B2819 - Fundamentals of Human Physiology

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Moduli: Stefano Ferroni (Modulo 3) Marco Caprini (Modulo 1) Barbara Monti (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 3) Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Pharmacy (cod. 5985)

    Also valid for Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Pharmacy (cod. 9219)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will have knowledge of the basic mechanisms of cell physiology and of the functional properties of the nervous and muscular cells. He/she will aquire the foundamental elements of the modalities of receptive and codification of the sensory information, and about the functions of the nervous, endocrine and immunne systems. The students will know the basic principles of the various functional systems of the body. They will also acquire the relevant information on the mechanisms of nutrition processes.

Course contents


Cell physiology.Functional systems of the human body. The cell as functional unit of the human body. Principles of body homeostasis. Compositions of the intra and extracellular milieus. Transport mechanisms through the plasma membrane

Nervous tissue. Functional organization of the nervous tissue. Cell types of the nervous tissue. Functional properties of neuronal cells. Communication mechanisms in the nervous tissue

Muscular tissue. Functional anatomy of the skeletal and smooth muscles. Molecular basis of contraction in skeletal and smooth muscles. Excitation-contraction coupling. Modulatory mechanisms of muscular strength in skeletal and smooth muscles

Parallel to the class room lessons, students will be guided in the use of an interactive program on the functions of the nervous and muscular system with the aid of a software present in the online textbook (Human Physiology: an integrated approach. Ed Pearson ).


Nervous system: functional organization of the central and peripheral nervous system. Overview of the functional mechanisms of the sensory systems and of the control mechanisms of body movement.

Endocrine system: organization of the endocrine system. Classification and mechanisms of action of hormones; secretion control mechanisms. Endocrine control of growth and reproduction.

Immune system: classification of the cells of the immune system. Innate and acquired immunity; pathways of the immune response.

Digestive system: functional anatomy and control mechanisms of the digestive system. Nervous and hormonal control of digestive system functions. Overview of motor and secretory functions of the digestive system. Overview on the absorption of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, water and mineral salts.

The hours of practice will be scattered throughout the module, held in the classroom by the teacher, and will consist of in-depth studies, also with innovative approaches, of the topics covered in the lessons


Cardiovascular system. Functional organization of the cardiovascular system. Electrical and mechanical activities of the hearth. Control of the cardiac activity and blood pressure

Respiratory system. Functional organization of the respiratory system. Pulmonary ventilation. Gas transport in the blood. Regulation of the respiratory activity

Urinary system. Functional organization of the urinary system. Process of urine production. Hormonal and nervous regulation of urine production

The hours of practice will be scattered throughout the module and consist of lessons on clinical aspects of the theoretical parts




Silverthorn- Human physiology: an integrated approach
Eighth edition; Pearson publisher

Teaching methods

The activity will be organized in 3 didactic modules (3 CFU each) in which there will be provided the basic principles of human physiology

Every module is made of theoretical lessons (2 CFU, 16 hours) and practice activity (1 CFU, 12 hours) providing analyses of specific aspects of the theoretical parts

The modules are 1) Cell physiology and physiology of excitable tissues. 2) Integrated physiology. 3) System physiology

Assessment methods


In some exam session the assessment will be only by written modality, in others will be only oral. The final mark will be in fraction of 30/30.


The exam will consist of 3 open questions, 1 for each module (5985) or 4 questions (9219). To get the credits the student must get the minimum mark of 6 (maximum 10) for each module. The final mark will be the sum of the partial mark of each module. The time allocated for the exam will be of 3 hours.


In the oral session the exam questions will be about the program of the three modules. To get the credits the student must get the minimum mark in each module.

Exam assesement for the sudents of 5985

The exam will be on the 3 modules the same day following the order 1, 2, 3. If the student does not get the minimum mark in one of the module he/she shall repeat the whole exam.

The written examination will consist of 3 open questions, one for each module. If the student does not get the minimum mark in one of the module he/she shall repeat the whole exam.

Exam assessment for the students of 9219 that have opted for 5985

The assessment will be done, in some sessions, through written modality in which the student will have to answer to 4 questions, 1 for each of the module 1 and 2 ans 2 for module 3. For the modules 1 and 2 the maximal note will be of 7.5, whereas for module 3 will be of 15. The minimum note that the student must get for module 1 and 2 is 4.5 and 9 for module 3. Until the exam session of April 2024, the students can opt to be assessed on modules 1+2 and 3 separately. The final note valid for the acquisition of the credits will be determined by the sum of the note of each module.

In the oral session the student will be examined on the 3 modules together or 1+2 and 3 separately

The notes acquired for module 1+2 will be valid for 12 months.

Previous curriculum (8413, 0039, 1510)

The students still enrolled in the previous curriculum of General Physiology can be assessed in written or oral modalities. The exam will consist on 2 questions of the program, one on cellular physiology and one on system physiology.

This students have also the opportunity of being assessed in added sessions reserved for them.

Teaching tools

The classes will be provided through power point presentations

Office hours

See the website of Stefano Ferroni

See the website of Marco Caprini

See the website of Barbara Monti