PHAR2210 Research-based assignment_2021
This assignment is designed to provide students an opportunity to examine the latest scientific research on
a topic that is related to and beyond lectures. Students will acquire skills in two areas: (1) research –
conduct literature-based research to identify, evaluate and synthesize robust scientific evidence from
multiple sources, and (2) written communication – summarize scientific evidence and present findings
and conclusions in the form of a written report. While the assignment offers students an opportunity to
revisit relevant pharmacological concepts introduced in lectures, it is primarily designed to expose
students to an area of knowledge that goes beyond lectures, rather than being an exercise to
memorise/regurgitate lecture contents.
The 2021 theme of the assignment is “single nucleotide polymorphism and drug action”.
The significance of CYP450 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) on drug metabolism is briefly
examined in lectures. SNP, however, is not restricted to CYP450 enzymes. Polymorphism of other drug
metabolising enzymes such as UGT and SULT, drug transporters, and receptors can also contribute to the
behaviour of a drug in the human body. You are to prepare a written report on how SNP affects drug
action based on your examination and analysis of the latest research.
2. Scope of assignment
your assignment must be entirely related to pharmacology and evidence-based. Personal opinions,
ethical and social considerations are beyond the scope.
your assignment should focus on depth (e.g., consideration of one or two well-defined topics) not
breadth (e.g., covers many unrelated topics, and each topic is superficially discussed).
your assignment must consider how SNP of either ONE or TWO functional proteins affects drug
action. If you choose two functional proteins, they must come from the same protein family. If you are
not sure about your choice, you should discuss with the Unit Coordinator first.
CYP2C19 is a functional protein, but you should NOT consider the entire CYP450 family
UGT1A1 is a functional protein, but you should NOT consider the entire UGT family
P-glycoprotein (MDR1, ABCB1) is a functional protein, but you should not consider the entire
2 adrenoceptor is a functional protein, but you should not consider the entire adrenoceptor
your assignment must only examine scientific research published between 2010 and 2021 (both
inclusive). You may consider cell-based studies, animal studies, clinical trials, clinical studies, or a
combination of any of these. Please refer to 4. Referencesfor further details.
If the scope of the assignment is determined to be unsatisfactory, the overall mark will not exceed
50 (out of 100), subject to other requirements being met.
The word limit for this assignment is 900-950 words, including headings/subheadings but excluding
the assignment title and the reference list.
The entire assignment, including the references list, must be NO MORE THAN four A4 pages. Only
the first four pages will be read and marked.
The Vancouver citation style is the ONLY accepted referencing style.
1 The assignment should consist of four distinct components – see below. You must include an
informative heading for each of Components 2-4.
Component 1 – a title that concisely and clearly summarises the key finding of the assignment
Component 2 (no more than 100 words) – provide a succinct and relevant overview of the topics
you are going to discuss. You may cite one or two recent review articles here.
Component 3 - examine the scientific research published between 2010 and 2021 (both inclusive)
and present your findings here. The use of informative subheadings is required to help readers better
understand and follow the chain of thoughts (also see 7. Guide to a successful completion of the
Component 4 (no more than 75 words) – provide a succinct summary of what has been discussed
previously. You may wish to suggest future directions but this is completely optional.
ALL references cited must be published between 2010 and 2021 (both inclusive). You should focus on
the quality and relevance, rather than the quantity of references.
Component 2 – you may cite one or two recent review articles here.
Component 3 - you are required to use at least FIVE, and up to TEN primary research articlesto
support the discussion here. You may cite review articles and/or case reports, but the total number of
such references (termed non-primary research articles) must not exceed THREE, and they will not
count towards the minimal requirement of FIVE primary research articles. Websites, textbooks,
books/book chapters and theses are NOT considered as appropriate references in the context of this
assignment. An example of primary research article, meta-analysis article and traditional review article
is available on Blackboard.
Express ideas using your own work (words, visual aids). Quotes, tables and/or figures taken directly
from references will significantly reduce the quality of your assignment. The inclusion of tables/figures
should only be considered when they are absolutely necessary and well justified.
5. Formatting requirements
Use the structure on Page 4 to prepare your assignment. Your assignment must meet the following five
• font - either Times New Roman or Arial
• font size - 12 points
• line spacing - 1.5 lines
• page margin - at least 2 cm (top/bottom/left/right)
• alignment - justified
6. Submission requirements
It is your responsibility to ensure that
a) you have selected the correct file for submission, and your submission is successful (you can view it
immediately after a successful submission)
b) you keep a copy of the confirmation email from Turnitin as proof of submission – this is the only
piece of evidence accepted in the event of a dispute
Submission is due by 11.59pm, Friday 30 April. You can resubmit your assignment BEFORE the due
date, but you will only be able to submit once ON OR AFTER the due date. When submitting your
assignment, enter the submission title in Turnitin as ‘protein name + student ID number’, e.g.,
2 7. Guide to a successful completion of the task
This research-based assignment requires you to identify, read, understand, digest, evaluate and synthesise
information/evidence from multiple sources. Before you start writing the report, it is crucial that you
carefully consider your choice and the scope of your assignment, as this will determine what research
articles will be appropriate and relevant.
It takes time to collect sufficient evidence and a few drafts to improve the quality of your submission so
start early, and do not assume that you can produce an assignment of high quality in a week or so. While
reading an article title and the abstract will give you a reasonably good idea of the appropriateness and
relevance of this article, you are expected to gain a good understanding of the experiments and results.
Write down notes in your own words as you read an article, and group these notes into sets so that you
can compare and contrast ideas later.
An assignment of good quality requires you to demonstrate that you have understood, evaluated and
analysed evidence from multiple sources. Avoid the following strategies as they will significantly reduce
the quality of your assignment.
provide a list of written summary for each research article cited without any comparison or analysis
consider too many (unrelated) topics, and the discussion of each topic is superficial
discussion relies heavily on one article (particularly review articles)
It is very important that you carefully consider how different pieces of information should be organized
and integrated so as to produce a logical and coherent discussion.
appropriate paragraphing must be considered so that each paragraph represents a defined discussion
point, and that paragraphs flow well from one to the next.
the use of informative subheadings, which summarise the topics and provide readers an idea of the
discussion, is required
for example, ‘CYP2C19 polymorphism strongly predicts response to Drug X in Asian populations’
is an informative subheading. On other hand, ‘CYP2C19 polymorphism’, ‘CYP2C19 and drug
response’, and ‘pharmacokinetics’ are examples of poorly considered headings.