The Graduate Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences offers a wide-range of specialty courses designed to inform the research of graduate students. Please see the Course Schedule for current offerings.

For additional course information, contact the Graduate Administrative Coordinator.

PHM1109H Recent Developments in Dosage Form Design

S. Wu and P. Lee
The following are the most important topics to be covered: kinetics of drug release and physical parameters that affect them; constructional changes in well-established dosage forms; solid dispersion systems; osmotic devices; membrane-controlled drug delivery, as for example in transdermal administration; nanoparticles; microcapsules; liposomes; insoluble plastic matrices; soluble and bioerodable polymers; implants; aerosols; drug targeting using monoclonal antibodies; self-regulating drug delivery; prodrugs. Each dosage form will be placed in its scientific, practical, and historical perspective; the governing release mechanisms and its advantages and limitations will be discussed.

PHM1115H Special Topics in Radiopharmaceuticals II

R. Reilly
The purpose of this course is to enable the student to gain an appreciation of radiopharmaceutical design by examining two areas of radiopharmaceutical research:
i) molecular imaging of cancer, and ii) radioimmunotherapy.  This course will appeal to pharmaceutical sciences graduate students interested in radiopharmaceutical research but also imaging as a tool for cancer therapeutics as well as molecularly-targeted therapies for malignancies.

PHM1130H Biomolecular Interactions and Thermodynamics I

T. Chalikian and R. Macgregor
Students will be presented with the basic structures, theories, and methods of investigation of proteins, nucleic acids, and biological membranes. This course is intended for students working in the field of biomolecular sciences.

PHM1133H Special Topics in Pharmaceutical Sciences

This course is designed to provide for the study of special topics in the broad area of pharmaceutical sciences, including all the fields encompassed within our Graduate Department.

Chemical Basis of Drug Metabolism (Section 0301)
J. Uetrecht
The goals of the course are such that the students will be able to look at the structure of a drug or other xenobiotic and be able to predict possible metabolic pathways that the drug could undergo and the mechanisms involved. They would also be able to make educated guesses as to which pathways would be major and which would be minor and the probable pharmacological and toxicological implications of the metabolites.

Advanced Pharmacokinetics I (Section 0701)
S. Pang and P. Lee
This course examines basic pharmacokinetic principles which describe the processes of absorption, distribution, and elimination of drugs. Topics include: LaPlace transforms, linear mammillary models, compartmental analysis, model-independent methods, single and multiple dosing, protein binding, drug clearance, first-pass effects, effect of route of administration physiological modeling, and metabolite kinetics. An introduction to data processing by computers is also included.

PHM1135H Nanomedicines in Oncology

C. Allen
This course covers a range of topics that pertain to the development and application of nanomedicines in oncology. Students will gain an understanding of the biological barriers to drug delivery in oncology as well as the tremendous heterogeneity in cancer and the challenge this presents for treatment. The concepts of passive and active targeting of nanomedicines will be covered with critical assessment of the enhanced permeability and retention effect. A detailed overview of the most advanced nanotechnology-platforms for drug delivery (i.e. liposomes, block copolymer micelles and polymer-drug conjugates) will be provided with additional discussion of new emerging platforms. The integration of imaging in drug development and development of theranostics and therapeutic-diagnostic pairs will also be discussed. Special emphasis on critical evaluation of scientific literature and pre-clinical/clinical studies will be made throughout the course.

PHM1136H Introduction to Biostatistics

P. Grootendorst

The goal of this course is to provide students with the tools to conduct quantitative analyses of data derived from a two group RCT.  By the end of the course, students should be able to use these tools to:

•       Choose the right research question
•       Use appropriate data and statistical methods to address the question
•       Interpret results

We will model the impact of different randomly assigned treatments on outcomes using the linear regression model, and consider the properties of the ordinary least squares (OLS) estimator of the parameters of the linear regression model.  As we will see, the properties of the OLS estimator depend on the nature of the unobserved random component of the model (the “error term”).  We will we will consider the implications for our estimator of clustering and heteroskedasticity in the error term, and correlation of the error term with treatment choice.

The course will be lecture-based with ample opportunity for discussion.  This is a 2-hour course, once per week.  Additional tutorials will be scheduled at a convenient time to learn how to use Stata, which is the statistical software package that I use.

I am developing a follow-on course to be taught in the winter term that covers the multiple linear regression model, a maximum likelihood models for binary outcomes and for time to event data.  This follow-on course will use basic linear algebra.

PHM1137H Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in the Health Science

H. Boon
This course will introduce students to interpretive and critical qualitative research methods in the health sciences.  The course is divided into three blocks: 1) Qualitative Research in Theory and Practice; 2) Data Collection and 3) Data Analysis.  Students are expected to complete the readings (methods text and exemplar study) each week, and to come to class ready to participate in discussions.  Each 3-hour class will use examples from the qualitative health sciences literature and from the instructor’s own research to help connect information from methods texts into actual, published empirical articles.  It will also combine didactic sessions with hands-on activities and small- and large-group discussions.  Students may use this course to start writing their thesis proposals.

PHM1138H Pharmaceutical Data Acquisition & Analysis

D. Dubins
The goal of this course is to introduce students to theoretical and applied concepts in electronic circuitry, for the purpose of collecting and analyzing experimental data in pharmaceutics and other contexts. The course is designed as approximately half small-group didactic teaching, and half laboratory exercises to experiment with and illustrate concepts. The course discusses introductory circuit design, with an emphasis on how common components work (e.g. resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors, operational amplifiers, and a variety of sensors) in scientific and pharmaceutical manufacturing instrumentation.

Practical and mathematical aspects of circuit design are discussed (e.g. Ohm’s Law, voltage dividers, analog vs. digital signals). There is a heavy emphasis on programming in C++, taught from an introductory level, which will complement learning activities. Assessments will include quizzes, problem sets, a design project, a participation component, and a final exam.

With the recent advent of low-cost, consumer-level microprocessors (e.g. ATtiny, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, ESP8266), affordable and accessible processing power has empowered researchers with resources to take experimental designs to new heights. Such microprocessors are relatively simple compared to the complexity of today’s desktop computer; however, are more than powerful enough and fast enough to control sophisticated equipment such as scientific instrumentation and 3D printing. Previously, DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters) were thousands of dollars, requiring high programming aptitude to bridge the gap between computer and instrument. Serial communication ports were reliable only at slower speeds (e.g. 1200 bps). Serial communication was finicky, and required access to equipment subroutines not always readily available. However, the climate has now changed for experimental design. Libraries are readily available, interfaces are more intuitive, and a large open source community exists to support scientists and hobbyists alike. Knowledge of programming and circuitry will provide a solid foundaPtion not only in experimental design and analysis for this field, but in many other areas as well.

The modern era of electronics has caused a paradigm shift. Due to economies of scale, electronic components have become very inexpensive. The electronics hobbyist niche has driven the development of modular electronic components marketed for general purposes, geared towards on open-source platforms (e.g. opto-isolator power relay circuits, and H-bridge motor controllers). Circuits that would previously need to be thoughtfully considered and designed are now available and packaged as low-cost, ready-to-use modules. This course will examine some of these modules and their usefulness in circuit design.

PHM1139H Diagnosing Corruption in the Health Sector

J. Kohler
Background: Corruption understood as, “the misuse of entrusted power for private gain”, is considered to be one of the biggest barriers for development and growth and a threat to recovery efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Corruption is without borders; it can be found in any country, in different forms, levels, and types of organizations and institutions. Corruption impedes economic growth, political stability and government legitimacy, jeopardizes the allocation of resources to sectors crucial for development, and encourages other types of illegal activities. Each year, an estimated US$ 5.3 trillion is spent worldwide on providing health services; yet as much as 6% or US$300 billion is lost to corruption and errors. Corruption negatively impacts public health budgets, the price of health services and medicines, the quality of care and medical products, and threatens a country’s ability to provide universal health coverage by increasing the price of health care. Corruption, in short, undermines public trust in their governments and the services they provide and also undermines the morale of health professionals as well as for patients to make use of health services.

 Course Overview: This graduate course will introduce interested and curious students to the core concepts associated with corruption generally and corruption and the health sector specifically, with a particular focus on the pharmaceutical sector. We will start the seminar with a broad discussion about corruption, what it is, how to define it and examine how it is measured. We will then examine how international organizations are dealing with corruption in their development projects and currently during the COVID-19 pandemic. The course will then move on to specific modules dealing with core topics related to corruption and the health sector. The course will consist of lectures, class discussions and group work through case studies. Research papers and presentations will provide students with the opportunity to probe an issue of interest.

PHM1140H Principles of Synthetic Biology

K. Pardee
In this course, we will explore the foundations of synthetic biology and its application to the pharma­ceu­tical sciences and beyond. Synthetic biology is an emerging discipline that lies at the interface between biology and engineering.  Work in the field involves the design and construction of new biological components such as genetic circuits and metabolic pathways, and in doing so is creating new ways to produce small molecule drugs, novel protein/RNA-based therapeutics and diagnostics.

The course is designed to introduce students without a background in the field to the theoretical and applied concepts of synthetic bio­logy so that they can incorporate aspects into their own re­search and, more broadly, be aware of the poten­tial of this emerging discipline.  The course is organized to include a mixture of didactic teaching (17 hours) and practical classes (13 hours). Lectures will include an overview of synthetic biology, the technologies driving the field, practical theory on the design and assembly of genetically encoded tools, and the application of these technologies for human health.

PHM1141H Introduction to Education Theory, Practice and Scholarship

Z. Austin
This course will introduce future educators to foundational aspects of teaching, learning, assessment, rooted in the discipline of social psychology, to help support effective pedagogy in diverse settings.  The goal of this course is to provide students with knowledge, skills, and motivation to identify learning needs of audiences, design curriculum, use effective teaching methods, and undertake program evaluation for the purpose of quality improvement, all in a scholarly, evidence-informed manner.

PHM1142H Methods for Patient-Focused and Pharmacy Practice Research

L. Dupuis
This course will focus on the methods for the conduct of patient-focused and pharmacy practice research.  This research commonly uses quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods approaches to generate new knowledge in areas such as pharmacy practice, clinical pharmacology, the effectiveness or implementation of interventions that improve health outcomes,  patterns in medication use, health care team function, and patient or other stakeholder perspectives.  Topics that will be covered include human research ethics, regulatory considerations, grant writing, project management, research design, and data collection and management approaches. Further, students will develop the concept for a research project as a component of this course. For MScPhm students this project can be the major research project required by the program.

PHM1143H Advanced Pharmacy Practice Leadership

N. Crown
Students in the MScPhm program will enter the program with diverse backgrounds and practice experiences. This course will prepare students with the skills to advance their current practice and to provide patient care in a defined specialty area. Emphasis will be placed on building skills for advanced pharmacy practice including applying the pharmaceutical care process for the identification and resolution of DTPs, emphasizing the pharmacist role in ongoing follow-up of drug therapy, patient and health assessment, evidence informed clinical decision making, and navigating areas of uncertainty. Students will use their unique backgrounds and areas of specialty as vehicle to approach for course discussions focused on health systems, ethics, and leadership.

PHM1144H Introduction to Mixed Methods for Health Services and Policy Research and Pharmaceutical Sciences

S. Guilcher
The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of mixed methods research to graduate students (MSc, MScPhm, PhD) who are already familiar with quantitative and qualitative research.  The course will introduce students to definitions of mixed methods research, the history and foundation, different types of designs and how to conduct mixed methods research based on design type.

PHM1145H Conducting Scoping Reviews within Health Services and Policy Research and Pharmaceutical Sciences

S. Guilcher

This is a special topics graduate course designed for MSc, MScPhm, or PhD students with an interest in conducting scoping reviews (a type of knowledge synthesis) for health services, health policy and pharmaceutical sciences. The Canadian Institutes for Health Research defines knowledge synthesis as “the contextualization and integration of research findings of individual research studies within the larger body of knowledge on the topic. A synthesis must be reproducible and transparent in its methods, using quantitative and/or qualitative methods.”[1] There are many types of knowledge synthesis including systematic reviews, scoping reviews, realist reviews. The course will introduce students to different techniques used for knowledge synthesis, with a main focus on scoping reviews.  The course is divided into four main sections: 1) Research questions and overview of the types of knowledge synthesis; 2) Databases and search strategies; 3) Critical appraisal and synthesis of findings; 4) Knowledge Dissemination and publishing. Students are expected to complete readings and activities each week and actively participate in discussions.  Each class will use examples from the knowledge synthesis literature, with a specific emphasis on pharmaceutical sciences and health services research, as well as examples from the instructors and peer learner experiences. The course will involve didactic sessions and activities, as well as small and large group seminar discussions.

[1]  Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Knowledge translation. Canadian Institutes of Health Research 2008.

PHM2100H Module: Sciences in New Drugs and Biologics

L. Kotra
This course module introduces students to the drug discovery and development sciences behind the latest drugs and biologics approved by Health Canada and/or US FDA. First two hours will be dedicated to introducing drug discovery and development sciences, interplay between regulatory path-pharmaceutical sciences and high-level discussions about technologies and tools. Students will be given assignments for a class presentation involving review, literature surveys and a 20-minute presentation per student, followed by 5-minute Q/A. Students are expected to get exposed to drug discovery/development integrated thought process, and various facets of new drugs and biologics. The overall module is designed to provide the overall understanding of many dimensions of drug/biologics development efficiently with a plug-in for the business of new medicines.
This course is worth 0.25 FCE.

PHM2101H Module: Precision In Vitro Diagnostics

S. Kelley
This course will cover recent advances in diagnostic medicine that are enabling analysis of clinical specimens with increased sensitivity and speed.  Topics covered in this course will include infectious disease diagnostics – including those use to manage the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as the emerging area of liquid biopsy.  The basics of diagnostic development will be covered along with information regarding regulatory and commercialization channels.  The emphasis of the course will be on new technology platforms that are emerging to enhance global health.
This course is worth 0.25 FCE.

PHM2102H Module: Introduction to Fundamentals of Drug Discovery Process

A. Aman
This course is intended for graduate students. The course will present an overview of the drug discovery process. Starting with target selection then screening at the target, identification of hits, optimization to lead and preclinical candidate. After successful completion of this course students will have a better understanding of modern drug discovery process in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.
This course is worth 0.25 FCE.

PHM2103H Module: Addictive Medications – Issues and Insights

B. Sproule
A significant risk of some medications is the development of addiction. Prescription opioids were key contributors to the origins of the opioid crisis. Benzodiazepines, stimulants and other pharmacological classes of medication also carry this risk. The challenge is to balance the need to have these medications available for therapeutic use while minimizing the risk of addiction. This course explores the complex issues related to addictive medications from many perspectives including the pharmacological features of medications that promote this risk, pathways to addiction including the risk of therapeutic exposures, the contribution of stigma, prevention and treatment strategies and research methodologies used in this field.
This course is worth 0.25 FCE.

PHM2104H Module: Advances in Sensory Neuroscience

R. Bonin
This course will cover advances in neuroscience approaches that have shaped our understanding of the nervous system, using the study of pain as a focal point for application examples and discussion. Topics covered in this course will include an overview of the somatosensory system, behavioural approaches, electrophysiology, optogenetics, and fMRI. The emphasis of the course will be on how advances in these approaches enable new discovery, and how these approaches have been used in the development of new pain treatments.
This course is worth 0.25 FCE.

PHM8000/8100Y MScPhm Clinical Practicum I/II

The purpose of these courses is to expand the student’s clinical experiences to further develop (CPI) and establish (CPII) their knowledge, skills, and judgment to an advanced level in a defined area of clinical pharmacy practice. The practicums provide experiences in which students integrate practice principles and advanced knowledge of pharmacotherapeutics in a defined area to provide care to individual patients and their families. These practice experiences will include integrating emerging scientific data into practice, generating ideas and proposals to address complex patient care challenges, applying principles of pedagogy to communicate ideas and information, and demonstrating ethical decision making. A pharmacist in an advanced practice role will supervise the student practicums.

PHM9000Y MScPhm Research Practicum

The Research Practicum provides MScPhm students with the opportunity to apply content covered in foundational MScPhm courses by undertaking a research project. Students, with the approval of the supervisor and Advisory Committee, will identify a research question; develop a research protocol including rationale, significance and methods; obtain regulatory and ethical approval to conduct the study as required; undertake the study and present their findings orally and in writing.  In collaboration with their (co-)supervisor(s), students will interpret and integrate emerging scientific data into their research; interpret their findings and communicate them aligned with the principles of knowledge translation/mobilization. All projects will be assessed for feasibility and scope by each student’s Advisory Committee and the MScPhm Program co-Leads. Students will be supervised by their graduate faculty (co-)supervisors.

HAD5312H Decision Modeling for Clinical Policy and Economic Evaluation II

D. Naimark
This course will overview the principles and applications of decision analytic modeling for the purposes of developing clinical policy (e.g. what’s the optimal screening method and interval for cervical cancer screening) and evaluating the efficiency (cost effectiveness/cost utility) of health interventions. The course will involve both theoretical and practical aspects. Students will have an opportunity to read more deeply in the history and theoretical underpinnings of decision analysis. However, students will also be expected to learn practical skills in advanced modeling by constructing, debugging, and presenting their own complex decision model. Themes covered in the course will include: a brief history of decision analysis, descriptive and normative theories of decision making, measuring health outcomes with patient-derived and community weighted utility measures, using the QALY and it’s competitors, Markov modeling, Monte Carlo simulation, using mathematical functions in models, modeling for cost effectiveness analysis, and an introduction to Bayesian approaches in modeling.
Prerequisite: HAD5304H, HAD5730H

HAD5744H Applied Health Econometrics I

A. Laporte and E. Nauenberg
This course is designed to provide an introduction to econometric methods. That is, the basic principles of model development and testing that underlie much of applied health economics and health services research. The starting point is the fact that a great number of possible data generating processes yield very similar looking data series. The course deals with how to determine which data generating process, from among the range of possible ones, has actually generated the data you are working with. To that end, the course deals with application of statistical tests and procedures in the context of distinguishing between models. It is therefore assumed that students have a basic training in statistics.

HAD5746H Applied Health Econometrics

P. Pechlivanoglou
Application of econometric methods to predict or forecast, to estimate treatment effects, and to assess the precision of predictions or treatment effects estimates in a variety of different scenarios distinguished by:

  • The nature of the outcome variable (such as continuous, binary, ordered categorical)
  • The research design (experimental or observational)
  • The type of observations (cross sectional, time series or longitudinal)

In the case of treatment effects estimation, whether treatment effects are the same for all observations or if they are heterogeneous.

JFK1122H Drug Transport Across Biological Membranes

R. Bendayan
The objectives of this course are to provide graduate students with a knowledge of the molecular entities involved in drug transport across biological cell membranes and to emphasize the physiological and clinical significance of these entities. The course will consist of didactic lectures presented in a traditional lecture format, and student presentations, when appropriate a lecture will be replaced by a research seminar.

JNP1014Y Interdisciplinary Toxicology

P. McPherson
A survey course examining several contemporary topics in toxicology with emphasis on human/mammalian toxicology. Topics in the course may include: adverse drug reactions, acute poisonings, natural toxins, maternal-fetal toxicology, forensic toxicology, environmental chemistry, pesticides, dioxins, endocrine disruptors, regulatory toxicology, occupational toxicology, food toxicology, herbal products, alcohol, smoking, and drugs of abuse. Students are evaluated by their performance on written tests and assignments.
Recommended Preparation: BCH210H, PCL201H,  PC302H, PCL362H, or their equivalents.
Visit the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology website for course schedule.

JNP1016H Graduate Seminar in Toxicology (Offered in alternate years)

C. Woodland
This course is a seminar-based course in which students critique scientific papers in the area of toxicology. Faculty members from a wide variety of disciplines will guide these sessions and give an overview of the relevant issues in the field. Students are evaluated by oral and written critiques of the scientific literature and by their participation in class discussions. This is a compulsory course for all M.Sc. and Ph.D. students in the Collaborative Program in Biomedical Toxicology. It is also open to other qualified graduate students if space permits.
Visit the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology website for course schedule.

JNP1017H Current Topics in Molecular and Biochemical Toxicology (Offered in alternate years)

J. Henderson
This course will emphasize the biochemical principles and mechanisms underlying the toxicity of drugs and foreign agents. In particular the current hypotheses that explain the events at the molecular level which determine and affect toxicity are examined and critically evaluated. This course is suitable for graduate students of pharmacy, toxicology, pharmacology, biochemistry, environmental science, pathology, neuroscience and medical biophysics. A weekly journal club will also be held after the lectures.

JNP1018H Molecular and Biochemical Basis of Toxicology I (Offered in alternate years)

J. Henderson
This course will emphasize the molecular biology principles and mechanisms underlying the toxicity of drugs and foreign agents. A journal club format is used to examine and critically evaluate the current hypotheses that explain the events at the molecular level which determine and affect toxicity. This course is suitable for graduate students of pharmacy, toxicology, pharmacology, biochemistry, environmental science, pathology, neuroscience and medical biophysics. A weekly journal club will also be held after the lectures.

JRH1000H Introduction to Pharmacoepidemiology

S. Cadarette, S. Frise, G. Liu
This joint course offered by the Graduate Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Public Health Sciences provides an overview of foundational principles in the field of pharmacoepidemiology, from drug development and drug utilization research to drug safety and effectiveness studies that employ common pharmacoepidemiologic study designs. Students will develop foundational knowledge and skills in the field of pharmacoepidemiology. Each topic will include discussions that consider views from multiple perspectives from academia, government, healthcare professionals, industry and patients. Experience will be gained through practice exercises and assignments, class discussions, and small group exercises.
Prerequisites: CHL5401H, CHL5402H or other courses in observational research methods upon approval of course coordinators

JRH5124H Public Health Ethics

A. Thompson
This is an advanced level graduate seminar course in the ethics of public health. This is distinct from the ethics in public health and the course attempts to give students some familiarity with some of the most important ethical issues facing those engaged in public health research (health promotion, disease prevention, and epidemiological and biostatistical research). The course is based on seminar discussions of course readings, and case studies. Students will be able to identify, articulate and analyze ethical issues arising from public health, and to formulate critical and well-reasoned ethical arguments.

PAS3700H Multidisciplinary Aspects of Addictions

B. Brands/N. Giesbrecht
This is a multidisciplinary course required of all students in the Collaborative Program in Alcohol, Tobacco and other Psychoactive Substances. The course aims at providing the student with the core knowledge and understanding of different behavioral, biological, historical, medical and socio-cultural perspectives regarding the use of psychoactive substances, including the epidemiology, etiology, treatment and prevention of problems associated with use.

PCL1004Y Graduate Course in Clinical Pharmacology

C. Woodland
This course aims at familiarizing the student with the rapidly growing field of clinical pharmacology. Graduates may pursue a career in this field in a hospital setting, in the pharmaceutical industry or regulatory agencies. The first part of the course focuses on clinical pharmacokinetics. The second part is devoted to selected topics in clinical pharmacology with special emphasis on how to design and interpret drug studies.
Visit the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology website for course schedule.