A pilot study assessing the value of 3D printed molecular modelling tools for pharmacy student education

Susan Hall, Gary Grant, Devinder Arora, Abdullah Karaksha, Amelia McFarland, Anna Lohning, Shailendra Anoopkumar-Dukie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background and purpose 

Medicinal chemistry and pharmacology are difficult topics to both teach and learn given the complex nature of drug mechanisms and drug-receptor interactions. This highlights the need for innovative teaching methods to deliver this information to students. One such method is through three-dimensional (3D) printing of enzymes and ligands in the teaching of molecular modelling concepts relating to drug-receptor and enzyme interactions be ligands. This type of printing has been shown to be beneficial in several educational settings; however, to our knowledge, its effectiveness in pharmacy, medicinal chemistry and pharmacology learning and teaching is largely unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate pharmacy student perceptions and the educational benefits of 3D printed molecules in molecular modelling with regards to engagement and learning outcomes when used in a drug-target interaction topic. 

Educational activity and setting 

This aim was achieved through administering students a short questionnaire designed to evaluate their engagement and learning outcomes with students also free to provide comments. 


This study found that nearly all (>90%) students found the activity was useful in improving both student engagement and learning outcomes. 

Discussion and summary 

In conclusion, 3D printing may provide an alternative learning activity to help pharmacy students understand the drug-target interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-728
Number of pages6
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


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