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The University of Southampton

MEDI0011 Human Structure & Function 1

Module Overview

Human Structure & Function 1 will enable you to understand key physiological, anatomical & biochemical concepts and principles that you can apply in problem based scenarios. This will prepare you to successfully undertake the early years of the BM programme. You will specifically study; the structure and function of biological macromolecules and the principles of metabolism; principles of homeostasis & homeostatic imbalance, particularly as applied to the cardiovascular system; the structure & function of cells & tissues; basic anatomy; nutrition & the digestive system; principles of enzymology and energetics; principles of medical microbiology and immunology.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the structure and characteristics of biological macromolecules
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the principles of isomerism, energetics, redox reactions, metabolism and metabolic pathways including cellular respiration
  • Assess the features of disease-causing micro-organisms and the consequences of infection
  • Describe the principles of immunology and the features of immuno-protection, immune reaction and auto-immune disease
  • Demonstrate skills in reading and research in specified topics
  • Explain the key features of a balanced diet
  • Indicate development of independent working skills, team working and problem solving skills
  • Communicate effectively using oral, writing and computing skills
  • Analyse, present and manipulate data
  • Explain the structural organisation of the human body
  • Demonstrate an understanding of cell structure and function
  • Assess the role of cell membranes in membrane transport, membrane potentials and cellular communication
  • Identify basic anatomical structures and terminology
  • Compare the features of specialised body tissues
  • Demonstrate by reference to specific examples an understanding of the characteristics of homeostatic mechanisms and homeostatic imbalance
  • Explain the process of digestion and absorption of macromolecules
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding and the application in the human body of ionisation, kinetics and enzymology


In order to meet the learning outcomes, the syllabus will contain teaching in the following areas: • Structural organisation of the body Key features of cells, tissues and systems in the body and the principle of complementarity of structure and function • Homeostasis Concepts and mechanisms involved in regulation of the internal environment with examples of homeostatic imbalance. • Cell biology Structure and function of cell organelles and cytoskeletal elements. Consequences of organelle dysfunction and cellular response to stress. • Membranes Structure and function of membranes, associated membrane specialisations and cell junctions. Chemical and electrical gradients across the cell membrane and the basis of the resting membrane potential and membrane transport. • Medical microbiology Microorganisms of relevance to medicine. Structure and characteristics of bacteria and viruses. Aspects of selected bacterial and viral diseases including the use of antibiotics and antivirals. • The human body’s defences Specific and non-specific defences. Types of immunity and key features of the immune system. Characteristics and examples of autoimmune diseases and hypersensitivity reactions. • Anatomy Basic anatomical terminology of regions of the body, planes of section and movement. Location of gross anatomical structures. • Structure and characteristics of biological macromolecules Structure, bonding and organisation of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. The role of macromolecules in health and disease. • Basic nutrition and diet The role of macromolecules and micromolecules in a balanced diet and in dietary restrictions and disorders. • Digestion and absorption of key macromolecules Chemical and mechanical digestion and absorption of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. Conditions of maldigestion and malabsorption. • Principles of isomerism, ionisation, kinetics and enzymology Different types of isomers. Potential and kinetic energy. Effects of ionisation on the structure and function of proteins. Enzymology and factors affecting the rate of reactions. • Principles of energetics, metabolism and metabolic pathways Key aspects of metabolism. Overview of key metabolic pathways, their integration and control. • Redox reactions Principles of redox reactions. Structure and function of the electron transport chain. Electron transport chain uncouplers and inhibitors

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

Practical classes and workshops11
Preparation for scheduled sessions45
Completion of assessment task60
Follow-up work45
Wider reading or practice15
Total study time375

Resources & Reading list

Baynes J, Dominiczak MH. (2014). Medical Biochemistry. 

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


Assessment Strategy

Students are not normally permitted to repeat the year.




MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 50%
Report  ( words) 25%
Report  (2000 words) 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (1.5 hours) 50%
Report  (2000 words) 25%
Report  ( words) 25%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External


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

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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