Short Courses

We deliver a number of short courses in collaboration with other institutes to allow groups of researchers to learn a specific set of skills or knowledge to further their own drug discovery research. Priority will be given to individuals working in countries that meet the Wellcome criteria for low-middle income country.

Courses listed below will run in 2023. Applications open around 3 months prior to the course starting.

For a list of courses with open applications, please view our events page and filter for short courses.

Further information on previous courses can be found here.

If your institute is interested in hosting a course or developing a new course for your staff please get in touch with our Scientific and Pedagogy Lead Dr Lauren Webster.

Advert for DDM in Brazil. Logo for course at the top, followed by text explaining the course layout and then bottom image shows a cartoon of scientists in a scientific laboratory

Drug Discovery Mission

Drug Discovery Mission (DDM) is designed as an interactive tool to understand the processes involved in drug discovery. Drug discovery is a highly collaborative process that utilises scientists from all disciplines. Without this multi-disciplinary approach, it would not be possible for drugs to make it to market. DDM will ask you to step outside of your comfort zone by exposing you to all aspects of the pre-clinical drug discovery process.

Despite the drug discovery process taking ~15 years from idea to market, the DDM will ask you to cover most of this process in one week. By embedding yourself into a team of drug discovery scientists, you will be asked to find a cure/treatment for a neglected tropical disease of WCAIR’s choosing. In order to succeed, you must work as a team to make critical analytical decisions and make conclusions on data presented to you.

DDM is comprised of talks and workshops. Topics included:
• Target product profiles and its role in unifying team goals
• Drug target interactions and how to design this into compounds
• Physiochemical properties and guidelines to succeed in drug discovery
• In vitro drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) and associated data
• Linking in vivo data to compound design
• Toxicity in drug discovery

WHEN: 19th – 24th March 2023

WHERE: Ribeirão Preto, Brazil

WHO:  WCAIR welcome applicants who are completing their PhD and early-stage researchers working in the field of chemistry/medicinal chemistry, based at Ribeirão Preto (University of São Paulo)

PLACES: 10 places available

Apply Now – Applications Close 30th November 2022

Yellow poster describing the medicinal chemistry 101 course, with a cartoon representation of the lab at the bottom.

Medicinal Chemistry 101

What does a medicinal chemist need to know about drug discovery? What contributions can this discipline make and how?

This course has been designed to give chemists working in medicinal chemistry a flavour of the different stages of the drug discovery process. Drug Discovery is highly collaborative, expensive and time consuming but reaps rewards of single dose single cures, vaccinations, and treatments. Our course highlights how to start and progress a drug discovery campaign with real life examples. By utilising a series of interactive talks, workshops and tutorials, participants will learn how chemical matter can be progressed using chemical optimisation, in vitro and in vivo DMPK.

Over 12-weeks, the team will take you through a series of topics to give you an appreciation of all aspects of drug discovery research.
• Target assessment and screening
• Hit discovery and structure activity relationship
• In vitro/In vivo DMPK and strategies to optimise
• How to optimise pharmacokinetic properties

WHEN: 5th June – 18th August 2023

LENGTH: 1.5 hr per week over 12 weeks

WHERE: Online via Microsoft Teams

WHO: WCAIR welcome applicants who are PhD and early-stage researchers working in the field of chemistry/medicinal chemistry.

PLACES: 20 places available

Applications will open in March 2023.

Course advert for DMPK 101, includes logo at the top and description of course content over a background image of human internal organs

DMPK 101

I have a potential drug but what happens next? The drug does not work when I dose it to an animal, why could that be?

Along with clinical efficacy, compounds can fail to reach the clinic due to poor pharmacokinetic properties. The importance of understanding how well a drug can be dissolved, absorbed and metabolised can assist in understanding your in vivo data and whether your drug could cause the desired pharmacological response.

DMPK 101 will explore DMPK’s place in drug discovery by covering topics including:
• Drug absorption, metabolism and route to the systemic circulation
• The 3 Rs in animal testing
• Understanding pharmacokinetic data and what this means for your drug project
• Potential for toxicity and how to identify

WHEN: 5th June – 18th August 2023

LENGTH: 1.5 hr per week over 12 weeks

WHERE: Online via Microsoft Teams

WHO: WCAIR welcome applicants who are PhD and early-stage researchers working in any field of pharmacology.

PLACES: 20 places available

Applications will open in March 2023.

Target to Candidate course poster, with logo and a course description of course content, with a background image of a capsule opening up with a visual representation of chemicals in the gap

Target to Candidate

What is a drug? How are drugs designed? How does a drug navigate in the body to its desired target? What is a drug target?

This course has been designed to give scientists, with the aim of working in drug discovery space, a flavour of how a drug project goes from idea to pre-clinical candidacy. Our course highlights how to start and progress a drug discovery campaign with real life examples from experts working in this area of science, both academia and industry. By utilising a series of interactive talks, workshops and tutorials, participants will learn the success, failures and challenges of drug discovery.

Throughout the course, the team will take you through a series of topics to give you an appreciation of all aspects of drug discovery research. After a brief introduction to drug discovery, you’ll be taught on the following subjects:

  • Screening methods and technologies
  • Hit validation and optimisation
  • Structure-based drug discovery
  • in vitro and in vivo DMPK
  • Lead optimisation
  • Mode of action
  • Pre-clinical follow-up

WHEN: 5th – 19th November 2023

LENGTH: 3 hrs per day over 2 weeks

WHERE: Online via Microsoft Teams

WHO: WCAIR welcome applicants who are PhD and early-stage researchers working in any field of drug discovery.

PLACES: 20 places available

Applications will open in August 2023.