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Unit information: Integrative Physiology in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Integrative Physiology
Unit code PHPH20008
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Goodhead
Open unit status Not open





School/department School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience
Faculty Faculty of Biomedical Sciences


This unit focuses on aspects of integrative (or systems) physiology, including exercise, acid-base balance, foetal physiology, ageing and temperature control.

The unit includes a four week extended research practical project and a four week library project.

The aims are:

• To provide systematic coverage of integrated topics in systems physiology

• To provide a link between the first and third year of the Physiology programme in content

• To further develop transferable and scientific skills in preparation for the final year of the programme

These aims will be accomplished through lectures, research practical, directed self-education and independent work. A focus will be on gaining experimental skills both practical and written through involvement in an extended research practical.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit students should (Mapping to Physiology programme learning outcomes in brackets):

  1. Be able to give accounts of integrative physiology such as nutrition, foetal physiology, temperature regulation, muscle and exercise and ageing (A6)
  2. Be able to synthesise, understand, manage and summarise information from a number of sources (B1, C4)
  3. Be able to contribute to planning and carrying out a short research project (B2)
  4. Be able to interpret and manipulate scientific data (B3)
  5. Apply scientific method (B5)
  6. Be able to communicate clearly in writing (C1)
  7. Work effectively as part of a team (C2)
  8. Be able to use IT facilities for data handling and presentation of written work (C3)
  9. Manage own time effectively (C5)
  10. Plan projects and problem solve (C6)

Teaching details

  • Lectures (30)
  • Extended Research Practical (3hrs; 4 weeks)
  • Library Project (3hrs; 4 weeks)
  • Class tutorials (4: library projects; experimental reports; DIQ; essay writing)

Assessment Details

The unit will be assessed through a combination of course work undertaken throughout the unit and written exam at the end of the unit.

Coursework (20%)

1. Extended research practical, 2500 words (10%)

2. Library Project, 2500 words (10%)

This course will require the Neurophysiology or equivalent unit that includes the relevant skills as a co-requisite, thus students taking this unit will have already undertaken short practical reports and essay writing as part of another second year biomedical sciences unit. These exercises will support the coursework that they encounter on the Integrative Physiology unit. In addition, the summative coursework will be supported by class tutorials on producing extended practical reports and library projects.

Final Exam 2.5hrs (80%)

Essay (1 of 4), EMQ (2), MCQ (18), DIQ (1)

Reading and References

There are no-set texts for Physiology level 2 because of the diversity of topics taught. At level 2 you will be expected to draw on information from a number of sources for any one topic, using multiple textbooks. Individual lecturers are likely to make recommendations of useful information sources, both textbooks and reports in scientific journals. Some may recommend web -based materials.

In this context useful textbooks include:

  • Berne and Levy Physiology, 6th Ed
  • Berne and Levy Principles of Physiology, 4th Ed or any more recent.
  • Cooper, G.M: The Cell: A Molecular Approach, 3rd Ed. 2004, ASM Press ISBN:0878932143

Useful for experimental data analysis (simple and adequate for most problems you will encounter)

  • Medical Statistics at a Glance, Blackwell, A. Petrie & C. Sabin
  • An Introduction to Medical Statistics, Oxford, M.Bland

A good general reference text:

  • Statistical Methods in Medical Research, 2nd ed. Blackwell, P.Armitage and G.Berry
  • Intuitive Biostatistics, Oxford, Harvey Motulsky

Useful resources for numeracy and writing skills:

  • Maths skills for advanced sciences, by Ken Price, Oxford University Press, ISBN:019914740
  • The Complete Plain Words, Ernest Gowers, Penguin.
  • Eats Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Lynn Truss, Profile Books.