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Unit information: Understanding Body Function B in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Understanding Body Function B
Unit code PHPH10011
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Frankie MacMillan
Open unit status Not open

Normally GCSE (grade C minimum) Double Science plus one biological or physical science A-level.

Understanding Body Function A or taking Biology 1B.



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

Description including Unit Aims

An introduction to physiology, with an emphasis on mammalian physiology. The following topics are covered: kidney, gastrointestinal tract, endocrinology and reproduction. Practical classes are supported by an online dynamic laboratory manual, eBioLabs and complement the lecture topics. Practicals include investigating the function of the human renal and reproduction systems. Students also undertake an extended practical project. Small group tutorials are held fortnightly.


  • To promote understanding of the basic physiological mechanisms governing the function of mammalian body systems.
  • To expose students to a range of activities thereby developing the attitudes and skills desirable for scientific study.
  • To develop the attributes necessary for lifelong learning.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit you should be able to:

  1. explain the concept of 'internal environment' and how homeostatic mechanisms maintain this within narrow limits;
  2. explain how the various systems of the body work together to maintain the constancy of the internal environment;
  3. give an account of the gastrointestinal and renal systems;
  4. explain how endocrine systems work within the body;
  5. explain the physiology of the reproductive system;
  6. collect physiological data with due regard to scientific method;
  7. analyse and test physiological data using appropriate statistical techniques;
  8. design a simple practical project to test a physiological hypothesis;
  9. present and discuss physiological data both verbally and in writing.

Teaching Information



eBiolabs (supporting practicals)

Small and large group tutorials

Assessment Information


Extended practical presentation - 8% (1-9)

Extended practical abstract – 5% (9)

Practical assessments via eBioLabs - 5% (7-9)

Renal practical report - 2% (1-9)

Summer exam (2.5 hour)- 80% (1-5)

Formative (Tutorial work):

Exam questions practice

Practice presentation

Abstract writing

Reading and References

You will need to consult textbooks to consolidate the information you are given in lectures and practicals.

Many textbooks are suitable for the course; an alphabetical selection is given below.


  • Berne & Levy - Physiology
  • Bray, Cragg, MacKnight, Mills & Taylor - Lecture Notes on Human Physiology
  • Costanzo (2nd Edn) - Physiology
  • Davies, Blakeley & Kidd - Human Physiology
  • Ganong - Human Physiology
  • Guyton & Hall - Textbook of Medical Physiology
  • Vander, Sherman & Luciano - Review of Medical Physiology

You should be aware that the Medical Library stocks a good range of textbooks including those listed above.