A pile of various pill packets, representing drugs and medicines

Good Brain, Bad Brain: Drug Origins

Explore our past, present and future understanding of drugs, with this free course. Where do drugs come from? How do they work?

Watch the trailer

About the course

This course is designed for anyone who has ever wondered how the drugs in their medicine cabinet were found in the first place and how they ended up as pills in a bottle.

Where do drugs come from?

We’ll start by reflecting on the nature of medicines and look at the history of some everyday drugs that have been taken by humans for centuries.

This will show us that many commonly used drugs were found somewhat accidentally - and often without any understanding of the science behind how they worked.

Over time, this apparently random process has been refined and improved, so we’ll go on to consider recent advances in identifying potential drugs.

How do drugs go from laboratory to medicine?

Finding a molecule that has the potential to act as a drug is not the end of the process. The critical questions then are:

  • how do we get the drug into the body?
  • how much needs to be taken?
  • and will it be safe enough as well as effective?

What’s your experience?

The course will take an interactive approach, allowing you to both share your own experiences of medicines, and learn from experts in pharmacology and neuroscience. All jargon will be explained, so that you can join in without any specialist knowledge.

You can read more about the course in Alison Cooper’s blog post: “Have you ever wondered how drugs end up in a bottle in your medicine cabinet?

This course will give you the opportunity to purchase a Statement of Participation.

Requirements

This course is aimed at anyone with an interest in finding out where the drugs that keep us healthy come from. To take the course, the only experience you need is to have taken a drug - even just a throat lozenge.