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Unit information: The Heart in Health & Disease in 2020/21

Unit name The Heart in Health & Disease
Unit code PHPH30019
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. James
Open unit status Not open




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


Students will study advanced topics in cardiac cellular physiology through a series of seminars. The topics covered will include the cellular basis to arrhythmias, excitation-contraction coupling and metabolic changes in ischaemia. The unit aims to develop an understanding of key concepts in current cardiac cellular physiology including:

  • State-of-the-art techniques for investigating the molecular and cellular basis to cardiac physiology
  • Ionic and genetic basis to cardiac electrophysiology
  • Excitation-contraction coupling
  • Cardiac electrophysiological disorders with particular reference to arrhythmia

Students will be expected to integrate this information with the systemic regulation of cardiac function

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • An in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of selected aspects cardiac cellular physiology, with an ability to keep up-to-date with recent developments in the field.
  • The ability to gather information from the primary scientific literature and to critically evaluate the material and appraise competing theories.
  • An understanding of the experimental tools used to study myocardial physiology.

Teaching details


Assessment Details

Timed assessment 90%

The unit will be assessed through a timed assessment in May/June, which contributes 90% of the unit mark and 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. In Section B (50%), students will be expected to answer one multi-part compulsory question assessing data handling/data interpretation and experimental design skills.

Coursework 10%

The coursework will be either an essay, data interpretation or experimental design question of a similar format to that used in the timed assessment.

Reading and References

Reviews and key references from the current scientific literature