Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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


Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Dr Jennifer Short (Parkville); Dr Ong Chin Eng (Malaysia)



  • First semester 2016 (Day)


  • First semester 2016 (Day)


This unit lays a foundation of knowledge about mammalian systems and provides the relationship between pathophysiology and the rational design and use of drugs. Students will be introduced to the concepts underlying the basic biochemistry and molecular biology of the cell, and will then consider in detail the structure and function of the nervous, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and endocrine systems. One or more examples of disease states which are amenable to pharmacotherapy will be discussed in detail for each organ/system. Students will perform a number of tasks, which will help with the development of critical thinking skills.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • introduction to physiology
  • cells,tissues, organs and systems
  • membranes
  • DNA replication, gene transcription and translation
  • introductory biochemistry
  • the nervous system
  • cardiovascular physiology
  • muscle
  • endocrinology.


At the end of this unit, students can be expected to:

  1. Describe the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, including RNA transcription / translation processes, energy utilisation, and the role of the major classes of macromolecules;
  2. Explain the function of each major organ / organ system considered within the course, with reference to the structure;
  3. Explain the physiological basis for the most common disease states to affect each organ / organ system considered within the course;
  4. Analyse simple examples of cellular and organ dysfunction, and be able to explain the likely consequences for the function of the system;
  5. Demonstrate the development of written communication skills appropriate for first year students- explain the pathophysiology for one disease state and one drug treatment associated, relating the drug target to the disease state.


Final exam (2 hour): 50%; mid semester test: 10%; end semester test: 10%; practical/case study assessments: 15%; an elective written assignment task: 10%; and in-class assessment 5%.

Workload requirements

Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • Twenty six 1-hour lectures (with 12 hours allocated for preparation)
  • Two 1-hour tutorials
  • One 3-hour practical class
  • Four 2.5-hour case based learning sessions
  • Two 1-hour in-semester tests
  • Three introductory sessions (to unit, case studies, practical)
  • Seven 1-hour optional exam preparation and feedback sessions

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: