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PSC2016 : Molecular Physiology and Pathophysiology

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Jeffrey Pearson
  • Lecturer: Professor Christopher Ward
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 15
ECTS Credits: 8.0


To provide an understanding at the molecular level of (1) aspects of the normal physiology and diseases of the aerodigestive tract and (2) connective tissue and proteoglycans in health and disease.

To provide a knowledge of how reflux of gastric duodenal juice, a normal physiological event can under certain conditions lead to damage of the aerodigestive tract.

This strand will also aim to give you an excellent understanding at a molecular level of structure function relationships involving proteoglycans e.g. connective tissue function and how this changes in disease. Also the role of proteoglycans in malaria and cancer cell migration.

Outline Of Syllabus

Students will learn about: the relationships between acid and pepsin production by the stomach, reflux and diseases of the aerodigestive tract, such as GORD, LPR, sinusitis, rhinitis, asthma, vocal fold leukoplakia, laryngomalacia and OME. In addition they will see and discuss the experimental evidence for a link between the reflux of gastric juice and lung transplant rejection and the molecular mechanisms for the development of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. The mechanisms of other aerodigestive diseases associated with reflux will be investigated. As a second molecular theme the students will learn about structure and functions of cartilage and the proteoglycans there contained and the changes that occur in osteoarthritis. They will also learn about the cellular functions of proteoglycans in other tissues.


Pepsin isoenzymes, bile acids and acid as inflammatory mediators, mucosal protection of different mucosal types.

Human diseases related to reflux. Connective tissues/proteoglycans. Osteoarthritis

Functions of proteoglycans and related diseases

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion131:0031:00Preparation and completion of practical report and essay
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00PIP. Module Introduction session to introduce module, establish content & pattern of actvs & assmts
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture161:0016:00PIP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical17:007:00PIP. Provide skills to collect valid and reliable data for understanding and lab report
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00PIP seminars to facilitate discussion of module content & check for understanding
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Synchronous online - supporting practical
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study189:0089:00This includes preparing lecture material notes, reading and revision
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures convey the core scientific content.

The practical provides laboratory experience and practical demonstrations to support the core material, provide experience in computer-based presentation skills, and places basic scientific knowledge in a clinical context. Small group teaching and module talks provide opportunity for discussion and aid the development of critical skills and problem solving.

Individual study topic sessions encourage use of the scientific literature at a deeper level than that presented in lectures, promotes individual creative work, provides an opportunity to teach and learn through collective study, and promotes scientific discrimination of the literature.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A75Invigilated exam. Part 1 - 37% - Quiz format (maximum 60 questions). Part 2 - 38% - Essay (choice 1 of 2)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M15Essay (850 words)
Practical/lab report2M10Structured, guided answers based on practical content, completed in small teams.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination is an appropriate way of testing core knowledge and understanding of the subject under time-constraint conditions. The in-course essay promotes revision, deeper learning and scientific discrimination of the literature, and provides an opportunity to consolidate knowledge and identify areas of weakness in learning and teaching and is practice for the end of module exam. The practical report tests critical skills, problem-solving, data interpretation, computer-based presentation skills and written communication skills.

Reading Lists