Prerequisite : CGET 501 Integrated Life Sciences or equivalent
This course engages students to “think outside the box” by translating knowledge from basic science to address public health problems. Students are expected to develop novel ideas for the production of affordable and reliable medicines, vaccines, and/or diagnostic kits for diseases of significant national, regional or international concern, e.g. HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, liver cancer, influenza, dengue and tuberculosis. The true goal is for students to become familiar with the strategy for systematically approaching the analysis or solution of complex biomedical problems. From a pedagogical standpoint, the course uses a combination of
(i) case studies that introduce the important considerations in setting up a biopharmaceutical company, as well as the ethics involved in treatment of disease, e.g. considerations in treating dwarfism with growth hormone, and quality control of the manufacturing process to ensure safety and efficacy;
(ii) traditional lectures by local staff that cover the topics of drug discovery and development; small molecule chemical synthesis and scaling up; protein structure and function; protein expression, purification and scaling up; molecular modeling; pre-clinical and clinical studies; intellectual property; and business strategy and marketing;
(iii) special lectures by international staff that focus on the pathophysiology of the diseases of interest including their unusual origin and composite etiology that could involve a chemical or infectious agent; this may also involve critical reading and class discussion of assigned papers;
(iv) guided group work where students have to apply the knowledge they have gained in the course and additional information they are able to obtain outside the class in identifying cutting edge ideas that are used to formulate a project involving development of small molecule drugs or biologics, vaccines, and/or diagnostic kits to address the diseases of interest; and
(v) a final presentation of the developed project to the international lecturers and invited experts. Following the final presentation, students are required to prepare a final group report that describes their project in detail, as well as incorporates any additional information needed to address the concerns raised during the final presentation.