General and environmental physiology

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
This course aims at providing the basic knowledge of general and animal physiology, necessary to understand the functional properties of organs and systems.
Expected learning outcomes
Ability to:
- understand the relationship between structure and function;
- understand the function of the animal organs and systems;
- understand how animals maintain homeostasis.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Teaching methods
The course is held in the second semester. If the emergency phase continued, in compliance with the regulations, the lessons would take place remotely in both synchronous (on the Zoom platform) and asynchronous (audio lessons in ppt). Lesson recordings will be available on the Ariel website of the course. The synchronous lessons will allow students to maintain a direct contact with the teacher and give the opportunity to have clarifications on the topics covered. A forum will also be organized on the Ariel website of the course to facilitate interaction among students and teacher, which of course can be contacted via email, too. All the information regarding the organization of the course, the synchronous and asynchronous lessons, the hours dedicated to question time, as well as any other updates are provided on the Ariel website of the course.

Program and reference materials
The program and the reference material will not change with respect to what is indicated in the syllabus.

Exam and evaluation criteria
As indicated in the syllabus, the exam consists in an oral interview. The information regarding the exam (in the presence, in compliance with the regulations, remotely, through the Zoom platform) is made available on the Ariel website of the course. The evaluation criteria will not change and are those reported in the syllabus.
Course syllabus
At the beginning of the course the basic principles and mechanisms involved in homeostasis and membrane transport phenomena will be discussed. In particular the following topics will be described:
- biological macromolecules (proteins, lipids, sugars);
- properties of aqueous solutions, water ionization, acids and bases, buffer solutions
- biological membranes: structure and function;
- chemical and electrochemical potential;
- transport of solutes across the biological membrane: active and passive transport;
-membrane potential.
Then, the following animal physiology topics will be analyzed:
- the absorbing epithelia: junctions, transport mechanisms involved in the absorption of water, ions and organic molecules;
- the physiology of neuron: the resting potential, the action potential, propagation and transmission of signals; electrical and chemical synapses;
- muscle and movement: structural basis of contraction, electromechanical coupling, mechanical properties of contractile muscle;
- chemical messengers and regulators: hormones and messengers, regulation of hormone secretion, neuroendocrine relations;
- circulatory system: the mammalian heart, electrical activity of the heart, mechanical properties of the heart, hemodynamics, the arterial system, capillaries, the venous system, cardiovascular control, the lymphatic system;
- exchange of gases: oxygen and carbon dioxide in blood, regulation of body pH;
- excretory system: the nephron, glomerular filtration, tubular reabsorption and secretion.
Prerequisites for admission
Mandatory prerequisites are not requested, however the students must have good knowledge of general biology, chemistry, zoology and comparative anatomy.
Teaching methods
The course is organized in lectures
Teaching Resources
Textbook: L. Sherwood, H. Klandorf, P. Yancey - Fisiologia degli animali. Dai geni agli organismi, Zanichelli.
The slides of the course are available to students on the Ariel platform
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of a mandatory oral discussion which focuses on the topics covered during the course. The final evaluation will take into account the level of knowledge and understanding of the main concepts of general physiology as well as the ability to apply the knowledge acquired to understand the homeostasis mechanisms.
BIO/09 - PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 8
Lessons: 64 hours
Professor: Casartelli Morena
Friday from 2.30 PM by appointment
Department of Biosciences, via Celoria 26, ground floor, B tower