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It is an exciting time for chemists to be involved in all aspects of biomedical research. Chemistry is inherently well positioned to have a major impact on drug discovery, since other disciplines cannot create novel small molecules. This course offers classical natural products-based drug discovery, involving extraction, assay-based functional fractionation, isolation, characterization, and target validation however increasingly this approach is complemented by molecular target-based drug discovery and Molecular Modelling. Discovery of new generation antimicrobials against multidrug resistant strains of bacteria is advancing by extensive use of those modern tools. Furthermore Nanotechnology is fulfilling medical science’s need for more precise treatments that are less invasive, less costly, and less complicated to administer than traditional methods that translate into better patient outcomes, lower healthcare costs, and wider access to healthcare services in under-resourced parts of the world.

Finally following completion of the Human Genome Project, the pharmaceutical industry is also preparing for a revolution in cancer and inherited disorder therapies. This course is training a new generation of bioscientists to meet challenges at the interface between biology and chemistry, and to apply pharmaceutical and analytical knowledge directly to improve quality of life.

The syllabus is designed to develop the “analytical techniques and problem-solving skills” relevant to postgraduate-level employment in both the pharmaceutical sector but also to provide access to transferable skills relevant to a great variety of professional careers.


  • Learn to meet challenges at the interface between biology and chemistry and to apply pharmaceutical and analytical knowledge directly to improve quality of life.
  • Learn where chemistry, nanotechnology and genome technology is pushing the boundaries of biomedical research.
  • Develop the tools to enhance your employability including analytical techniques and problem-solving skills.
  • Acquire strong training in drug synthesis and analytical methods, natural product chemistry and molecular modelling


Teaching is through:

  • Lectures to provide thorough grounding in the techniques of biomolecule characterisation and drug design.
  • Practical sessions and workshops to demonstrate techniques and methods used in biomolecule characterisation and drug design, and provide a structured opportunity for you to practice techniques and methods in analytical biosciences and drug design.
  • Guided reading that will recommend texts, key articles and other materials in advance of, or following, lecture classes.  
  • The research project which will enable you to practice the application of appropriate, and selected, bioscientific techniques in an academic or industrial context, and demonstrate research methodologies and skills appropriate to and valuable with biomolecule characterisation and drug design. During your research project You will be supervised by expert staff who are actively engaged in international research programmes.


Although particularly relevant to those looking for a career in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, this course will also equip you for a career in research, teaching and many other professions including cosmetic science, animal health, food science, medical laboratory research, patent law, scientific journalism and health and safety.


Many students have progressed to PhD (working in the areas of biofuels, cancer research and drug synthesis.  Many students have progressed to PhD here at Salford but we have recent alumni pursuing PhDs globally.

We have recently had students find employment as Research Assosiates (Liverpool University, John Innes Centre), Technical roles (Salford University) and with Pharmaceutical Companies (e.g. Cyprotex) both in the UK, Europe and worldwide.


Research projects may be carried out at other institutions (recently Universities in Bremen or France and the Paterson Institute, UK). We also invite visiting lecturers to share their expertise on the subject areas.

Visit the Drug Design and Discovery page on the University of Salford website for more details!






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