76034 - Human Physiology

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

After the course, the student will have a good knowledge of the bases of human physiology with a focus on the mechanisms that maintain vital functions, and understand and learn the key biophysical principles applied to cell membranes, in particular for neurons and muscular cells.

Course contents

This course is designed to provide a general introduction to human physiology; types of movement across membrane, ionic channels, physical and chemical bases of membrane potential and resting ionic flow.

EXCITABLE CELLS: Action-potential: its origin and propagation. Synapses. Electric and chemical Synapses. Generality on neurotransmitters and their receptors. Sensory physiology. Smooth, skeletal and myocardic-muscle cells (sinoatrial-nodal and atrioventricular-nodal cells, conducting myofibers and common myocardium).

CONTROL SYSTEMS: Somatic nervous system and control of Voluntary movement. Autonomic nervous system. General basis of hormonal physiology: classification of hormones and mechanisms of hormonal action. Mechanisms of control of hormonal secretion. Hypothalamus and hypophysis.

CARDIOVASCOLAR SYSTEM: Characteristics and functions of the great and small circulation and characteristics and functions of vascular network. Mechanical activity of the heart: cardiac cycle phases, values of aortic pressure, left ventricular pressure, left ventricular volume during the cardiac cycle. Definition of stroke volume and its regulation. The arterial blood pressure: definition of systolic, diastolic and differential arterial pressure.

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM: Mechanics of the pulmonary ventilation: alveolar and intrapleural pressure changes during the respiratory cycle, lung volumes and capacities, pulmonary and alveolar ventilation. Exchanges of gases in lungs and tissues: composition of atmospheric and alveolar air; alveolar wall, differences in pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide in lungs and tissues. Transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide in blood: oxygen-hemoglobin dissociation curve and role of erythrocytes in the transport of carbon dioxide in blood.

KYDNEY SYSTEM: Urine composition. Glomerular filtration barrier, velocity of filtration. Generality of tubular reabsorptions and secretions. Mechanism of urine concentration and dilution.


Requested book:

VANDER FISIOLOGIA- Widmaier et al., 2018, casa ed. Ambrosiana.

Suggested books:

"Fisiologia umana - Elementi", Autori vari, edi-ermes.

"Fisiologia umana, un approccio integrato", Silverthorn, Ed. Pearson

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons using Power Point presentations.

Interactive methods (e.g. Kahoot, Mentimeter, Jove, etc…) learned in recent didactic laboratories of UNIBO will also be added, so to have a richer interaction among students and between students and professor.

Assessment methods

The final examination consists of an oral test in which the student will discuss mainly two different topics taken from the program. As part of the interview, questions will also be asked to evaluate the depth of the knowledge on the two topics and on other topics of the program, the critical thinking ability that links together different aspects of knowledge and the achievement of a comprehensive understanding of the topics addressed in class.

The exam will be considered passed if the student has demonstrated sufficient knowledge in each topic.

Teaching tools

All teaching material will be available on the designated digital platforms (servers) of the University.

In order to prepare for the exam it is suggested to attend actively the lectures, study from a textbook and use both the notes taken during lectures and the material put by the tutor on the server of the University.

Office hours

See the website of Michela Gamberini