Skip to main content

Pharma 101

A Free Online Med-Chem Course

Erland Stevens at Davidson is going to be running an online med-chem course on EdX, the MOOC platform founded by Harvard and MIT. It starts in October, runs for 8 weeks, can be audited for free, and covers these topics:
(1) The drug approval process (early drugs, clinical trials, IP factors)
(2) Enzymes and receptors (inhibition, Ki, types of ligands, Kd)
(3) Pharmacokinetics (Vd, CL, compartment models)
(4) Metabolism (phase I and II, genetic factors, prodrugs)
(5) Molecular diversity (drug space, combi chem, libraries)
(6) Lead discovery (screening, filtering hits)
(7) Lead optimization (FG replacements, isosteres, peptidomimetics)
(8) Important drug classes (selected examples)
So if you know someone who would like to have a better understanding of the basics of med-chem and has been looking for an opportunity, this might be the answer. Stevens taught this one in the spring on the same platform, and had 14,000 people sign up at the beginning.
Update: from the comments, there’s another med-chem course starting on Coursera shortly, from UCSD:

14 comments on “A Free Online Med-Chem Course”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why teach a course for which there is no longer any employment demand?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the heads up. I started that one in the spring, but life got in the way. Would love to give it another shot now, I always seem to have more time for stuff like this in the fall.

  3. Helical Investor says:

    Thanks for pointing this out. There is a similar course starting in a week on
    Coursera. It is being run out of UCSD (if that matters) by Williams S. Ettouati, Pharm.D. and Joseph D. Ma. This course has been offered in past years.
    Drug Discovery, Development & Commercialization
    I have not used EdX, but have used Coursera. There is no reason not to find courses of interest on a regular basis. Those with an interest here would be well served to at least hear the presentations.
    For those not too familiar with MOOCs, a recent EconTalk podcast discussion (~1hr) is worth a listen.
    I would love if this blog, or responders to it routinely pointed out MOOC courses of interest.

  4. ErrHuman says:

    I did the EdX course this year, but after the rest of the course proper had finished because life got in the way. A great introduction for non-medchem specialists like myself.

  5. Philip says:

    I’m very interested in this. Does anyone have any experience using either platform? I’m inclined towards the edX course because the main lecturer looks more disposed towards chemistry. Additionally, are there any courses anywhere for advanced synthetic organic (for brushing up/review). The most advanced organic I see anywhere is intermediate. Thanks!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m with #1. May as well be a course on making steam engines.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’ve reviewed both courses in the past. The EdX one is definitely more focused on chemistry, which I have only a basic background in from years ago. The Coursera class seemed to be more about the development cycle, interesting, but also a little bit more MBAish, which for this crowd is probably not much of an endorsement. That’s just the impression from the first week of courses though, the entire session might be different.

  8. Erland Stevens says:

    @7: As the instructor of the edX course and a Drew attendee (2002), I do not see the edX and Drew courses as being interchangeable. There are many differences, most of which can be traced back to the participating students. The typical Drew student is new hire in pharma and holds a PhD. edX students are very hard to put into a box and have truly global backgrounds. With a broader audience, the edX course has to cut a few corners. Don’t get me wrong. I’m very pleased with the content of the edX course, but the audience is different from the Drew course.

  9. Philip says:

    @8 Well I just signed up, looking forward to it!

  10. anon1 says:

    Just completed a DoE course from McMaster University by Kevin Dunn, on Coursera. Excellent course, well worth the time. It should come around again.

  11. PUI prof says:

    I have investigated courses on both the edX and Cousera platforms. There are things to like and dislike about each, but overall I prefer edX. They are both better than the more minor players like Canvas.
    I worked through the lectures of this course by Dr. Stevens when it was offered this spring. It is a very good course for getting the basics of med chem. Not being in the med chem field I hope I am not mischaracterizing it, but it seemed as though there must be harder topics that were not covered.

  12. gippgig says:

    #1: Because people are interested in the topic, of course.

  13. One Egg Is Un Oeuf says:

    I actually took Dr. Stevens course in its entirety this spring, and it was fantastic. Some of the material seemed a tad elementary, but I do have a chemistry BS and experience in clinical research. For those with less knowledge on the biological side, I can see his intro lectures being quite valuable. It’s a great excuse to brush up on your organic synthesis and to work out some of those atrophying math muscles.

  14. Anonymous says:

    @12: Ah yes, of course. Just like archaeology then.

Comments are closed.