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CHEM 4315/6315

This guide provides an overview of helpful resources for CHEM 4315/6215 at the University of Memphis.


CHEM 4315/6315: Syllabus

Course Information

Course Description

This course focuses on medicinal chemistry from the perspective of the underlying organic and bioorganic chemistry principles.  Modules will introduce the biomolecular targets of therapeutic drugs and mechanism of drug action, computational drug discovery techniques, mechanisms of drug metabolism and drug resistance, and synthetic approaches to prepare candidate therapeutics for evaluation.

Students will engage in discussions, group learning activities, and a semester-long project based on readings and video lecture materials in order to explore and practice medicinal chemistry.

Course Objectives

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze published literature on a disease to identify candidate biomolecular targets for therapeutic development
  • Propose and/or design new candidate therapeutics that might act at the selected biomolecular target
  • Apply appropriate modeling methods to justify the proposed and/or designed new candidate therapeutics
  • Design a synthetic plan to produce the proposed and/or designed new candidate therapeutics
  • Communicate your new candidate therapeutics in a convincing written proposal

Prerequisites and Co-requisites

This course integrates concepts from Foundations of Organic Chemistry (CHEM3310) and Foundations of Bioorganic Chemistry (CHEM3511) into the practice of drug discovery and evaluation.  The biomolecular targets of therapeutic drugs are biomolecules (structure, behavior and analysis of which are discussed in CHEM3511) and the majority of therapeutic drugs are organic molecules (structure, behavior and analysis of which are discussed in CHEM3310).  Online tutoring is available for concepts from these prerequisite courses through the "Tutoring" link in the Navigation bar.

Course Topics

The course is organized into modules.  Assignment and discussion deadlines generally suggest that modules be completed in the following sequence.

  • Module 1:  History of Medicinal Chemistry
  • Module 2:  Organic Chemistry Review
  • Module 3:  Overview of Biomolecular Drug Targets
  • Module 4:  Receptor Pharmacology
  • Module 5:  Enzymes
  • Module 6:  Enzyme Inhibition and Transition State Isosteres
  • Module 7:  Protonation and Tautomerism
  • Module 8:  Structure Modification
  • Module 9:  Overview of Computers in Medicinal Chemistry
  • Module 10:  Docking
  • Module 11:  Pharmacophore Modeling
  • Module 12:  QSAR
  • Module 13:  Drug Resistance Mechanisms
  • Module 14:  Drug Metabolism
  • Module 15:  Prodrugs
  • Module 16:  Synthetic Planning
  • Module 17:  Carbon-Carbon Bond Formation
  • Module 18:  Combinatorial Synthesis
  • Module 19:  Protecting Groups
  • Module 20:  Stereospecificity and Stereoselectivity
  • Module 21:  Emerging Topics in Medicinal Chemistry

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks

  • Required:  Organic Chemistry of Drug Design & Drug Action; Second Edition, Richard B. Silverman
    ISBN: 9780126437324
  • Recommended: Textbook of Drug Design & Discovery; Fourth Edition, Povl Krogsgaard-Larsen, Tommy Liljefors, and Ulf Madsen (Eds)
    ISBN: 9781420063226

Textbooks are available from the University Store at 901-678-2011, and online opens in new window.

Hardware and Software Requirements

The minimum requirements can be found at

Assessment and Grading

Testing Procedures

Examinations will be administered as eCourseware quizzes available for a specific time window.  Once a student begins an examination, it must be completed within the stated time limit (90 minutes each).  Students are allowed to refer to a periodic table of the elements (download from opens in new window and print prior to starting) and may use a calculator.  Other resources should not be used during examinations unless indicated in the exam instructions.

Grading Procedure

Homework and participation assignments will provide students with

  • practice applying course principles to problem solving to illustrate mastery of learning objectives, with feedback provided.
  • opportunities to reflect on learning objectives and learn from peers in the course.

Tests will be used to assess student skills in the same types of problem solving after practice through homework assignments and ungraded learning activities. The semester project will allow students to integrate all learning objectives into a drug design project of their own choosing.  Ability to propose and justify a new therapeutic candidate for a student-selected biochemical target constitutes high achievement in the course.

Grading Scale

Grades in CHEM4315 will be based on application of methods and principles discussed to individual projects (40%), homework (15%), class participation activities (15%) and examinations (30%).  

Grades in CHEM6315 will be based on application of methods and principles discussed to individual projects (36%), homework (14%), class participation activities (14%), video presentation on an emerging topic in medicinal chemistry (9%), and examinations (27%).  

Overall course grades in both CHEM4315 and CHEM6315 will be calculated based on percentage of possible points earned using the following grading scale.


Assignments and Participation

Assignments and Projects

sequenced list of all graded assignments, projects and assessments arranged by course module is available in the "Weekly Schedule and Assignments" document.  Items are due to the appropriate discussion forum or dropbox by 11:30 PM Sunday night of the week identified. Participation items are generally graded based on completion, and one incomplete participation assignment will be automatically dropped from the grade calculation.  Homework assignments and project components will be graded based on assignment rubrics (available from the Assessments pull-down in the Navigation bar).  The best 5 of 6 homework assignment scores will be utilized in the final grade calculation.  The three examinations will be equally weighted in the grade calculation.


Class Participation

Students are expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource, check the news and university email frequently for announcements, and actively participate in threaded discussion activities and group projects.


Each module in the course includes content equivalent to an 85-minute class period.  Completion of two modules per week will keep you on track throughout the course.  No modules need to be completed during the weeks of the examinations.  Assessments, homework, and participation activities are scheduled based on this timeline.

Course Ground Rules

A reiteration and emphasis of certain rules and course expectations. For example: participation is required; students are expected to communicate with other students in team projects, learn how to navigate in D2L, and keep abreast of course announcements; students must use the assigned university e-mail address rather than a personal e-mail address; students should address technical problems immediately; students must observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communication


  • Always include a subject line that begins with CHEM4315.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way.
  • Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion.
  • Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of others' ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.

Web Resources

Columbia Guide to Online Style by Janice R. Walker and Todd Taylor opens in new window (2nd Edition)
Citation Styles Online opens in new window- Purdue Owl

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited. Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly, through participation or assistance, are immediately responsible to the instructor of the class in addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions which may be imposed through the regular institutional disciplinary procedures. Expectations for academic integrity and student conduct are described in detail on the website of the Office of Student Accountability opens in new window. Please read in particular, the section about "Academic Misconduct opens in new window".

Your written work will be submitted to Turnitin opens in new window, or a similar electronic detection method, for an evaluation of the originality of your ideas and proper use and attribution of sources. As part of this process, you may be required to submit electronic as well as hard copies of your written work, or be given other instructions to follow. By taking this course, you agree that all assignments may undergo this review process and that the assignment may be included as a source document in's restricted access database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism in such documents. Any assignment not submitted according to the procedures given by the instructor may be penalized or may not be accepted at all.”

Library, Tutoring, and Other Resources

  • The myMemphis Portal system, eCampus Student tab provides access to University library opens in new window
  • The tutoring link in the course navigation bar provides access to free online tutoring through UpSwing.
  • The LinkedIn Learning link in the course navigation bar provides free access to thousands of video tutorials. 
  • Other support services are available through the Educational Support Program.  

Student Accommodations

Students with accessibility or learning accommodation due to a disability should contact Disability Resources for Students opens in new window(DRS, 901-678-2880, to submit an official request for course accommodations.

Student Health

Students who have a positive COVID-19 test should contact the Dean of Students at

Student Resources

Students who need additional resources can visit the Dean of Students Office website. opens in new window

Sexual Misconduct and Domestic Violence Policy

This policy specifically addresses sexual misconduct which includes dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The policy establishes procedures for responding to Title IX-related allegations of sexual misconduct. Complaints can be reported to the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE). The OIE office is located in the Administration Building, Room 156. You may contact the OIE by phone at 901.678.2713 or by email at opens in new window. Complaints can be submitted online at File a Complaint opens in new window.  

Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

University policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on protected characteristics and classes. Complaints of discrimination and harassment can be reported to the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE). You may contact OIE by phone at 901.678.2713 or by email at The full text of the policy can be found at GE2030 - NONDISCRIMINATION AND ANTI-HARASSMENT opens in new window

Technology Requirements

The following is a list of the minimum requirements to use our learning management system. Some courses will have more advanced requirements.

The following is a course-specific requirement.

  • Specialized software for drawing chemical structures (ChemDraw 18) and modeling exercises (MOE 2019) in homework submissions and in the class project can be accessed through umApps at

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.

Technical Support

Call the Helpdesk: (901) 678-8888

Online Helpdesk opens in new window: To report an issue or request assistance, contact umTech - Information Technology Services.