Molecules against Malaria - Context/problem-based learning 


This medicinal chemistry case study is designed to introduce students to the development of antimalarial 4-aminoquinolines and the early stages of drug discovery and development. It focuses on antimalarial 4-aminoquinolines (4-AQs) and involves an introduction to malaria, its causes, societal impact and the need for new drugs. It then presents an overview of 4-AQs, their mode of action, structure activity relationships (SARs) and pharmacokinetics.


This resource has been provided by, or developed in partnership with, The National HE STEM Programme.



The context of this resource requires that the students adopt the role of a medicinal chemist working for the GHO (Global Health Organisation) in the Tropical Diseases Research Centre. Learners are asked to prepare a research proposal of not more than 2000 words to seek funding for a SAR study which aims to find new and much needed antimalarial 4-AQs.

Students work in groups of 3-5 and the overall task is achieved in a stepwise manner over a series of seven Workshops. The learners manage their project using a wiki, present their findings and recommendations to their peers and tutors and compile a professional report. 

The resource differs from a traditional lecture course by employing Context/Problem-Based Learning as a teaching methodology, which aims to increase student engagement by using real world contexts. Learners work collaboratively and are presented with problem scenarios that are ill-defined and have a number of satisfactory solutions. This approach allows for the development of valuable transferable skills such as communication, team working and problem solving.

This resource and its components are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.