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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton Second semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Ross Young


The unit will build on knowledge of body systems acquired in year 2 and will commence with an exposition of the major nutrient groups, their digestion, absorption, intracellular processing, metabolism and storage. This will lead on to a consideration of the ways in which stored nutrients are retrieved and of nutrient and energy fluxes within the body. The sensing of food intake and nutrient stores will be described for each class of nutrients at the peripheral and central levels and the physiological regulation of appetite will be addressed. Common and important disorders including obesity, metabolic diseases and diabetes will be studied. Aspects which include measurement of body mass and body composition, determination of food preferences, mechanisms of dysregulation of body mass, and interactions of disordered metabolism with the endocrine, cardiovascular and reproductive systems will be studied. The role of public information and therapeutic interventions including a consideration of alternative therapies from the perspective of evidence-based practice will also be covered.


On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. describe the chemical, energetic and physiological attributes of the major nutrient groups and the fates of ingested foods;
  2. integrate the specific knowledge and insights gained in the pursuit of the first objective into a logical explanation of whole body energy balance and nutrient stores;
  3. explain the peripheral and central mechanisms for sensing food intake and matching it to body mass and energy stores;
  4. integrate knowledge of energy and nutrient homeostasis to explain current and emerging theories with respect to disorders of eating and body mass regulation and their treatments;
  5. appreciate the variability inherent in biological systems through laboratory exercises;
  6. source and critically appraise appropriate materials using contemporary technologies;
  7. work in groups towards a common goal, through appropriate laboratory tasks and assignments;
  8. develop a cogent and coherent writing style and an ability to demonstrate a reasoned understanding of the subject content through written reports and oral presentations by small groups;
  9. portray the research environment and laboratory methods used in contemporary research in this field of study;
  10. design and present through written and oral communications, information easily accessible to the general public in a manner and structure that allows for depth of information to be delivered.


In-semester quizzes: 20%
Laboratory Reports: 20%
Assignments: 20%
Final examination: 40%

Contact hours

Two hours of lectures and four hours of laboratory classes per week


Any two of PHY2011, PHY2021 and PHY2032; or both BMS1052 and BMS2031