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Course Summary

Course Description

Students in the Chemistry and Pharmacology concentration gain a broad understanding of atomic and molecular structure and the nature of organic, inorganic and physical systems, developing expertise on the unique role of chemistry in life, including metabolic, developmental, and therapeutic processes. This concentration prepares students for employment in corporate and government settings, and lays the foundation for graduate study in chemistry, pharmacy and other health sciences, as well as engineering studies.

Career Possibilities

  • Doctor of Pharmacy
  • Chemist
  • Biofuels Engineer
  • Product Development Engineer
  • Pharmaceutical Scientist
  • Medical Doctor

Major Foundation Requirements

NS300 / Physical Characteristics of Molecules and Photons

Explore the physical and chemical properties of matter through phase diagrams, thermodynamic equilibria, and kinetics. Investigate energetic properties of materials and their interaction with electromagnetic fields through elastic and inelastic/fluorescent scattering of light. Apply these principles to analyze, decompose, and contribute to the development of important technological products and processes.

NS301 / The Implications of Organic and Inorganic Cycles

Take an in-depth look at the origin and chemistry of carbon compounds, water, nitrogen, and metals, including their physical properties and their roles in life on Earth. The Earth’s carbon cycle including photosynthesis, respiration and weathering as well as technological applications of various forms of carbon in food, energy utilization and storage. The uses of analytical tools such as isotope ratios in geology and archeology. The role of molecular nitrogen in the atmosphere and its assimilation into organic matter, its oxidation-reduction cycle its impact on the energy cost of modern agriculture.

NS302 / Modifications of Biological Architecture and Programming

Evolution is the fundamental unifying principle of all biological processes: metabolism, regulatory processes, signal transduction, neuronal excitation, mechano-chemical structures and their function, differentiation, programmed cell death, and proliferation in both individual organisms and community life. Study Darwin’s insight into natural selection in the context of biochemical adaptations of life. Explore the development of resistance in organisms that results from imposed stresses in various ecosystems, including human health and disease states.

Concentration Core Requirements

NS315 / Thermodynamics and Transport

Study equilibrium, states and reversibility, followed by nonequilibrium thermodynamics involving transport, rates of reactions and the nature of the second law. Learn about Fermi problems and their application to technologies involving state variable changes and under what conditions equilibrium or nonequilibrium may best characterize a specific technology.

NS331 / Molecular Biotechnology

Understand the theory and practice of biotechnology, including recombinant DNA, genomics, transgenic organisms, and cell and tissue engineering including stem cells and organoid growth. Consider systems challenges and biotechnology solutions for problems in agriculture, environmental remediation, energy production, aquaculture, manufacturing, and health. Also examine the scientific promises and pitfalls of current and proposed biotechnology solutions, factoring in regulatory and ethical environments. [prerequisite

NS350 / Chemical Structures

Study electronic structures of atoms, chemical bonds and methods to determine the molecular geometry of molecules. Review research tools — including NMR, spectroscopy, electron microscopy, x-ray crystallography, and other scattering methods — along with the types of molecules and materials that can be examined using these methods. Define the set of methods to best analyze the structure small molecules as opposed to large complexes.

Concentration Electives

NS353 / Mechanisms of Drug Action

Molecules interact with living entities through processes of administration, distribution, transport, metabolism, and excretion. The molecules usually bind selectively to receptors on certain types of cells. The therapeutic effect and toxicity of drugs will be considered. Research the primary types of molecules and consider the regulatory aspects and economics of drugs.

NS354 / Organic Molecules and their Synthesis

Study organic reaction mechanisms with a focus on advanced synthesis, and participate in a problem-solving activity that requires sequencing the different types of reactions acting on functional groups of hydrocarbons. Although the focus is on small molecule synthesis, this course also addresses peptide synthesis and the revolutionary role of oligonucleotide synthesis in the study of genomics.

NS355 / Inorganic Materials

Consider the chemistry of inorganic materials from the perspective of the global chemical industry, and analyze the underlying bases of products such as ammonia, chlorine, caustic soda, alkali compounds, titanium oxide, chemical catalysts, inorganic acids, and carbon black. Consider the role of metals in biological processes (e.g. the discovery of cis-platinum as a cancer drug); the role phosphorylation and dephosphorylation in energy metabolism and signal transduction.

NS450 / Analytical Chemistry and Instrumentation: Science Meets Technology

Explore the synergy between science and technology. Research tools enable great advances and new scientific domains of study — learn about spectroscopy, electrophoresis, chromatography, fluorescence, electrochemical analysis, thermal analysis and mass spectrometry, and a host of bioanalytical methods. Usage of synchrotrons for structural studies. Analysis requirements in quality control in manufacturing and determination of chemical counterfeit are discussion topics.

NS451 / Toxicology

Certain chemicals have adverse effects on living organisms. Study specific occurrences, quantify binding of small molecules, and create computer simulations of the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of therapeutics. In addition to the "therapeutic window" of concentrations, discuss novel technologies such as lab-on-a-chip and artificial kidneys, designed to shift the burden of toxicity studies from animal testing to in-vitro analytical studies.

NS534 / Biomembranes, Biofilms, and Compartmentalization

Explore the structure and function of the phospholipid bilayer membrane as the fundamental mechanism of compartmentalization in biology. Different molecular components and concentrations exist across a membrane and communication across membranes requires special channels, transporters and molecular machinery. Exploit the unique composition of specific membranes to control drug delivery to relevant targets in the cell. Study the evolution and maintenance of microbial biofilms, their cellular and extracellular structure, anaerobic survival, and their role in infectious diseases. 

NS551 / Drug Delivery Technology

The administration and delivery of drugs is a part of any pharmaceutical product. Learn about innovative delivery technologies (based on oral, inhalational, parenteral, topical, and suppository methods) that differentiate products for molecules falling off patent protection. Also discuss how advanced designs control sizes of encapsulated active ingredients to provide desired time-release profiles.

NS552 / Regulatory and Clinical Sciences

Therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostic tests require controlled trials with statistically significant results that document safety and efficacy before they can be approved for use by patients. Consider the characteristics of food regulation, biomedical devices, vitamins/supplements, and drugs in various jurisdictions, and the nature of clinical trial design and efforts toward global harmonization.

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