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Peer Review

Medicines by Design

by National Institute of General Medical Sciences


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Jul 29, 2013 by Health Sciences
Overview: This open textbook was developed by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The topic covered in this learning resource is understanding the role of combining chemistry and biology in creating medicines. Somes of the features of this learning resource include images, video, quizzes, word puzzles, and an interactive glossary.
Type of Material: This learning resource is an open textbook.
Recommended Uses: The materials may be used in the classroom, as supplemental reading or as lectures. Information from this source may be used individually or as a team.
Technical Requirements: The user will need a computer with Internet access and a web browser to view or download the file. The file is available as an ePUB and PDF, so users will need an ePUB reader or Acrobat Reader software.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
There are four chapters in the book. Each chapter has associated learning goals. After reading the book, the user will be able to:

Chapter 1 - ABCs of Pharmacology
  • Explain the difference between and agonist and an antagonist.
  • Discuss how grapefruit juice affects blood levels of certain medicines.
  • Explain what the pharmacologist plots on the vertical and horizontal axes of a dose-response curve.
  • Name one of the potential risks associated with taking herbal products.
  • Name the four stages of a drug's life in the body.

Chapter 2 - Body Heal Thyself
  • Define metabolism.
  • Explain how aspirin works.
  • Name three functions of blood.
  • Give two examples of immunotherapy.
  • Identify the technique scientists use to study a protein's three dimensional structure.

Chapter 3 - Drugs from Nature, Then and Now
  • Identify the health problem for which scientists are testing cone snail toxins.
  • Explain how people are protected when they volunteer to participate in a clinical trial.
  • Discuss why plants and marine organisms have chemicals that could be used in medicines.
  • Explain the term, drug "lead."
  • Name the first marine derived cancer medicine.

Chapter 4 - Molecules to Medicine
  • Name three drug delivery methods.
  • Describe how G proteins work.
  • Discuss what kinases do.
  • Discuss the "omics" revolution in biomedical research.
Target Student Population: This material may be used by students, faculty and other stakeholders from high school and beyond. Disciplines such as career education, pharmacy, nursing, chemistry and the life sciences may use the materials from this source.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Sufficient reading and comprehension skills are necessary in understanding this material. Medical terminology, and introduction to chemistry and/or pharmacology would enhance the learners ability to understand the content.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The learning resource is written at a basic level. This lends itself to comprehension across disciplines. Materials offer career ideas and connections across disciplines. The online version provides an interactive crossword puzzle over terminology used in the learning resource.
Concerns: Vast amounts of information may be overwhelming to some lower level students or laypersons

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The material maybe used across several disciplines and provides general background knowledge. Materials appeal to multiple learning styles and engages multiple senses. There are questions that stimulate discussion and learning. Excellent supposition of the role DNA will play in the future before medications are prescribed.
Concerns: The learning resource would be better if it included an assessment of foundational knowledge before advancing to a new topic.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The materials are visually appealing and connect chemistry and biology in a realistic manner. Excellent use of scientific photos for each chapter.
Concerns: Depending upon the speed of the Internet connection, the PDF may take time to download.

Other Issues and Comments: None.