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Molecular Pharmacology MRes

University of Glasgow

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Course options

  • Qualification

    MRes - Master of Research

  • Location

    University of Glasgow

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date

    20-SEP-21

  • Duration

    1 year

Course summary

Around a third of all currently approved drugs target G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), making these receptors the most successful drug target in history. Our research is focused on the structure and function of GPCRs and understanding the signalling pathways that are important for different physiological and pathophysiological responses.

OVERVIEW

GPCRs are the largest family of cell surface receptors and are involved in the regulation of nearly every mammalian cellular response. Around a third of all currently approved drugs target GPCRs, making these receptors the most successful drug target in history.

Our research is focused on the structure and function of GPCRs and understanding the signalling pathways that are important for different physiological and pathophysiological responses. We employ wide-ranging and multi-disciplinary approaches to take a ‘molecule to behaviour’ approach to understand, validate and then translate therapeutic opportunities by targeting trans-plasma membrane and intracellular signalling pathways. We identify unique small molecule ligands that modulate cellular signalling cascades and exploit these to define both underpinning biology and their effects on disease progression and remission.

We have driven understanding and therapeutic validation of previously poorly understood and ‘hard to target’ G protein-coupled receptors that are activated by metabolic intermediates, particularly fatty acids of varying chain length. We are established as ‘world-leading’ in areas at the interface so created between metabolism and immunity. This has resulted in ‘spin out’ in 2015 of the company Caldan Therapeutics, which garnered £4.5 million in Series A funding, and in Milligan being a finalist in the 2016 BBSRC ‘Innovator of the Year’ competition. Moreover, our expertise in this area has resulted in the establishment of new links to companies including Heptares Therapeutics and Galapagos NV, as well as consolidating links to the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, resulting in enhanced funding and joint publications.

By linking small molecule ligands, the new wealth of information on structural characteristics of G protein-coupled receptors, and a prion-based model of neurodegenerative disease that displays impaired cognition, Tobin and Bradley have unequivocally established that selective activation of the M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor not only improves cognition, a key requirement for any new therapy designed to treat the cognitive decline associated with progression of Alzheimers dementia, but also may actually slow neurodegenerative progression. This work is linked directly to studies being conducted by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. An approach within these studies of generating mouse transgenic ‘knock-in’ lines of receptors modified to act as ‘Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs’ has not only been integral to these studies but has inspired the group to broaden this approach to the type of ‘hard to target’ G protein-coupled receptors, a concept developed and reduced to practice by Hudson and Milligan for free fatty acid receptor 2.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 23,000per year

Tuition fees shown are for indicative purposes and may vary. Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

University image

University of Glasgow

  • University League Table

    19th

  • Campus address

    University of Glasgow, The Fraser Building, 65 Hillhead Street, Glasgow, Glasgow, City Of, G12 8QQ, Scotland

A wide range of international scholarships are available including International Excellence scholarships and postgraduate awards.
Meet students from across the university with over 250 clubs and societies available – ranging from international student societies to the Harry Potter society.
Pre-sessional English language provision available prior to starting university, and English language support options throughout the duration of study.

Subject rankings

  • Subject ranking

    6th out of 46 3

  • Entry standards

    / Max 222
    202 89%

    3rd

    1
  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100
    93 93%

    25th

  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5
    4.01 80%

    33rd

    13

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