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Principles of Human Physiology - Part A

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNEnrollment
June 12, 2017 - June 23, 20172M-F 12:15-3:05POpenChristopher Ciarleglio

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Course Description

Physiology is the critical study of how living things function. It is not anatomy, but as one of the most fundamental disciplines in the biomedical sciences, it depends heavily on anatomical and biological concepts. An understanding of the basic principles of physiology, especially in regard to our own bodies, is an invaluable part of any budding physicians' or scientists' repertoire. As the most general of the biomedical sciences, physiology integrates biology, chemistry, physics, and even behavior, and is a fascinating subject for students of all academic backgrounds and interests. This course introduces classical physiology in the human body, and how it functions in both health and disease. Following an understanding of basic cellular physiology, various body systems and their interesting pathophysiologies will be reviewed. Any student looking to major in the biological sciences or in pursuit of a biomedical or health sciences career would find this course critically relevant. Part A of Principles of Human Physiology is the first of a two-part course, and though students are not required to take Part B, it should be a consideration!

The course will center on the continuum from basic molecules to high-functioning systems in the human body: both normal (healthy) and atypical (diseased). In Part A, after an overview of cellular physiology, students will be exposed to a core set of body systems (neurological, muscular, cardiopulmonary, and respiratory) and the concept of biology's central mantra "sequence = structure = function" will be introduced and expounded as each system is discussed. Completion of this course will provide students with a comprehensive and solid foundation for further study in physiology (Part B), which they can use to pursue more advanced sub-specialties within the biomedical sciences. Why the human body works, even at the most basic level, is the foundation of all biomedical sciences, from simple basic research to drug treatment development to patient care. The instructor effectively mixes hardcore science with real-world issues, making the principles of physiology interesting, relevant, and timely.

To begin, students will appreciate biology's central mantra (stated above), and be able to apply it to their further understanding of other physiological concepts. We will learn how evolution has shaped life to manage environmental challenges through the use of specialized systems, thus helping us understand the connection between physiology and its functional output. We will attempt to answer pivotal questions that affect our daily lives, like 'What is life?' and 'How does the brain work?' We will explore the core systems that run our bodies, and discuss the origins of disease and disorder. We will end the course with an informal discussion of what we missed, and of what fascinates us as budding students of science. Knowledge of basic physiology should impact future research and serve as a foundation for all future scientific and biomedical endeavors.

Completion of an advanced high school biology course is required; AP Biology preferred.

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