BPS1011 - Human Physiology I: Cells to systems - 2018

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

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Jennifer Short


Dr Jennifer Short

Unit guides



  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)




Unit previously coded PSC1011 Physiology I


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 physiological basis of disease, highlighting the causal connections between cell biochemistry, body function at the tissue, organ and system level and human health. Several cells, organs and systems will be considered in detail, and one or more examples of disease states which are amenable to pharmacotherapy will be discussed.

The unit aims to provide a basic understanding of the functions of organs and systems such as the nervous and endocrinological systems; however, an equal emphasis will be placed on one of the key components of drug discovery, the choice of therapeutic target based on a thorough understanding of the disease process. The principal aim of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of basic biological principles and how these can be applied in pharmaceutical science. Students will be introduced to experimental approaches to solving biochemical and physiological research questions and to fundamental laboratory techniques.

Topics to be covered include:

  • cells, tissues, organs and systems
  • homeostasis
  • macromolecules
  • metabolism
  • DNA replication, gene transcription and translation
  • the nervous system
  • endocrinology


At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Explain the role of molecules, cells, tissues, organs and systems in ensuring homeostasis and effective functioning of the body;
  2. Compare different body systems in terms of their structure and function at the organ, tissue, cell and macromolecule level;
  3. Explain how drug molecules target cell components to mimic, modulate or disrupt physiological processes;
  4. Predict the effect of disrupting cellular processes on cellular and system function and on human health;
  5. Suggest a rational drug therapy strategy to target a disease state with known pathophysiological causes;
  6. Design and perform an hypothesis-driven experimental approach to investigate physiological processes;
  7. Safely and effectively carry out a basic practical procedure using common biochemical and physiological techniques;
  8. Analyse and communicate experimental findings;
  9. Research a topic in the area of physiology, and present the findings of such research (written and verbal), at an appropriate scientific level.


Final examination (2 hours): 50%; in-semester assessment (including practical reports, quizzes, an oral presentation, a written essay and in-class assessment): 50%.

Workload requirements

  • One hour per week of guided preparation (online)
  • Two hours per week of interactive lectures
  • Three hours per week of practicals or workshops

See also Unit timetable information

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