The University of Southampton

MEDI0012 Human Structure & Function 2

Module Overview

Human Structure and Function II will enable you to build on your learning in HSFI as it is in a similar format with similar modes of assessment. Again you will be provided with an understanding of essential anatomical, physiological & biochemical concepts that you can apply to problem based scenarios. The topics include the structure and function of the nervous system, muscle, the respiratory system, the renal system and the endocrine system. Aspects of imbalance in these systems will also be considered. You will also explore the principles and applications to the human body of acid base balance, pH, dissociation constants and buffers. Also covered is cell division, the cell cycle, growth and the stages of human development. Finally you will explore the principles of genetics and some of its applications

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Enable you to further develop the appropriate knowledge, skills and understanding of the structure and function of the human body required for successful undertaking of the early years of the BM programme; • Provide you with further understanding of key physiological, biochemical and anatomical concepts as applied to the body in health and disease • Further facilitate your development of key skills particularly in literacy data presentation, analysis and evaluation. The learning outcomes below map directly to one or more of the Programme learning outcomes [as indicated in square brackets] which in turn are taken from the GMC’s Tomorrow’s Doctors (2009).

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the concepts of pH, acid-base balance, drug ionisation and buffer systems [1.1a]
  • Predict the effect of specified endocrine malfunction [1.1a]
  • Explain the structure and function of the excretory system [1.1a]
  • Describe key features and stages in the human life cycle [1.1a]
  • Identify the phases of the cell cycle and causes and implications of its disruption [1.1a]
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the principles of genetics [1.1a]
  • Describe applications of genetic manipulation and engineering [1.1a]
  • Indicate development of skills in reading and research in specified topics [1.5a, 1.5c]
  • Indicate development of independent working skills, team working and problem solving skills [3.2a, 3.2b, 3.3c, 1.5a]
  • Demonstrate development of effective communication using oral, writing and computing skills [2.3a, 2.3c]
  • Demonstrate development of your skills in analysis, presentation and manipulation of data [1.1g, 1.4c, 2.5d, 2.7e]
  • Apply an understanding of the above to the functions of the excretory system, transport of blood gases and respiratory system [1.1a]
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the mechanisms of respiration [1.1a]
  • Outline the structure and function of the human nervous system [1.1a]
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of neurophysiology [1.1a]
  • Compare and contrast the structure and function of the somatic and autonomic nervous systems, including reflexes [1.1a]
  • Evaluate the co-ordinating and integrative role of the nervous system [1.1a]
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of muscle physiology [1.1a]
  • Explain the principle functions of specified hormones [1.1a]


In order to meet the learning outcomes, the syllabus will contain teaching in the following areas: • Structural organisation and function of the human nervous system Structure and function of the CNS and PNS. Neurogenesis and neural regeneration. Neuropathies and primary demyelinating diseases. • Neurophysiology Resting membrane potentials, graded potentials and action potentials. Examples of NS infections. Types and characteristics of synapses. Transmission at synapses. Examples of common neurotransmitters and drug interactions at synapses. Characteristics and components of a reflex. Characteristics and control of the autonomic nervous system. Comparison of the structure and function of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Drug action e.g. beta blockers and sympathomimetics. Levels of hierarchy of somatic motor control. Neuronal pathways and tracts, neural integration. Structures and features of the main regions of the brain, features and possible causes of common brain disorders. • Muscle Physiology Characteristics, function and features of muscle types and the neuromuscular junction. Micro-organisation of skeletal muscle and events of muscle contraction. Muscle twitch and tetanus, isotonic and isometic contraction. Muscle tone and fatigue. Examples of muscle disorders. • Renal Physiology Structure and function of the urinary system. Structure and roles of nephrons and regulation of GFR. Body fluids, compartments and balance and renal regulation of osmolality. Action of diuretics. Possible causes of abnormal urinary constituents. • Endocrine Physiology Key glands, secretions and actions of the endocrine system. Key differences and similarities between the nervous and endocrine system. Regulation of blood glucose, diabetes type I and II and ketoacidosis. Thyroid and parathyroid hormones, abnormal thyroid conditions. Hormonal regulation of calcium, causes and consequences of abnormal calcium levels. Hormones of the adrenal glands, control of regulation, response to stress, consequences of over and under secretion. Roles of interrelationship of hypothalamus and pituitary gland. • Genetics Mitosis, meiosis and gametogenesis. DNA replication and protein synthesis. The cell cycle and its regulation. Regulation of gene expression and gene mutation. Consequences of disruption of regulation of cell cycle. Genetic inheritance. Genetic engineering and gene therapy. • Acid Base Balance pH of body fluids, buffers, pka and ionisation of drugs, acid base regulation, arterial blood gases. Metabolic and respiratory acidosis and alkalosis. • Blood Gas Transport Diffusion of gases, oxygen and carbon dioxide transport in the blood, factors affecting blood gas transport. Causes and consequences of anaemia. • Respiratory mechanisms Basic mechanisms and muscles involved in lung expansion and contraction. Pulmonary ventilation. • The Human Life Cycle Stages of life, factors affecting quality and longevity of life. Types of growth and growth disorders. Bone growth and maintenance. Use of growth charts. Cause and effect of ageing of tissues and systems. Main theories of ageing.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will be taught through a range of learning and teaching strategies which will include: • Lectures • Tutor led tutorials • Practical sessions • Guided self-study • Problem solving scenarios • Group work • eLearning

Wider reading or practice15
Follow-up work45
Practical classes and workshops16
Preparation for scheduled sessions50
Completion of assessment task60
Total study time375

Resources & Reading list

Petrie A, Sabin C. (2009). Medical Statistics at a glance. 

Marieb EN, Hoehn K. (2013). Human Anatomy & Physiology. 

Addition recommended reading is available in the year 0 programme overview. 

Miko, I. & LeJeune, L. eds (2009). Essentials of Genetics. 


Assessment Strategy

Students are not normally permitted to repeat the year.


Critical Analysis


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment  (1.5 hours) 25%
Assessment  (1.5 hours) 25%
Essay  (2000 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment  (1.5 hours) 25%
Assessment  (1.5 hours) 25%
Essay  (2000 words) 50%


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Students may wish to purchase their own copies of key texts. The cost for these could be covered by the student entitlement card.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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