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Unit information: Let's go with the flow, the urinary tract from beginning to end in 2015/16

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Unit name Let's go with the flow, the urinary tract from beginning to end
Unit code PHPH30023
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Christopher Fry
Open unit status Not open




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


The unit will describe the control of the urinary tract through its functions of storing and voiding urine when appropriate, as well as introduce students to investigations that seek to understand the pathophysiology of urinary tract dysfunction. The module aims to enable an understanding of: i) the complex interactions between tissues of the ureter, urinary bladder and outflow tract that allows effective storage and function; ii) the role of the central nervous system in coordinating these interactions; iii) how clinical measurements yield insight into normal and abnormal urinary tract function, based on a sound understanding of the physiology of the system; iv) the significance of urinary tract dysfunction to the patients and healthcare system.

Specific areas that will be covered include:

1 A physiological description of the ureter, bladder and outflow tract.

2 Disorders of urinary tract function; clinical assessments of function.

3 The epidemiology of lower urinary tract disorders.

4 Pharmacotherapy and other clinical management of urinary tract dysfunction.

5 Sensations arising from the urinary tract.

6 The control of micturition by the central nervous system.

7 Pathophysiology of CNS control of the urinary tract.

8 Paediatric urology, problems of congenital disorders

9 Cancer and the urinary tract

Sessions within the unit will be directed to improving transferable skills of data handling, hypothesis testing and experimental design, with examples drawn from material in the module as outlined above.

Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Communicate clearly in writing on specialised areas of urinary tract physiology at the level of the current research literature (A5, C1).
  2. Give account of common biomedical techniques and concepts (A6).
  3. Synthesise, understand and summarise information from a variety of sources, primarily scientific papers (B1).
  4. Interpret and manipulate experimental data (B3).
  5. Apply critical thinking to published scientific papers and evaluate their content (B4).
  6. Apply scientific method (B5).

Retrieve and manage information, making appropriate use of library and web-based facilities (C4).

Teaching details

Seminars (23)

Data interpretation workshop (2hrs)

Q&A revision session (3hrs)

Assessment Details

The unit will be assessed through one 3-hour summative examination in May/June, which consists of two sections. In section A (50%), students will be expected to answer one essay question from a choice of 3, which will assess their knowledge and critical understanding of the field, and their ability to gather information from the primary scientific literature (mapping to learning outcomes 1-3,5,7). In section B (50%), students will be expected to answer one multi-part compulsory question requiring data handling/data interpretation and experimental design (mapping to learning outcomes 2,4,6).

Reading and References

The textbook ‘The Scientific Basis of Urology’ ed AR Mundy, JM Fitzpatrick, DE Neal and NJR George provides an excellent introduction to the subject. Published in 2010 more recent research will supplement the material in this introductory tome. Of particular use are chapters 6-8, 14-16, 19-22, 29.

Other reviews are: (note these do not give comprehensive coverage of the unit areas)

Imaging of the brain and urinary tract function: Griffiths DJ. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2011; 202: 81-97

Epidemiology: Milsom I et al. Eur Urol. 2014; 65: 79-95. Ruffion A et al Neuroepidemiology 2013; 41: 146-55

Pharmacotherapy: Soler et al. Eur Urol. 2013; 64: 610-21

Paediatric urology: Woolf AS et al. Pediatr Nephrol. 2014; 29: 353-60. Riley P et al. Transplantation. 2010; 89: 1299-1307