Faculty of Science

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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.




Professor Ramesh Rajan



  • First semester 2016 (Day)


This unit studies how the cells in our body communicate to each other, using fast and slow response systems, and how our bodies use these systems to gain information about the world through our senses and then respond using the muscle systems of our limbs and internal organs and the hormone systems. This material is taught through four successive themes that progressively build up the discipline knowledge and broader organisation, communication and management skills of science. Themes 1 and 2 (Foundations) explain cell structure and nerve organisation and function. Theme 3 (Communication systems) develops that knowledge base to study fast and slow inter-cell communication systems. Theme 4 (Sensory systems) shows how the systems of touch, pain, hearing, vision, taste and smell detect the world and how the brain analyses that information. Theme 5 (Control and response systems) details how the body responds through movement of limbs and the action of internal organs, and hormone systems. Normal physiology and common dysfunctions of the systems are studied, to allow for a greater understanding of the normal physiology, and an appreciation of dysfunctions.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Identify the structures of and explain the functions of the detection, communication, analysis and action systems in the body: viz., the nervous system, sensory systems, skeletal and smooth muscle systems, and endocrine systems;

  1. Develop organisational, communication and management skills in the study and application of the biomedical sciences;

  1. Demonstrate physiology laboratory skills in the collection, presentation, analysis and interpretation of data, including the practicalities and limitations of, and variablility inherent in, working with biological tissue;

  1. Work co-operatively in practical classes and in assessment tasks.


In semester MCQ tests: 35%
In semester practical class and tutorial assessments: 30%
In semester web problem class assessments: 5%
In semester team poster: 15%
End of semester theory written examination (2 hours): 15%

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lectures and one 3-hour practical class, tutorial or workshop per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


12 points from level one Biology, Chemistry and/or Physics units