BMS 653 Physiology I:    4 Credit Hours
BMS 660 Physiology II:    3 Credit Hours

Placement in the Curriculum:    Year One
Duration:    August-December and January-May

Synopsis:    The two medical courses in Human Physiology teach the essentials of the processes of life.  The emphasis is on the understanding of the mechanisms by which the living organism maintains a chemical and physical steady-state despite diverse external stresses and work loads.  Specifically, the physiology of the major organ systems: nerve-muscle, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, central nervous, endocrine and reproductive are covered.  Integrated activity of the various organ systems is described with emphasis on hierarchy of control mechanisms.  An understanding of these mechanisms is presented in terms of how molecular and cellular events give rise to the typical behavior of a particular organ system.  These courses are very clinically relevant because knowledge of the processes underlying the normal physiological functions of all the major organ systems is crucial for understanding pathology, pharmacology, and for competent clinical practice.  In fact, all of medicine is based on understanding physiological function.

Competencies:    In the process of completing these courses, students acquire the following competencies:
●    Describe transport across the plasma membrane, the basis of the resting membrane potential, the genesis and propagation of action potentials.  Understand muscle excitation and contraction.  Understand the autonomic nervous system.
●    Understand the heart and circulation starting from a molecular level and ending with how the circulatory system functions as a dual pump and dual circulatory system.
●    Understand respiratory processes with knowledge of structures, ventilation, diffusion, blood-flow, ventilation-perfusion relationships, gas transport, mechanics of breathing and control of ventilation
●    Identify how the kidney plays an important role in the maintenance of homeostasis by regulating both the composition and volume of the extracellular fluid compartment.
●    Understand the cellular and organ basis of digestion and absorption of nutrients and excretion of waste products including the role of the liver in gastrointestinal physiology.  
●    Understand how the brain works at the molecular, cellular and neuronal systems level.  The role of electrical and chemical signals in information transmission and processing.  Brain circulation, metabolism, neurotransmitter release and receptors.
●    Understand the physiological mechanisms underlying sensory perception, motor control and the maintenance of homeostasis, as well as higher cortical functions such as language, learning and memory.
●    Understand endocrine physiology:  role of hypothalamic, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal and pancreatic hormones in homeostasis.  Study of the synthesis, secretion, function and mechanism of action of the endocrine and paracrine hormones.
●    Understand human reproduction:  functional changes in the reproductive tract, the formation of sperm and eggs, fertilization and hormonal regulation of fertility, role of hormones in pregnancy, parturition and lactation.

Key Words:    Nerve-muscle, circulation, respiration, renal, gastrointestinal, central nervous system, endocrine/reproductive.

Assessment:    Fall (5) and Spring (2) section exams following each topic. The Fall semester also has a comprehensive final exam.

Instructional Features:
    In addition to lectures, conferences, demonstrations of patients and reviews are included in the course.  Extensive use is made of Blackboard for posting lecture materials supplemental material.  See the syllabus for a list of the required and recommended textbooks for this course.  Section exams are provided after each topic.