New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

Creation and Dissemination of a Two and Three Dimensional Molecular Database of Drugs used in Ophthalmology

Sarah-Anne Briffa, Department of Pharmacy, University of Malta (Malta)

Claire Shoemake, Department of Pharmacy, University of Malta (Malta)

Mary Ann Sant Fournier, Department of Pharmacy, University of Malta (Malta)


Introduction: Medicinal chemistry is significantly important for a pharmacy student, but its abstract nature challenges both its learning and teaching [1]. Visualisation is a way of presenting facts to aid understanding [2]. Thus, the exposure of two- and three- dimensional structures of drug molecules can minimise misconceptions of chemical concepts [3]. The objective of this study was to construct a 2D/3D molecular database of ophthalmic drugs and to subsequently check its validity among a pharmacy undergraduate cohort.

Methodology: The ophthalmic drugs were identified from the British National Formulary 64th ed. 2D and 3D representations were constructed using the computational tools Accelrys® Draw 4.1 and Sybyl® 1.2 respectively. Next, receptor-ligand representations of the ophthalmic drugs binding with their endogenous receptors were created. This was done by firstly searching the Protein Data Bank for suitable PDB entries, and then inserting them into VMD® 1.9 software. The two- and three-dimensional structures, the receptor-ligand representations, together with a drug profile, were collated into an online searchable database.

Results: Evaluation of the database was performed by measuring knowledge scores of pharmacy undergraduates (n=85) before and after the database exposure. This was done with the use of a questionnaire, aimed at measuring students’ knowledge and at gaining students’ perception on visualisation and its relation to Medicinal chemistry. 68.83% of students agreed that molecular visualisation is taxing while 99.41% agreed that visualisation problems can be assisted by molecular databases. Using the Paired Sample t-test, it was observed that mean knowledge scores before and after database exposure were statistically significant with a p-value of 0.000.

Discussion: The evaluation of the results have shown a positive measurable outcome on student’s understanding and liking of Medicinal chemistry. Thus, the database can be used as a student tool adjunct to Medicinal chemistry lectures with the definitive aim to help students gain the required basis of chemistry needed to successfully complete a pharmacy course.





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