Humanised model systems for practical teaching and demonstration of pharmacokinetic processess

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

14 Downloads (Pure)


Teaching pharmacokinetics effectively has developed with use of simple model system practical classes that enhance the student learning experience. These typically involve a central vessel representing a set volume of distribution and peristaltic pumps operating to clear an administered dye from the system. While these bring the subject matter to life, and allow active application of understanding, they are limited in terms of flexibility, explore limited parameters and are far removed from living systems. In addition, there are some limits to the drug administration routes and pharmacokinetic processes that can be demonstrated.

The aim was to expand and develop existing models to enable increased flexibility, adaptability and coverage of pharmacokinetic processes while also making the model systems more “human”. Such development would provide an almost infinite array of practical activities, demonstrations and projects for any educational context.

Summary of work and outcomes
Existing model systems were “humanised” by adapting the apparatus to better resemble a circulation linking the heart, kidneys and liver with flow controlled through a series of peristaltic pumps. This apparatus was mounted on a trolley behind a wooden human cut out with circulatory tubes positioned to resemble veins for administering drugs, and sample points for plasma and urine.

The apparatus was tested and additions made to extend the profile of processes that can be modelled. These included adding a stomach for oral administration, a bypass compartment for first pass metabolism and multi-compartment kinetics, an infusion pump for continuous infusion kinetics and a colour change reaction for modelling metabolism, induction, inhibition and pharmacogenetics.

In terms of outcomes, all of these assemblies were precise and reproducible in generating data values closely matching predicted theoretical values. Furthermore, use in a 3rd year undergraduate pharmacology class produced feedback comments like “very useful in connecting difficult pharmacokinetic relationships to clinical meaning” and “practicals were fun and offered a unique and interesting learning experience”.

These improved human pharmacokinetic models provide a reliable and relevant approach to teaching a challenging subject. The systems were precise in modelling theoretical values, provide accurate simulation of human pharmacokinetics and contribute to the Society’s educational offerings.

The work above contributes a new approach to teaching and learning pharmacokinetics in a simple, translatable format. The adaptability of varying the modular attachments alter the learning outcomes and pharmacokinetic area of focus meaning this methodology is relevant in education/outreach at specialist to primary school level.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
EventBritish-Pharmacology-Society Meeting (Pharmacology) - London
Duration: 18 Dec 201820 Dec 2018


ConferenceBritish-Pharmacology-Society Meeting (Pharmacology)


Dive into the research topics of 'Humanised model systems for practical teaching and demonstration of pharmacokinetic processess'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this