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NST 1A Physiology of Organisms


Physiology is the branch of biology relating to the function of organs and organ systems, and how they work within the body to respond to challenges. It covers life from the single cell, where it overlaps with biochemistry and molecular biology, through questions about how individual organs work (e.g. heart, lungs, kidneys) right up to the whole-organism level, where physiologists tackle questions about hormonal influences on behaviour and the function of the brain. Physiology therefore has something to say about every aspect of life: our integrated approach makes physiologists invaluable contributors in studies ranging from genetics to psychology. Neuroscience is a branch of physiology, and this very important subdiscipline is covered within the Physiology of Organisms course.

In its applied aspects, physiology deals with the function and malfunction of parts of the human body with reference to health and disease (areas relating to medicine), how to improve crop yield (areas relating to plant sciences) as well as the practical problems of animal, plant and microbial performance and their responses to challenging conditions (areas relating to ecology).

The Physiology of Organisms course does not assume knowledge of A2-level biology or any other course, although some background in biology, chemistry and physics will be useful. It is a valuable introduction to a wide range of second-year biological options, including Animal Biology, Ecology, Neurobiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Plant & Microbial Sciences and, of course, Physiology, but it is of general interest to anyone curious about how the machinery underlying animal and plant life actually works.

Lectures: take place on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 12 noon

Practicals: take place every two weeks, from 12-1pm and then from 2-5pm on either Wednesdays or Fridays, while in the Lent term practical classes are every week. There is only one practical class in the Easter term.

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Matt Mason, Department of PDN,

Course Website:

The course timetable can be seen here