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LF209-18 Human and Animal Physiology

Life Sciences
Undergraduate Level 2
Module leader
Mark Wall
Credit value
Module duration
11 weeks
100% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

The overall aim of the module is to describe the haematological system (blood and the tissues and organs associated with it) and the cardiovascular system (CVS) in an integrated manner in order to give students a good understanding of the physiology, in health and disease, of these two linked systems. It will build on first year modules such as BS129 Physiology and Metabolism and will relate to second and final year modules such as BS211 Immunology, BS261 Pharmacology and BS347 Oncology. This year we have reduced the number of lectures that will be delivered and replaced these with a problem based learning ECG workshop which will contribute towards your overall module grade.

The aim of the module is to give students of Biomedical Sciences an all-round understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of blood, circulation and nervous system. This module bridges the gap between Molecular Biology and the functioning of whole organisms.

Module web page

Module aims

The lectures fall into three segments: Renal Structure and Function, Haematology – the study of blood (aka blood sciences) and the Cardiovascular System (CVS).

Students will learn about renal function (kidney structure and function), cardiovascular pathology (including conditions such as hypertension and myocardial infarction) and cardiovascular risk (links with lipids, lipid lowering drugs etc). These lectures build on BS129 Physiology and Metabolism.

In the Haematology lectures, students will learn the nature of blood – the cellular and non-cellular components, and how it is formed (haematopoiesis). Students will also gain an understanding of the various pathological conditions associated with blood, how they are recognised, the consequences, and how they are treated.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Part A: Neurobiology

Lectures 1-5
Neuronal Development, Cell biology and Disease
The aim of this part of the module is to provide an understanding of basic principles of
organization of a nervous system and development of the nervous system. It will also give us an
opportunity to discuss some diseases.
Neuronal cell biology: specialities of neuronal cell biology – axonal transport, localised
translational control of mRNA, inter-cellular mRNA exchange by nanotubes, myelination.
Diseases caused by defects in these systems.
Axon guidance: the identification of the factors involved in wiring a nervous system ,
including axonal growth cone structure, attraction and repulsion, pioneer and follower
Synaptic refinement and activity dependence: the Chemospecificity hypothesis, the role of
activity in synaptic refinement and its molecular basis.
Development of the CNS: the link between genes and function of neuronal cells with particular
focus to the development of nervous system

Lectures 6-10
Fundamentals of Neurophysiology
These lectures will explore fundamental principles of signal transmission in the nervous system,
including electrical signalling in the neurons and the role of various neurotransmitters and their
receptors in the information processing in the brain. The brief overview of the most important
neuro physiological experimental techniques will be given. Lecture topics include:
Basic electrophysiology: role for ion channels in the signalling in neurons other cells and
techniques which are used to study them: patch-clamp, current clamp, voltage clamp, fluorescent
imaging.Synaptic transmission and neurotransmitter receptors - basic classes of neurotransmitters
and their receptors; release and turnover of neurotransmitters and their modes of action.
Integration in the CNS - how neural networks process information.

Lectures 11-15
Functional Properties of Neuronal Networks
The final part of the module aims to provide an understanding of the functional properties of
neuronal circuits and explore the role of neuronal networks in physiological processes including
respiration, sleep and memory. The lectures will cover the following topics:
Central Pattern Generators;
Neural Circuits;

Part B: Blood and Circulation

Lecture 1 and 2: Kidney structure and function
Lecture 3: Cardiovascular Risk
Lecture 4: Blood cells, Plasma and Serum
Lecture 5: Haematopoiesis
Lecture 6: Blood transfusion
Lecture 7: Blood disorders
Lecture 8 - Hypertension (MW)
Lecture 9 - Angina
Lecture 10 - Heart Failure
Lecture 11 - Cardiac Arrhythmias
Lecture 12 - The Pharmacology of Anti-arrhythmic drugs
ECG workshop and self-directed learning

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • The biological principles of haematology including blood structure and homeostasis (including kidney)
  • The biological basis of circulation, especially cardiac and vascular processes.
  • The biological basis of neurological function, including development of the central nervous system at a cellular level.
  • The functioning of these systems in both health and disease including the current treatment options for specific examples.
Indicative reading list

Pocock G. and Richards. Human physiology : the basis of medicine, 3rd edn.
(Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2006).
Hugh-Jones N. C., Wickramsinghe S. N. and Hatton C. Lecture notes on
Haematology, 7th edn. (Blackwell, 2004).
Purves, D. et al. (Eds.) Neuroscience, 4th edn. (Sinauer, 2008)

Subject specific skills

Explain the basics of haematology, including the role of kidney; formation, structure and function of blood cells
Understand the rationale for, and biology of, blood transfusion
Understand the biology of circulation through disease processes (hypertension, myocardial infarction, angina, cardiovascular disease, heart failure, arrhythmias)
Explain the current treatment options for example blood and circulatory diseases
Understand the structure and functioning of the Central Nervous system.

Understand how neural networks process information and the techniques used to study such processes.

Understand the role of the nervous system in other physiological functions in the organism.
Understand the development and formation of the CNS at a molecular level.

Transferable skills

Adult learning, self-directed learning, team based learning and quantitative analysis of data.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 30 sessions of 1 hour (17%)
Practical classes 2 sessions of 1 hour (1%)
Private study 148 hours (82%)
Total 180 hours
Private study description

148 hrs self-study and directed reading


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group B1
Weighting Study time
1.5 hour online examination (Summer) 90%

This module is assessed in two ways: an examination consisting of a 1.5 hr 'short answers' paper in June (equally split between Blood&Circulation and Neurobiology)

  • Online examination: No Answerbook required
1 hour online examination (December) 10%

The ECG workshop consists of 2 parts: firstly the students will measure their own ECGs and then secondly at home will do some analysis and carry out some self-directed learning. The self-directed learning will be assessed with an MCQ quiz.

  • Online examination: No Answerbook required
Feedback on assessment

Pastoral meetings with personal tutors

Past exam papers for LF209

There is currently no information about the courses for which this module is core or optional.