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PSC2019 : Renal and Respiratory Physiology

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Alison Howard
  • Lecturer: Professor John Sayer, Dr Andreas Werner, Professor Christopher Ward, Dr Simon Wilkinson, Dr Matthew Wilcox, Professor Kevin Marchbank, Dr Michele Sweeney, Dr Tim Cheek
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the physiology of the renal and respiratory systems, involving a thorough grounding on the integrated and cellular aspects of system performance. This includes the mechanisms by which the two systems co-ordinate activity to maintain a constant internal environment (including control of acid-base balance) and respond to changes in internal and external stimuli. Consideration will be given to changes in structure and function in different physiological conditions, including ageing, exercise and altitude. Specific malfunctions will be described at appropriate points within the module and the resultant pathophysiological conditions discussed.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module is taught as two strands, and considers:

- The importance of structure and function of the kidney; control systems regulating renal function, filtration, urine concentration; central role of the kidney in homeostasis, water balance, whole-body acid-base balance and their importance in maintaining health; effects of remodelling cardiovascular, respiratory and renal systems on control of whole-body acid-base balance and how disturbances may lead to chronic imbalance and impact upon health.

- The importance of structure and function in the respiratory system; chemical control of ventilation, including chemoreceptor function; neural and reflex control of ventilation; control, adaptations and remodelling in exercise, altitude, ageing and disease states.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00PIP lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Preparation and completion of respiratory strand practical report. Group work
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Interpretation & analysis of scientific paper, written report.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00PIP - Renal practical. Provide skills to collect valid and reliable data to advance understanding
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00PIP - Respiratory Practical Phase 2. Students work independently but share experimental data
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities13:003:00PIP - Respiratory Practical Phase 1. Design and plan experiments
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00PIP. Student discussion of module content & understanding (Respiratory strand)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00PIP. Student discussion of module content and understanding (Renal Strand)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1123:00123:00Preparing lecture material, note taking, general reading and revision
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide the core information and an indication of the scope of the course as a basis for guided independent study. The small group teaching and drop in sessions will encourage increased understanding of the material through discussion. The practical classes will provide experience in recording and analysing biological data to support the core knowledge, carrying out scientific calculations, computer-based presentation skills and working as part of a small group. Written exercises will encourage analysis and discrimination of the scientific literature at a deeper level than that presented in lectures, promoting individual creative work and also providing an opportunity to learn through collective study.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A80Invigilated written paper exam. Part 1 (40%) MCQ (max 60 questions) Part 2 (40%) 2 Essays one from each strand (1 of 2)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M10Analysis of Scientific Paper on Renal topic - 750 words
Practical/lab report2M10Respiratory practical written report. Group mark will be assigned and adjusted for individual contribution
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The end of semester examination assess knowledge and understanding of the course material and the ability to work under time limited conditions.

The practical assessments will judge the students’ ability to design and perform experiments, analyse and present experimental data in a scientific manner (using computer-based programs), and to draw appropriate conclusions. These group tasks will also test their ability to work effectively as a team and to develop their scientific thinking using verbal and written communication skills.

The analysis of a scientific paper tests skills in critically interpreting and evaluating scientific data.

The examination essays will test the students’ understanding of the material learned in the module, examine their ability to integrate and explore the relationships between the various themes within the module, and test their ability to develop scientific arguments.

Reading Lists