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The University of Southampton

MEDI6226 Human Biology & Systems Physiology

Module Overview

In Biomedical Engineering, it is essential to develop an in-depth understanding of human biology, anatomy and physiology, so that engineering expertise can be meaningfully applied to problems in human healthcare and disease and degeneration within the context of the life course. This ‘Human Biology and Systems Physiology’ module comprises a foundation in human cellular and molecular biology and how the body functions as a whole system. Particular attention will be given to five, key biological system strands: the Immune System, the Musculoskeletal System, the Cardiovascular System, the Respiratory System and Neurosensory Systems. In these key strands you will receive a more in-depth view of the relevant biology and physiology, existing concepts and models of the systems in health and in disease. Links are made throughout the module to allied engineering themes. There will be an integrated, cross-referenced, series of lecturers, first exploring the molecular and cellular characteristics of human biology, followed by multi-lecture strands covering the key human physiological systems. The system lectures will be supplemented with lectures with a biomedical engineering focus from internationally recognised experts in the fields of tissue repair and microfluidics. The lectures will be combined with a presentation workshop and a tutorial involving team-based thematic oral presentations. This module is primarily aimed at students with an engineering and physical sciences background, wishing to apply their skills to biomedical challenges. It is not recommended for those who already have a background in medicine or biology

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Explain the nature and functional attributes of molecular and cellular systems, and extend this to the anatomical and physiological organisation of human tissues, organs and systems
  • Discuss how disturbances in molecular, cellular, tissue and physiological systems link with diseases and disorders
  • Explain major socio-economic diseases, at the systems level, and how they can be managed using biomedical engineering approaches
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Plan and implement tasks at a professional level.
  • Constructively contribute to a team in a professional manner.
  • Analyse complex biomedical scenarios both systematically and creatively.
  • Improve skills relating to lifelong professional learning.
  • Develop good communication skills (written, listening, and poster and verbal presentations), and an ability to communicate across the life technologies interface.
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explain the operating principles of a human physiology system and predict the effects of molecular, cellular and system dysfunction
  • Combine the understanding of biology and physiology with physical and engineering principles


Postgraduate Study Skills Information for writing assignments: Scientific and IT skills for report/essay writing, how to read a scientific paper/critical appraisal, academic integrity, managing references (searching, storing, citing). Knowledge and Understanding: Cell and Molecular Form and Function Cellular architecture and biophysics Genetic information encoding, expression and sequencing Cellular signalling Blood: A dispersed, multi-functional tissue Knowledge and Understanding: Anatomy and Physiology Lectures exploring the form and function of organs and systems with special attention to the five major human physiology systems (the immune, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary and neurosensory systems). An understanding of system physiology in health and in disease will be developed using the principles of biophysics, biomechanics and biochemistry. Knowledge and Understanding: Special Topics in Regenerative Medicine and Lab on a Chip Lectures delivered by internationally recognised scientists in the growing fields of regenerative medicine and microfluidics. These fields will be explored within the context of biomedical engineering; tissue repair (regenerative medicine) and bioanalytics and biomodelling (microfluidics). Critical Thinking: Systems in Health, Disease and Degeneration Tutorials involving presentations based on the five major human physiology systems (the immune, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary and neurosensory systems). Students will work in multidisciplinary teams exploring the hierarchical organisation, from molecules to cells, and organs to systems, with attention to form and function and causes of disease and degeneration. Transferrable Skills IT skills Referencing Communication skills: written and oral presentation skills Reflection Multidisciplinary team working

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will involve a structured lecture series delivered by a range of experts in Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, and Biology, supplemented with a presentations workshop and interactive tutorials involving group presentations, as well as a visit to an endoscopy activity.

Independent Study120
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Available from the University of Southampton library resource.

Module Blackboard website. 

Alberts, Bruce (2002). Molecular Biology of the Cell. 

Useful Journals. Nature Lab on a Chip



MethodPercentage contribution
Group assignment including presentation 20%
Individual assignment  (2000 words) 80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual assignment  (2000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & 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:

Travel Costs for placements

Associated with the visit to the Anatomical Sciences Laboratory Facilities. To be costed (minimal/free). There will be no cost to you for visits to SGH but you will have to make your own travel arrangements.

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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