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The University of Southampton

MEDI2042 Gastrointestinal (GI)

Module Overview

This module will introduce students to the key elements of the gastrointestinal system from development through to clinical pathophysiology. The module will focus on the anatomy and physiology of the normal GI system and investigate the common mechanisms of disease and appropriate treatments. Doctors work in shift patterns and rotas throughout much of their working lives and to prepare you for such working once you graduate, throughout your programme you will be expected to undertake placements in the evenings and at weekends. This will not be an onerous requirement and will be negotiated well in advance so that students with carers’ requirements will be able to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place for cover. At later stages in your programme, particularly during the Assistantship module, you will be expected to undertake some night working, again in order to prepare you for your future working life.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the normal structure, function and development of the gastrointestinal system
  • Describe the principles behind, justify reasons for, and begin to interpret relevant clinical investigations
  • Recognise the impact of disease and dysfunction of the gastrointestinal system on patients and their families and the scope of treatment and management options available within healthcare
  • Identify the main mechanisms by which structure and function of the gastrointestinal system is disturbed during disease processes and describe the scientific bases of diseases that result
  • Identify links between the basic sciences and clinical case histories
  • Describe methods available to study gastrointestinal disease in individual patients and justify their use
  • Describe the mechanism of action of drugs used to treat gastrointestinal diseases, and the principles underlying non-pharmacological treatment options
  • Identify psychological causes and consequences of gastrointestinal disease
  • Recognise social consequences of gastrointestinal disease, including patients, their families and wider society
  • Describe the epidemiology of common conditions affecting this system, and approaches to disease prevention
  • Demonstrate appropriate numeracy skills in the calculation and interpretation of quantitative scientific and clinical data


Anatomy and embryology The development and gross anatomy of the: • Foregut region of the GI tract and related structures • Midgut region of the GI tract and related structures • Hindgut region of the GI tract and related structures • Liver and related structures Biochemistry • Liver function • Protein and amino acid metabolism • Bile Clinical topics • Anaemia • Radiology of the abdomen • Mucosal barrier • Molecular virology of hepatitis • Malnutrition and GI disorders • Parasites of the gut • Viral gastroenteritis • Clinical examination, pain, and spread of diseases • Coeliac disease Histology • Gut tube • GI accessory glands Nutrition • Appetite • Nutrition and the colon Pathology • Fibrosis, cirrhosis and fatty change • Barrett’s oesophagus • Chronic pancreatitis Pharmacology • Anti-ulcer drugs • Anti-microbials • Anti-malarial drugs • Anti-viral and anti-fungal drugs • Drugs in liver and kidney disease • Diarrhoea and constipation Physiology • Functions of the mouth and stomach • Secretions of the GI system • Pancreas and biliary tree • Calcium, vitamins and iron • Digestion and absorption • Colon, rectum, and anal canal Psychology • GI disorders: Psychological causes and consequences Professionalism and communication • Use verbal and written communication effectively • Learn independently and manage your time appropriately • Behave professionally to peers, staff and colleagues • Dyspepsia, ulcers and reflux: • H. pylori epidemiology and screening • Physiology and pathology of upper GI diseases • Diagnosis and management of upper GI diseases • Drug treatments • Liver disease • Epidemiology • Pathology in the management of liver disease • Physiological and biochemical consequences of cirrhosis • GI infection and immunology • GI infections and diarrhoea • Microbiological examination of infective diarrhoea, public health role, and interventions for reducing diarrhoeal morbidity or mortality • Mucosal immunology and infection • IBD and Coeliac disease • Pathology of IBD and Coeliac disease • Immunology of IBD and Coeliac disease • Clinical aspects of IBD and Coeliac disease • Clinical pharmacology of IBD and Coeliac disease • Colorectal cancer • Epidemiology and screening • Genetics • Pathology • Surgical aspects

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 small group sessions/tutorials • Practical sessions • Guided self-study • eLearning

Practical classes and workshops13
Wider reading or practice30
Preparation for scheduled sessions53.5
Total study time187.5

Resources & Reading list

Smith ME, Morton DG (2010). The Digestive System. 

Griffiths M. (2012). Crash Course Gastrointestinal System. 

Faculty of Medicine. Pathology interactive practicals (PiPs).

Faculty of Medicine. GI virtual patients.

Faculty of Medicine. Anatomy theme website. Anatomy and histology interactive materials.

The standard textbooks on the BM5 Recommended Reading List.


Assessment Strategy

At the end of year 2 there is a synoptic examination comprising a written paper, MCQ and practical paper covering material from Renal, Nervous System, Gastro-intestinal System, Endocrine and Life Cycle and research into Medicine and Health modules. There is compensation between components however a qualifying mark needs to be achieved in each of the components. Students who fail any/all of the components will have a supplementary attempt which will consist of all 3 components. Students who fail the supplementary examination will be offered a repeat year.


MethodPercentage contribution
Part II Assessment schedule 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Supplementary activity 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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