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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FOBS1201 Molecular Physiology

20 creditsClass Size: 95

Module manager: Dr Martin Stacey

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

Pre-requisite qualifications

A level Biology (grade B) or equivalent qualification

This module is mutually exclusive with

BIOL1214Multicellular Systems
MICR1220Introduction to Immunology

Module replaces

Merger of MICR1220 & BIOL1214

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module provides an introduction to different cell types, human tissues, major organs, body systems and disease. The course emphasises the integrated nature of cells, tissues and organs from a molecular and cellular perspective. In particular the module will provide a comprehensive introduction to the human immune system. Topics include:- Generation of cells and systems in multicellular organisms- Nervous system- Vasculature and Circulation - Respiration and Cardiology- Digestion, Liver metabolism- Kidney/electrolyte balance- Molecular immunology- Host-pathogen interactions, human disease and immunological methods


This module will provide an excellent grounding in human physiology from a biochemical, cellular and tissue perspective and provide a fundamental understanding of immune mechanisms with particular emphasis on human immunology and its relationship to health and disease.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should be able to
- Demonstrate an understanding of the formation of multicellular tissues and systems derived from multipotent stem cells.;
- Demonstrate an excellent comprehension of molecular physiology and the integrated nature of major body systems;
- Describe the major components of the human innate and specific immune systems;
- Describe how the immune system responds to infection by bacteria and viruses;
- Choose the most appropriate techniques to solve simple immunological problems.


This course will provide the core concepts central to the molecular and cellular aspects of human physiology.
Material will be covered via six major themes with an emphasis of system integration throughout.

1 Generation of multicellular systems
- Organisation of multicellular organisms
- Generation of diverse cell types from stem cells
- Development of multicellular organism
- Specialised tissue, and tissue renewal
- Cell communication

2 Nervous system
- Organisation of nervous system
- Anatomy of CNS
- Action potential and signal propagation
- Synaptic transmission

3 Muscle/Cardiovascular system
- Molecular physiology of muscle/contraction
- The heart and its regulation
- Circulation and respiration

4 Nutrient absorption and assimilation
- Molecular and cell biology of digestion and absorption
- The liver

5 Kidney
- Kidney anatomy and elimination of toxins and electrolyte balance
- Renal and respiratory control of pH

6 Immunology
- Cells of the immune system
- Innate immunity-concepts of pattern recognition, PAMPs and the inflammatory response
- Acquired immune response. –antibody and T cell receptor repertoire
- Complement
- Cytokines and cell surface interactions
- Antibodies
- Immunisation
- Immunotools in research and the clinic
- Primary immunodeficiencies
- Hypersensitivity
- Evolution of non-mammalian immune systems, CRISPR

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours30.00
Private study hours134.00
Total Contact hours36.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

164 hours:
To complement and exceed lecture material, several text book chapters and online resources will be recommended and a portfolio of questions (including MRQ based summative questions) will be provided to guide students and aid practice for end of semester exams. A range of blended learning activities (Henry Stewart talks,, recommended textbooks, problem solving) will run in parallel with the module to provide opportunities for self-guided learning and formative assessment. Private study will aid consolidation of core module principles through reading of recommended chapters mapped to appropriate textbooks, in addition to pertinent reviews recommended by lecturers.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback and feedforward sessions will be held throughout the module. Students will be given the opportunity to complement lecture material via open book research/in-course assessment. Poorly performing students will be monitored via mid semester coursework and will be advised accordingly.

Timetabled feedback sessions before assessments.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQ1 x 1 hour MRQ (mid Semester 2)15.00
Problem SheetProblem based exercise (end Semester 2)15.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

This 20 credit module contains material also taught as part of 2 x 10 credits modules (MICR1220, BIOL1214). The mid-semester 2 MRQ will be taken by students taking BIOL 1214 (10 credits) and the problem-based exercise at the end of semester 2 will be taken by students taking MICR1220 (10 credits).

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) (S2)2 hr 70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

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

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 18/04/2018


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