1st year training activities
BIOLOGY - (3 ECTS) Optional course
The objective of the course is to provide the basics of the chemistry of living matter from its propaedeutic fundamentals. Specifically, the following will be covered: biological processes at the molecular level; structure, properties, and functions of biomolecules, including proteins and nucleic acids; molecular and regulatory mechanisms of biotransformations, enzyme catalysis, metabolism, fermentations, gene expression and regulation, signal transduction, intra- and intercellular communications.
Assessment methods will be designed to verify that the student has acquired the basic knowledge in biology that is necessary in the cultural development required by the degree program.
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY – (3 ECTS) Optional course
The aim of the course is to give students the proper competences to understand the structure, properties, and reactivity of the organic compounds and the biomolecules that they will encounter during their next studies.
Particularly, the chemistry of the main classes of organic compounds will be discussed, on the basis of their molecular structure. These include alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alkyl halides, alcohols, ethers, aromatic compounds, aldehydes, ketones, amines, carboxylic acids and their derivatives. Their reactivity will be illustrated through the study of different reaction mechanisms, with particular attention toward stereochemistry. The main classes of biomolecules will also be discussed, including carbohydrates, amino acids and proteins, lipids and nucleic acids.
The examination is aimed at verifying that the students have learned the concepts at the basis of organic chemistry, which are necessary for the cultural development required by the degree program.
ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY (3 ECTS) optional course
The aim of the course is to provide students with a basic knowledge of those principles of chemistry necessary for a correct setting of the analytical methods that will be applied, in subsequent courses, to the analysis and control of drugs and nanomedicines.
The student's training will focus in particular on the fundamental notions of analytical chemistry useful for the completion and critical evaluation of the experimental results.
The verification methods will be designed to verify that the student has acquired the basic knowledge in analytical chemistry that is necessary in the cultural development required by the degree course.
ADVANCED BIOLOGY (6 ECTS)
The aim of the course is to provide advanced knowledge of biology relating to biomolecules, the recombinant molecular technologies for engineering proteins and organisms; industrial biochemistry, microorganisms, products of biotechnological origin and xenobiotics including drugs; molecular and recombinant biotechnologies and the biochemical and biotechnological applications offered by all the skills listed above at the level of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and sugars in the medical, pharmaceutical, veterinary and industrial fields.
The verification methods will be aimed at verifying that the student has acquired the knowledge relating to biomolecules necessary to develop the skills required for their transmission.
PREFORMULATION AND PHARMACEUTICAL TECHNOLOGY - (9 ECTS) 2 modules
The course aims at providing preliminary knowledge in the field of the design and development of formulations based on nanosystems.
The teaching is divided into two modules:
one module concerns preformulation studies related to the properties of the active ingredient (solid-state, solubility, partition coefficient, permeability) and of powders, multiphase and dispersed systems. Brief outlines of the properties of materials that can be used as excipients in the formulation of nanosystems (polymeric and lipidic) are provided. Part of the course involves teaching labs aimed at the characterization of active ingredient and excipients in terms of particle size analysis, solid-state analysis using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and the final product in terms of rheology properties and biopharmaceutical properties.
The other module concerns formulation strategies for poorly soluble drugs and nanosystems based on polymeric and lipid ingredients and includes practical workshops.
The exam methods will be aimed at verifying that the student has acquired theoretical and practical skills useful for the pharmaceutical development of nanosystems.
TRADITIONAL AND INNOVATIVE DOSAGE FORMS - (12 ECTS) 2 modules
The aim of the course is to provide students knowledge and proper competences in pharmaceutical technology related to the different types of pharmaceutical dosage forms, whose formulation technology and biopharmaceutical aspects are introduced.
A part of the course is dedicated to traditional dosage forms and controlled release dosage forms that are introduced and framed according the legislation of current European Pharmacopeia. Another part of the course is dedicated to innovative pharmaceutical dosage forms, formulation technology of macromolecules with special focus on protein molecules, and to an introduction to nanomedicine. The course encompass a practical part with laboratories of formulation technology and controls.
The verification mode aims to assess students knowledge and competences on formulation technology of traditional and innovative dosage forms treated in the course.
NANOTECHNOLOGY BASED MEDICINES - (6 ECTS)
The aim of the learning module is to explore the technological issues of nanosized therapeutic systems with special focus on the formulation processes and the quality control of nanotechnology-based medicines. The course faces the main nanoparticulate delivery systems made of polymers and lipids (liposomes and SLN/NLC), their preparation procedures and characterization. The course encompass practical laboratories dedicated to nanoparticles characterization techniques.
The method of verification goes to assess the student’s knowledge about the preparation and the characterization of nanosystems.
IMMUNOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGICAL DRUGS -(9 ECTS) 2 modules
BIOTECHNOLOGICAL DRUGS (6 ECTS) Module
The aim of the course is to provide the student with expertise concerning structure-activity relationships of different classes of biological and biotechnological drugs, starting from synthetic peptides up to the most recent monoclonal antibodies and their conjugation derivatives with chemotherapeutic drugs.
In particular, synthetic and recombinant peptide drugs, hematopoietic and tissue growth factors, including possible applications in nanomedicine for tissue regeneration, will be covered. The most important classes of recombinant therapeutic proteins, monoclonal antibodies and their conjugation products will be also addressed. In this context, vaccine products obtained by the development of recombinant antigenic proteins, glycoconjugate vaccines and nanovaccines are also discussed.
Finally, the course illustrates the most recent developments in the field of nano-biotechnologies such as polymeric conjugates of proteins/enzymes and monoclonal antibodies, nanoparticles decorated with biomolecules such as oligosaccharides, peptides, proteins or monoclonal antibodies and nano-constructs for tissue regeneration such as bioactive matrices obtained by immobilization of growth factors.
Verification methods will be aimed at confirming the acquisition of the knowledge required to design biotechnological drugs.
IMMUNOLOGY (3 ECTS) Module
Aims of the course: to give the students basic concepts on the organization and functions of the immune system and an overview of the immunology-based techniques used in laboratory research. The first part of the course will present the immune system in general, the immune cellular elements (mainly phagocytes and lymphocytes), the primary lymphoid organs (bone marrow and thymus) and the secondary lymphoid organs (lymph nodes, spleen, mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue – MALT). The natural and the adaptive immune responses (both humoral or cell mediated) along with structure and function of immunoglobulins (antibodies) and their classes will be presented in detail. Subsequently, the concepts of immune tolerance, hypersensitivity, autoimmunity, and inflammation (acute and chronic) will be presented. A brief history of immune research will be provided to allow an understanding of immunology very complex terminology.
A second part of the course will focus on the presentation of the current experimental methods used to produce polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies (Milstein and Kohler’s hybridoma technique, Smith’s phage display) and on protocols used for 1) isolating, purifying, determining antibody class, and storing produced antibodies; 2) determination of affinity and dissociation constants of monoclonal antibodies directed to a specific antigen; and 3) mapping of the epitope recognized by the monoclonal antibody on the target antigen.
Skills acquired by the student will be evaluated in order to assess knowledge that is functional to the comprehension of immune mechanisms related to the interaction with nanoparticle systems.