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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FOOD2260 Physiology II - Integration Between Physiology and Nutrition

10 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr Mark Hopkins

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Satisfactory completion of Level 1 BSc Nutrition


FOOD1150Principles of Human Physiology and Nutrition

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module extends the knowledge gained in Year I covering human physiology and nutrition. The content addresses the integration between tissue systems involved in digestion (typically, liver pancreas and small intestine) and addresses the changes to cardiovascular control required to facilitate the alterations in blood flow necessary to support nutrient delivery. In addition, the effects of environmental factors (such as gravity) on blood flow distribution are also covered.


Exploiting a mix of direct teaching and practical classes, this module will explore:

1) The role of the liver in the control of metabolism and blood glucose control. This will include production of bile acids and emulsification of dietary lipids and absorption by the small intestine.
2) The role of the pancreas in blood glucose control through insulin and glucagon secretion will also be studied, with further study of the effects of loss of hormonal control (diabetes & obesity) on blood sugar and liver function.
3) The redistributive nature of blood flow in the post-prandial (fed) phase will also be covered, to understand the special characteristics controlling blood flow (both hormonal & environmental) with special consideration of blood flow in the gut.
4) A higher level of importance will be attached to the observation/demonstration that organs and tissue systems act in an ‘integrated manner’ rather than functioning in isolation such that perturbation to one tissue system has effects on others.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, the students will have an understanding of the following areas:

1) Explore the role of the liver in nutrient uptake and redistribution
2) Understand the role of the hepato-biliary system in the control of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism.
3) Investigate the role of metabolic disease (diabetes) in the function of the liver in support of digestion
4) Expand the understanding of protein metabolism with regard to the urea cycle and the elimination of ammonia and the turnover of proteins (protein balance) in health and disease.
5) Explore, in a practical class, the role that gravity plays in the control of blood flow, blood pressure and heart rate to govern redistribution of blood flow between both brain and other body systems (the baroreceptor reflex)
6) Alterations to blood flow caused by the environment (gravity) and by digestion to explore the direct role blood flow plays in the disposal of nutrients
7) Understand the effect that disease conditions (e.g. vomiting) can have on the control of gastric physiology and metabolism


This module aims to deliver specific content covering aspects of human physiology tailored to focus on the uptake and redistribution of nutrients as part of digestion:
1) Introduction – the integration of body systems (1hr)
2) Role of the liver in digestion & metabolism (3hr)
3) Biliary system and bile acids in fat assimilation (2hr)
4) Blood glucose control and errors resulting from obesity and diabetes (5hr)
5) Environmental and nutrient control of regional blood flow in the body (3hr)
6) Dietary protein balance and the urea cycle (1hr)
7) Integration of body systems in response to stress (e.g. vomiting) (1hr)
8) Practical class exploring baroreceptor control and blood flow in response to gravity (3hr)
9) Physiological mechanism of appetite control (3hr)

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours75.00
Total Contact hours25.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

The analysis and write-up of the practical class data will take a significant period of time (8-10hr) giving experience of data manipulation and statistical analysis, coupled with the writing of an abstract to summarise to data collected.
For each of the lectures a limited example for further reading will also be given (typically one reference or review article). The aim is to further augment the lecture content with the most relevant and up-to-date material. Much of the information that has been included in textbooks is either out-of-date or of too high a level of detail to make recommending a textbook impractical (texts do exist, but they are aimed at medical students and the detail is directed at clinical complications, not physiology).
A final tutorial is proposed based upon ‘problem solving’. Using a current topic relevant to nutrition (eg. Bariatric surgery – ‘gastric banding’) explore the physiological consequences of surgery in terms of absorption, blood pressure control and baroreceptor function after a meal. This (unassessed) tutorial gives opportunities to explore many of the concepts presented in the teaching material integrated into a single problem. It gives the students an opportunity for self-directed learning and group working. Preparation time potentially 4-5hrs. These sessions work better with smaller numbers of students and so may need to be run multiple times (depending upon numbers: say 8-10/session).

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportWrite-up of class practical 2-3000 words20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 30 mins80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 04/09/2019


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