37361 - Physiology Applied to The Environment

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the teaching period, the student has aquired knowledge on the animal-environment interaction and theoretical and practical knowledge useful to measure and foresee the effects of anthropic activities on living organism at the molecular, cellular and individual levels. On these basis, the student is able to apply assessment of environmental quality and use data for risk evaluation.

Course contents

Principles of organism-environment interaction; emerging contaminants (endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals, plastics); main effects of contaminants on humans and wildlife. Action mechanisms at different levels of biological complexity (molecular, cellular and organism levels); effects and action mechanisms of endocrine disruptors;  contaminant effects on main physiological functions. The biomarkers as early warnings of environmental quality alteration. Environmental biomonitoring according to international guidelines.

Readings/Bibliography

Scientific papers, report and international guidelines on the application and improvements of strategies for environmental biomonitoring and environmental and health risk evaluation

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons and discussion of scientific papers.

Assessment methods

The final examination wants to evaluate that students met the teaching objectives: organism-environment interaction; environmental contamination; main effects of contaminants on humans and wildlife; action mechanisms at different levels of biological complexity; effects of endocrine disruptors;  contaminant effects on main physiological functions. Environmental biomonitoring. Evaluation of health and environmental risk.

The exam (written) deals with three specific questions on different  topics: students will be asked to answer a general question in a pertinent and synthetic manner; a second question will be on the practical activities in the laboratory; a third question will be on planning an environmental bioassessment or biomonitoring action.

Teaching tools

Power point slides, scientific papers

Office hours

See the website of Elena Fabbri

See the website of Paola Valbonesi