroad and internship opportunities
The School of Chemistry has exchange agreements with a large number of universities and research institutions where Medicinal Chemistry students carry out their final year Capstone research projects from September to December. To date, arrangements have been made for students in European universities such as Regensburg, Madrid, Liverpool, Copenhagen, Montpellier and Bologna. Study further afield in Canada and the USA is also possible. Between third and fourth year, a small number of high-calibre students participate in a year-long paid internship in a pharmaceutical company to enhance their knowledge of medicinal chemistry and their practical skills.
What our graduates say
“As a first year Ph.D. student in synthetic organic chemistry, I was very fortunate to have chosen Medicinal Chemistry as my undergraduate degree. As the interface between chemistry and biology, the Medicinal Chemistry programme offers its students a unique opportunity to acquire the skillset necessary to bridge the void that sometimes exists with the two disciplines. Throughout my studies, I have been able to offer valuable academic contributions to the teams I have worked with, even in disparate subject areas; everything from bioinformatics to DNA photo-physics and materials chemistry we, as medicinal chemists, have highly desirable problem-solving skills.
I take forward my knowledge of advanced synthetic organic chemistry, in addition to a thorough understanding of how chemicals have the propensity to interact with biological systems into my Ph.D. career. The mindset I have from my undergraduate has continued to influence my decisions in the development of metal-free, biomimetic catalysts. I would thoroughly recommend to those who seek a career in any form of pharmaceutical or synthetic chemistry to consider this highly rewarding degree programme, as the range of career opportunities and skills that it proffers are far from limited at a post-degree level.”
“Having left school, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in chemistry. I was particularly interested in the pharmaceutical industry and drug research, but more specifically, the underlying chemistry behind them. Medicinal chemistry covers both these areas. It trains students to analyse, understand and develop concepts within the pharmaceutical sector. Medicinal chemistry students obtain an excellent understanding of the organic chemistry processes involved in designing and developing potential new pharmaceutical agents, while also gaining an exceptional knowledge of how these compounds operate biologically. The interface between the two areas of biology and chemistry is what initially drew me to this degree course and is also what has kept me motivated and inspired throughout my studies.”
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