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Unit information: Cellular Physiology in 2020/21

Unit name Cellular Physiology
Unit code PHPH20013
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Davies
Open unit status Not open

PHPH10010 Understanding Body Function A or PHPH10014 Fundamentals of Body Function



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


This unit highlights aspects of cellular physiology, including case studies in specialised cells, for example, neuron, cardiac myocyte and airways epithelium. It will include information on aspects of cellular physiology that are unique to cell types, e.g signalling in the cardiac myocyte, and also those that are shared by a number of cell types, for example ion channels in neurones, sensory cells, epithelial cells etc.

The unit includes practical classes and a poster presentation project. These tasks are aimed at developing scientific and transferable skills with a particular focus on collaborative work, preparing students for the final year of the programme.

The aims are:

  • To gain knowledge and understanding of aspects of cellular physiology
  • To provide a link between the first and third year of the Physiology programme in content
  • To further develop transferable and scientific skills in preparation for the final year of the programme

These aims will be accomplished through lectures, practical classes, class tutorials, directed self-education and independent work.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit students should (Mapping to Physiological Science programme learning outcomes in brackets):

1. Be able to give accounts of how the cell biology of selected cells supports their ability to perform specialist functions (A6)

2. Be able to synthesise, understand, manage and summarise information from a number of sources (B1, C4)

3. Understand and interpret experimental procedures (B2)

4. Be able to interpret and manipulate scientific data (B3)

5. Read and understand scientific literature (B4)

6. Be able to communicate clearly in writing (C1)

7. Be able to communicate ideas orally (C1)

8. Work effectively as part of a team (C2)

9. Be able to use IT facilities for data handling and presentation of written work (C3)

10. Manage own time effectively (C5)

11. Plan projects and problem solve (C6)

Teaching details

  • Lectures (30)
  • Practical classes (3)
  • Poster preparation and presentation (12hrs)
  • Class tutorials (4): Data Interpretation, Techniques in Imaging, Poster preparation, Neurosim
  • Poster preparation and presentation (12hrs)
  • e-learning (eBiolabs pre- and post-practical exercises)

Assessment Details

Coursework 30%

1. eBiolabs (5%)

2. Essay (10%)

3. Poster preparation and presentation (15%: Presentation 10% Abstract 5%)

The summative coursework will be supported by class tutorials. A focus will be on researching, organising and producing a poster on a course-related topic within groups.

Summer Exam online (21%)

Timed Assessment (49%)

Reading and References

At level 2 you will be expected to draw on information from a number of sources for any one topic. Individual lecturers are likely to make recommendations of useful information sources, both textbooks and reports in scientific journals. Some may recommend web -based materials.

In this context useful textbooks include:

• Gilbert, Developmental Biology, 9th Ed,

• Alberts et al, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 5th Ed.

• Berne and Levy Physiology, 6th Ed

• Cooper, G.M: The Cell: A Molecular Approach, 3rd Ed. 2004, ASM Press ISBN:0878932143

• Kandel, Schwartz & Jessell: Principles of Neural Function ISBN:0071120009, 2000 Ed.

Useful for experimental data analysis (simple and adequate for most problems you will encounter)

• Medical Statistics at a Glance, Blackwell, A. Petrie & C. Sabin

• An Introduction to Medical Statistics, Oxford, M. Bland

Useful resources for numeracy and writing skills:

• Maths skills for advanced sciences, by Ken Price, Oxford University Press, ISBN:019914740X