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The Division of Basic Medical Sciences (BMS) consists of four Disciplines: Human Anatomy, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Human Physiology and Pharmacology.

Each of these four disciplines offers major courses in the degree programs in the SMHS UPNG. The degree programs are MBBS, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Pharmacy and Dentistry.


MBBS PROGRAM: The curriculum is problem-based, integrated and community-oriented, with an emphasis on independent learning. The curriculum is organized into five “domains of learning”, based on defined program objectives, and assessment is based on these domains. The course outline (“Road Map”) for each of the disciplines in BMS can be obtained from the Medical Education Unit in SMHS UPNG.




Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I & II:

This course is by the Discipline of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.

It aims to provide students with the basic concepts of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology needed to understand most of the chemical processes at the molecular level that occur in living cells and tissues. It also covers the main biochemical principles involved in the homeostasis of the human body.

Clinical Biochemistry & Molecular Biology I & II

This advance course in Biochemistry is taken by students that successfully completed Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I & II.

This course includes significance of quality assurance in Clinical Biochemistry involving the control of pre-analytical and analytical variables, the establishment and use of reference values in the clinical laboratory; disorders of fluid and electrolytes balance, biochemical tests for assessing the functional status of the major systems; the significance of biochemical tests in diagnosing a disorder and interpretation of the results.   


Human Physiology I & II:

This course is by the Discipline of Physiology.

It aims to provide the students with the understanding of the Physiological processes and systems of the human body; the mechanisms by which those processes and systems are maintained and regulated.


Pharmacology I & II:

This course is by the Discipline of Pharmacology.

It aims to enable students acquire knowledge of the principles of Pharmacology and their application for the cure, control, prevention and diagnosis of diseases. It will enable students to explain the pharmacological principles underlying a safe effective therapeutic application of drugs and be aware of the principles of rational drug use including the essential drugs concept. The various sections of pharmacology will be covered, including general and basic principles of pharmacology, systemic pharmacology, and others.

Introduction to Pharmacology & Toxicology:

This course is by the Discipline of Pharmacology.

The emphasis of this course is on the principles of pharmacology and toxicology, and some of the drugs and chemicals present in today’s society.

It aims to introduce students to the study of the interaction of drugs and other Xenobiotics with living matter, with emphasis on the principles of drug action and on the reactions of living processes to drugs and toxic substances commonly found in society.


Human Anatomy:

This course is by the Disciple of Anatomy.

It is taught as part of the Basic Medical Sciences I & II.

It aims to provide students with the knowledge and practical instruction in general anatomy. It also includes Head and Neck and Neuroscience.

Pharmacology deals with the study of all medicines (drugs) and their effects on physiological systems, and in particular in humans. Pharmacology is divided into two broad areas of study, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Pharmacodynamics deals with drug action in the body which looks at the cellular targets in the body that medicines specifically bind such as enzymes or receptors to produce their desired therapeutic effect(s) in the diseased body.  Pharmacokinetics looks at how the body will handle the medicine once it is administered into the body under four key pharmacokinetic processes of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. Since there is no perfect medicine, unwanted effects are also produced by most medicines as these are foreign compounds (xenobiotics) and it is the dose that makes a difference between remedy and poison.


The focus of the discipline is to ensure that trained health professionals who will prescribe medicines (doctors and dentists) and those who will dispense medicines (pharmacists) understand pharmacology so that they will give the right medicine to patients and give right correct instructions to patients, respectively. The overall aim in pharmacology is ensure rational therapy is adhered to, that medicines are used based on their known actions and pharmacokinetic properties providing a safe and effective therapeutic process for the community and public while reducing unwanted adverse effects.



Dr Naomi Hehonah

Head Pharmacology discipline