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

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Develop the student’s understanding of the normal and abnormal structure and function of the gastrointestinal system • Integrate the basic sciences with relevant clinical topics, both in taught sessions and self-directed study • Address the theory behind pathological processes, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments • Enable students to reflect upon the psychological and social impacts of diseases of this system • Encourage students to develop their skills as both learners and future professional in the medical field. • Integrate learning from previous modules (Foundations of Medicine; Nervous and Locomotor Systems 1, Respiratory, Cardiovascular and Renal 1, Respiratory, Cardiovascular) and Renal 2, and Nervous and Locomotor 2). 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:

  • Describe the normal structure, function and development of the gastrointestinal system [1.1a]
  • Describe the principles behind, justify reasons for, and begin to interpret relevant clinical investigations [2.1g, 2.2d]
  • Use verbal and written communication effectively [2.3a, 2.3b, 2.3c]
  • Learn independently and manage your time appropriately [3.2a, 3.2b, 3.2d]
  • 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 [3.2c, 3.3b, 3.4a]
  • 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 [1.1b]
  • Identify links between the basic sciences and clinical case histories [1.1b, 1.1e, 1.1g, 1.2d, 1.3d, 1.4b]
  • Describe methods available to study gastrointestinal disease in individual patients and justify their use [1.1c, 1.1d]
  • Describe the mechanism of action of drugs used to treat gastrointestinal diseases, and the principles underlying non-pharmacological treatment options [1.1e, 1.1f, 2.5b]
  • Identify psychological causes and consequences of gastrointestinal disease [1.2b, 1.2c, 1.2d]
  • Recognise social consequences of gastrointestinal disease, including patients, their families and wider society [1.3b, 1.3c]
  • Describe the epidemiology of common conditions affecting this system, and approaches to disease prevention [1.4e, 1.4f]
  • Demonstrate appropriate numeracy skills in the calculation and interpretation of quantitative scientific and clinical data [1.1f, 1.1g]


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 drugs • Pharmacokinetics • Drugs, metabolism and elimination • 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 Symposia • Dyspepsia, ulcers and reflux: o H. pylori epidemiology and screening o Physiology and pathology of upper GI diseases o Diagnosis and management of upper GI diseases o Drug treatments • Liver disease o Epidemiology o Pathology in the management of liver disease o Physiological and biochemical consequences of cirrhosis • GI infection and immunology o GI infections and diarrhoea o Microbiological examination of infective diarrhoea, public health role, and interventions for reducing diarrhoeal morbidity or mortality o Mucosal immunology and infection • IBD and Coeliac disease o Pathology of IBD and Coeliac disease o Immunology of IBD and Coeliac disease o Clinical aspects of IBD and Coeliac disease o Clinical pharmacology of IBD and Coeliac disease • Colorectal cancer o Epidemiology and screening o Genetics o Pathology o 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

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

Resources & Reading list

Faculty of Medicine. GI virtual patients.

Faculty of Medicine. Radiological anatomy.

The standard textbooks on the BM5 Recommended Reading List.

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

Faculty of Medicine. Pathology interactive practicals (PiPs).

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

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



MethodPercentage contribution
Multiple choice question  (2 hours) 80%
Practical paper  (20 minutes) 20%


MethodPercentage contribution
Multiple choice question 80%
Practical paper 20%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal


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:

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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