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Unit information: The Heart in Health & Disease in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

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

  • 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

The unit will be assessed through a 3-hour summative examination 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. The remaining 10% of the unit mark will come from completing coursework in the form of a 1000 word exam style essay.

Reading and References

Reviews and key references from the current scientific literature