Skip to content Skip to main navigation

HMX Pro Pharmacology
Drug Delivery

Understand advances in drug delivery systems – and the implications for patient care.

The range of systems and approaches that can be used to deliver therapeutics is growing and advancing at an incredible rate, so learning about the advances in drug delivery has important implications for anyone working in health care and related sectors.

This online course offers a unique way for professionals to learn from leading Harvard Medical School faculty about cutting-edge drug delivery systems and approaches that can be used in the treatment and prevention of disease.

Course Topics

Overview of Drug Delivery

  • What is Drug Delivery?
  • The Promise of Drug Delivery

Drug Delivery Systems

  • Overview of Drug Delivery Systems
  • Local Administration for Systemic Effect
  • Local Administration for Local Effect
  • Systemic Administration for Systemic Effect
  • Systemic Administration for Local Effect
  • Clinical Linkage: Closed Loop Systems

Selected Approaches to Drug Delivery

  • Overview of Drug Delivery Approaches
  • Enhancing Permeation
  • Modifying Drugs by Attachment to Polymers
  • Manipulating Existing Drug Transport Mechanisms
  • Utilizing Vectors to Deliver Drugs
  • Remote Triggering
  • Clinical Linkage: Recent Advances in Drug Delivery Systems

Materials and Systems

  • Overview of Materials and Systems
  • Polymeric Materials
  • Non-polymeric Materials
  • Triggerable Materials
  • Microparticles vs. Nanoparticles
  • Hydrogels
  • Biocompatibility
  • Clinical Linkage: Developing New Drug Delivery Systems


  • The Future of Drug Delivery

Download the Drug Delivery course outline

Course Instructors

Kate McDonnell-Dowling, HMX Pharmacology Course Lead

Kate McDonnell-Dowling, PhD

Lecturer in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School
Associate Director of Curriculum, HMX

Daniel Kohane

Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD

Professor of Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School
Pediatric Critical Care Physician, Boston Children’s Hospital

Philip Cole

Philip Cole, MD, PhD

Professor of Medicine and Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School Senior Investigator, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

More Information

Frequently asked questions

Who should take this course?

This course is designed for professionals in health care, life sciences, and related industries who want to have a better understanding of drug delivery for their work.

What do participants need to know to succeed in this course?

We recommend basic knowledge of chemistry, biology, and physics, as well as an understanding of key pharmacology concepts. If you need further background in pharmacology, we also offer an introductory course, HMX Pro Pharmacology – Essentials.

Not sure? Take this short quiz to gauge your knowledge of pharmacology concepts.

What is the time commitment?

Most people can expect to spend around 15–20 hours total, but this depends on your baseline knowledge, how carefully you take notes, and how seriously you take the assessments. New course material is released periodically, and remains available until the course period ends, so participants can work at their own pace. There is a final exam at the end of each course that can be taken any time during the final exam period.

Can participants earn certificates from Harvard Medical School?

There are two certification levels, based on participant scores:

  • Certificate of Achievement
  • Certificate of Completion