Human Structure and Function module description

  • This module provides an introduction to human physiology, with emphasis on the relationships between human structure and function.
    • Introduction: Levels of organisation; concept of homeostasis; cell structure and physiology.
    • Organisation of the nervous system: Types of neurones; neuronal anatomy; neuronal physiology; membrane potentials and cellular information transfer; autonomic and somatic nervous systems.
    • Endocrine control of cells: Examples of endocrine control and component parts; organisation of the endocrine system; endocrine physiology; examples of endocrine control and integration.
    • The haemopoietic system: Functions and composition of blood: plasma, formed elements, clotting.
    • The cardiovascular system: Heart, blood vessels and control of blood pressure and blood flow.
    • The pulmonary system: Breathing; gas exchange at the lungs; gas transport; gas exchange at the tissues.
    • Skeletomuscular system: Skeletal system; muscle structure and physiology of contraction; stretch reflex.
    • Gastrointestinal system: Gastrointestinal tract anatomy; digestion and absorption; control of function; hepatobiliary function.
    • Renal system: Renal structure and function; formation of urine; control of fluid balance; control of fluid composition; pH regulation.
    • Reproduction and Development: Male and female reproductive physiology; sexual differentiation; fertilisation; changes in peri-natal physiology; parturition.

    On successfully completing this module, students will be able to:

    • Provide a detailed explanation of many of the principles of human physiology
    • Appreciate the close interdependence between the systems studied
    • Research and synthesise information from the specialist literature
    • Work safely and competently in the laboratory
    • Acquire, analyse and interpret experimental data
    • Analyse appropriate physiological data
    • Identify some of the issues associated with experiments on human subjects
    • Keep records of experimental methods and results
    • Draw evidence-based inferences from experimental data
    On completion of the module, the students will have developed their ability to:
    • Evaluate self-performance through use of summative feedback and staged assessment
    • Extract and synthesize information from specialist texts
    • Keep a laboratory notebook record of practical work
    • Manage time and tasks in the laboratory and in the more general work environment
    • Work independently to deadlines
    • Make use of feedback and discussion to reappraise and improve work
    Students will be given the opportunity to attend 54 hours of lectures and 3 laboratory classes in which they will complete a pro-forma laboratory notebook. There are 3 summative WebCT MCQ tests to be undertaken at appropriate times and there is a learning assignment over the Christmas vacation, assessed at the beginning of semester 2, followed later in the semester by a seminar-based assignment aimed at learning about the way physiological systems are functionally integrated.

    The coursework comprises:

    • Class quizzes (20%).
    • Population ecology exercise (5%)
    • Box model exercise (5%)
    • Formal Scientific report (10%)