SHE Level 1
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M1B124774
Module Leader Allison Grant
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

This module provides detailed consideration of the physiology of major body systems: cardiovascular (including blood and immunity), respiratory, renal and digestive systems.


Cardiovascular system: gross and internal anatomy of the heart; the cardiac cycle and blood flow; intrinsic and extrinsic control over heart activity; ECG (normal and abnormal traces); anatomy and function of blood vessels; vascular resistance; regulation of blood pressure; disorders of the cardiovascular system. Blood and immunity: composition of whole blood; functions of plasma; red blood cells, haemoglobin and gas transport; factors affecting gas transport; oxygen saturation curves; platelets and blood clotting; some features of general defence mechanisms; the different types of white blood cells; phagocytes and phagocytosis; the roles of T- and B-lymphocytes in immunity; the different types of antibody and their functions; primary and secondary immune responses; the nature of artificial versus natural and active versus passive immunity. Respiratory system: anatomy of the respiratory system; pulmonary circulation; mechanism of ventilation; autonomic control of airway resistance; factors affecting work of breathing; exchange of gases in the alveoli and in the tissues; obstructive and restrictive disease; regulation of ventilation; measurement of lung function. Renal system & Body Fluids: structure and function of kidneys (including microstructure of a nephron); renal processes and regulation of filtration, reabsorption and secretion; body fluid compartments, composition and exchange; control of salt, water and acid base balance by the kidneys; consequences of renal failure. Digestive system: basic nutrition; structure and function of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract, including accessory organs (pancreas, liver, gall-bladder); mechanical and chemical digestion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins; absorption of end products of digestion (monosaccharides, fatty acids and amino acids); neural and hormonal control of gut function.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:- Describe the functioning of each system and explain the mechanisms that control activities and maintain homeostasis.- Discuss the consequences of disordered functioning of each system studied.- Demonstrate good practical skills, including a range of physiological recording techniques.- Collect, analyse and present data from physiological experiments.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The course material will be presented to students using a variety of techniques ranging from traditional lectures to independent learning with the learning objectives of each section of the syllabus clearly outlined in GCU Learn . Fundamental information will be presented in lectures with lecture notes placed on GCU Learn . More conceptually difficult aspects of the course will involve interactive learning through tutorial, laboratory and e-learning activities. The tutorial programme will aim to encourage students to think critically about material presented in lectures and promote independent learning. Practical classes will also be used to reinforce the material presented in lectures and to develop a variety of practical skills, data analysis and working within a team.

Indicative Reading

Martini, Nath and Bartholomew, 2012 Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology 9E Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Transferrable Skills

Communication skills: oral communication; group working; effective listening and selective note taking; short answer writing. Laboratory skills: accurate observation and measurement; safe laboratory practice; recording techniques; teamwork. Data interpretation skills: interpretation of experimental results. Information retrieval skills: use of core textbook and other texts, and on-line resources. Life Skills: self-motivation and independent learning; teamwork; organisational skills; IT skills.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (FT) 11.00
Assessment (FT) 2.00
Independent Learning (FT) 146.50
Practicals (FT) 7.50
Lectures (FT) 33.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 1.00 50.00 35% Unseen objective style class test
Coursework 2 1.00 50.00 35% Unseen objective style class test