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Energy resources: Coal
During the Indistrial Revolution half of the world's coal came from Britain. We still rely heavily on it today to meet our energy needs, but now we input more than we produce. Burning it introduces large amounts of gases into the atmosphere that harm the environment in a variety of ways. In this unit it will become apparent that the most appealing quality of coal is that there is plenty of it.Author(s): Creator not set

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Vaccination
Vaccinations are now considered a part of everyday life, but how do they work? This unit will help those with a background in biology understand the historical development of vaccination, assess the various types of vaccines used today, examine their production and explore the limitations that are placed on vaccination programmes. First published on Tue, 04 Oct 2011
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Volcanic hazards
This Unit discusses the various hazards posed by different types of volcanic eruption, illustrated by examples from recent eruptions. The discussion is focussed around reading Chapter 5 of “Teach yourself volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis” by OU volcanologist David Rothery. First published on Wed, 16 Nov 2011 as Author(s): Creator not set

Influenza: A case study
This unit explores the biology of influenza, covering a range of topics including: the virus, infection, replication, mutation, immune responses, pathology, surveillance, diagnosis and treatment. First published on Fri, 16 Dec 2011 as Infl
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Earth's physical resources: petroleum
The discovery of of the world's first major underground oilfield in Pennsylvania, USA in 1859 sparked the continuing era of the world's reliance on cheap energy from oil and gas. This unit begins by examining the geological characteristics of petroleum and the key ingredients necessary to form oil and gas accumulations. Then there is a brief description of industrial operations during the life cycle of an oilfield, starting with subsurface analysis and exploration drilling. The unit also highlig
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The evolving Universe
The ‘Big Bang’ is said to be the origin of our Universe. This unit will help you to comprehend what happened in the moments immediately after the Big Bang and during the initial cooling period. You will also gain an understanding of how this event turned in to the Universe we live in today. First published on Mon, 12 Mar 2012 as Author(s): Creator not set

Energy resources: An introduction to energy resources
Energy resources are essential for any society, be it one dependent on subsistence farming or an industrialised country. There are many different sources of energy, some well-known such as coal or petroleum, others less so, such as tides or the heat inside the Earth. Is nuclear power a salvation or a nightmare? This unit provides background information to each resource, so that you can assess them for yourself.Author(s): Creator not set

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Living without oil
Crude oil is currently our most important global source of energy. It is vital in the manufacture of many modern materials. But the world's supply of oil is finite, its price is unstable and our reliance on oil has damaging environmental consequences. This unit explains why developing alternatives to oil is an essential and urgent task for humanity. First published o
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Test kits for water analysis
This unit steps outside the laboratory to look at some examples of analytical procedures being carried out in the field using commercial test kits. These quick tests provide results on-site, extending the options available to analysts. The methods used are chemical or microbiological in nature, made portable by microelectronics. First published on Mon
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Galaxies, stars and planets
This unit is a general introduction to galaxies, stars and planets, including scale of the universe from the very large to the very small; orbits and gravity; the Solar System; the Sun and other stars; galaxies and the composition of astronomical objects. First published on Thu, 17 Oct 2013 as Author(s): Creator not set

Introduction to histology
This unit provides an introduction to histology, the study of tissues. It also describes how histology can aid in the diagnosis of disease and explains how histology services are organised within a hospital. First published on Wed, 07 Aug 2013 as Author(s): Creator not set

Introduction to microscopy
The unit provides an introduction to microscopy and the operation of a simple light microscope, of the type found in histology units and teaching laboratories. It outlines different methods used for preparing and staining tissue sections for microscopy, and explains how different stains can be used to identify particular cells, pathogens and anatomical structures.Author(s): Creator not set

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Detecting Down’s syndrome in the unborn fetus
Down's syndrome is the condition that is screened for the most in pregnant women because of the increased risk with the increasing age of mothers. This unit describes several bioanalytical tests, and how these are used in conjunction with scans to screen and diagnose the condition. First published on Fri, 20 Jul 2012 as
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5.4 The medical chemistry strategy

The strategy adopted was to start from first principles. Since prazosin is an alpha1 antagonist, it must compete with the agonist, noradrenaline, for the alpha1 receptor. So the Pfizer scientists decided to compare the structures of the two molecules and look for common structural features that might provide an insight into the way in which they bind to the receptor. One important observation was the fact that, at physiological pH, both compounds would be protonated, nor
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5.2 The pharmaceutical background

The existence of alpha receptors had been known for many years, and the obvious approach of trying to block these receptors, and hence prevent the noradrenaline from binding, had already been tried by many research groups. A number of compounds with alpha-blocking activity had been identified, including one called prazosin (2) discovered by Pfizer at their US research laboratories in Groton. Substances such as prazosin which block agonist action are called antagonists.


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4 Summary of video

At the beginning of the video clip, Dr Simon Campbell pointed out that, in the development of any drug, there are a number of criteria that must be satisfied. There must be a clinical need – a medical condition or disease that requires effective treatment. Secondly, there has to be a commercial opportunity; because drug development is so expensive, pharmaceutical companies are less likely to invest resources in developing new therapeutic agents where there is already an adequate range of su
Author(s): The Open University

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3 Reading activity

You will shortly be asked to read through a research paper published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, in which the synthesis and structure–activity relationships of doxazosin and related compounds are described. It has been provided:
Author(s): The Open University

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2 Video activity

The video clip included in this section looks at the development of one particular drug. It examines the complex multidisciplinary process that was involved in its discovery. Before you watch the video, read through the Pre-viewing notes.


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1 The chemical industry

The chemical industry is one of the major contributors to the economies of advanced industrial nations.

The importance of organic chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry becomes apparent in the light of the fact that in the UK alone some £2.2b was spent in 1997 on research and development. Literally thousands of different compounds have to be synthesised and tested in the search for the one that will prove to be a successful and valuable therapeutic agent. As a result, the average cos
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