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Unit information: Normal structure and function of the mammalian body in 2015/16

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Unit name Normal structure and function of the mammalian body
Unit code ANAT30002
Credit points 30
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Tortonese
Open unit status Not open

For Intercalators in Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science. 2-3 years of professional degree program (BVSc, MBChB, etc).


Ageing, disease and dysfunction (ANAT 30001)

School/department School of Anatomy
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This seminar-based unit will contain elements of developmental biology, muscle structure and function, bone, synovial joint and spine biology and function, biomechanics of gait, and neuroendocrinology of behaviour and fertility. It is aimed at intercalating Medical, Veterinary and Dental students who are intercalating in Anatomy after the first 2-3 years of their professional programs. The unit is aimed at normal structure and function of the mammalian body around the above topics, and will include study of both human and veterinary species.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Specific learning outcomes will vary according to the material covered per year. Broadly, the unit will focus on normal structure and function of the musculoskeletal system including muscle, bones and joints, and locomotor biomechanics and will also cover neuroendocrine control of body structure, behaviour and fertility. Specifically, upon completion of the unit, students will be able to explain:

  • Muscle: The mechanism of muscle contraction at the molecular level, and describe force-velocity and length-tension relationships; The basic principles of electromyography, and muscle stimulation; The different types of analysis that can be applied to EMG signals and appreciate their application in research and clinical practice.
  • Bones & joints: The microstructure and organisation of bone and its responses to loading; The formation of osteoblasts from stem cells; the mechanisms of osteoclast formation from mononuclear precursors; Mechanical concepts such as stress, strain, wear, and friction with respect to the mechanical function of articular cartilage; Normal lubrication of the joint surfaces, including the requirements of an effective lubricant.
  • Biomechanics: The inverse dynamics method of calculating moments and power across limb joints; Energy conserving mechanisms in gait; Interpretation of joint angle, moment and power curves in the analysis of normal gait.
  • Neuroendocrinology: The ways in which the neuroendocrine system is an interface between the brain and body; The neuroendocrine control of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal and hypothalamo-pituitary-ovarian axes; The neuroendocrine, endocrine and paracrine regulation of gonadotrophin secretrion.

Teaching Information

Two to three 3-hour seminars per week (Mondays and Tuesdays) with the remaining time given to the dissertation unit, other coursework and independent study.

Assessment Information

Three-hour written exam consisting of a Part A (based on content) and a Part B (based on data interpretation or scientific method within the context of the unit): 70%

Essay based on special topic within the unit content; 3000 words: 20%

Poster based on special topic within the unit content: 10%

Reading and References

Ageing, disease and dysfunction (ANAT 30001)