Drug discovery: KPU offers new medicinal chemistry minor

Tue, Aug 1, 2017

A far cry from Breaking Bad, KPU students are cooking up a recipe for success in pharmaceuticals.

A new minor in medicinal chemistry is being offered at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) geared towards drug discovery and development.

“Medicinal chemistry is the science of drug discovery,” said Dr. Elizabeth Worobec, dean of the Faculty of Science. “This minor will give our students the opportunity to stand out in their field by enhancing their KPU degree with specialized knowledge about the exploding industry of pharmaceuticals.

Industry focus on the development of new synthetic drug compounds requires a multidisciplinary approach and knowledge of biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, toxicology, and pharmacology.

“A natural fit with many science degrees including biology or health science, the minor in medicinal chemistry will give students a competitive advantage in the workplace in roles as diverse as a pharmacy technician, science teacher, environment risk analyst, or biotechnologist,” said Dr. Deepani Indurugalla, chemistry instructor and the program’s developer.

The first course in the minor, Natural Products Chemistry, will be offered this fall and taught by Indurugalla. Students will learn about chemical compounds found in natural sources, such as plants, animals, and micro-organisms that have pharmacological or biological activity. Other courses will cover drug discovery, design and development, and modern alchemy, such as nuclear and radiochemistry. Students will also gain a thorough understanding of the chemical techniques and instruments used in a modern medicinal and analytical chemistry laboratory through hands-on learning.

There are chemistry prerequisites for the medicinal chemistry minor, as it is comprised of upper-level university courses. To learn more, visit kpu.ca/science/chemistry/medicinal.

Story by Tatiana Tomljanovic

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