First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP4068161, A.A. 2018/19

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2016/17

Information on the course unit
Degree course First cycle degree in
SC1165, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2018/19
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 9.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination GENERAL PHYSIOLOGY (MOD. A)
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian

Teacher in charge MARIANO BELTRAMINI
Other lecturers MARCO BISAGLIA BIO/09

Integrated course for this unit
Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses BIO/09 Physiology 9.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 3rd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Laboratory 1.0 16 9.0 No turn
Lecture 8.0 64 136.0 No turn

Start of activities 01/10/2018
End of activities 18/01/2019
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2008 course timetable

Examination board
Examination board not defined


Common characteristics of the Integrated Course unit

Prerequisites: A basic knowledge in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology and Plant Biology is required.
Target skills and knowledge: The main objective of the course is the comprehension of the functional processes involving an exchange of matter, energy or information, in cells, tissues and organisms in animal and plant systems.
1. To be able to describe the processes of exchange of matter, energy and information at the level of single animal and vegetal cells as well as tissues;
2. To be able to describe the molecular bases that underlie bioelectrical processes and the codification of information through them;
3. To be able to describe the physiological and molecular bases of the mechanisms of absorption and assimilation of nutrients in plants.
4. To be able to describe the bases of motility at the level of the muscular apparatus in its various structures;
5. To be able to describe the molecular basis of information transfer through chemical signals;
6. To be able to use appropriate terminology;
7. To be able to organize scientific reasoning with logical precision.
Examination methods: Candidates must pass a written examination with open-ended questions on the different topics. In addition to open-ended questions, the assessment in Plant Physiology will be also based on multiple-choice questions.
Assessment criteria: The answer to each question is evaluated numerically with respect to:
1. Completeness of the acquired knowledge
2. Expressive clarity and correct use of scientific terms
3. Consequentiality and logical coherences in the answer
4. Presence of errors.
The total score of the exam results from the sum of the scores reported in the individual answers.
The preparation of a written report on the lab experiments, and its delivery within the indicated times, is a prerequisite for the evaluation of the exam.
The final score will be the weighted mean between the single scores obtained in General Physiology and in Plant Physiology

Specific characteristics of the Module

Course unit contents: -Unit 1: Physical barriers in biological systems and transport phenomena (20 hours class, 16 hours lab).
Cell membrane:description. Membrane permeabiltity to uncharged molecules, electrolytes and water: simple diffusion, facilitated diffusion though carrier proteins, primary active transport and secondary active transport. Ionic channels. Osmosis and tonicity. Reflection coefficient. The Donnan equilibrium. Vesicular transport: endocytosis and exocytosis.
-Unit 2: Electical signals (21 hours class)
Selective permeability of membranes to electrolytes and electrochemical potentials: the Nernst potential, the membrane resting potential, time constant and length constant. Action potential: general properties and molecular bases. Refractory period. Conduction of an action potential (unmyelinated and myelinated axons) and synaptic transmission. Electrical and chemical synapses. Neurotransmitters: synthesis, storage and release. Neurotransmitter receptors. Post-synaptic potentials. Excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP) and inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP). Spatial summation, temporal summation and integration of neural information transfer. Sensory reception, sensory receptors, generator potential and codification by frequency. Tonic and fasic receptors, adaptation and autorythmic activity.
-Unit 3: Chemical signals (9 hours class).
Local signals and long distance signals (hormones). Hormone classification. Signal transduction. Adenylyl cyclase and Phospholipase C pathways.
-Unit 4: Muscle system (14 hours class).
Excitation and contraction in skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscle. Skeletal muscle: general properties. Sarcomere organization. Neurogenic excitation. Excitation-contraction coupling and relaxation. Role of calcium and ATP in muscle contraction. Sliding filament theory of contraction. Length-tension relationships. Tetanus and asynchronous recruitment of motor units. Skeletal muscle reflexes: muscle spindles and stretch reflex; Golgi tendon and muscle tension. Smooth muscle: general properties. Single unit and multi-unit smooth muscle contraction: molecular mechanisms. Myogenic contraction. Influence of neurotransmitters and hormones on smooth muscle contraction. Cardiac muscle: general properties. Myogenic excitation: pacemaker potentials.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Classroom activities include lectures where the contents of the course are dealt with on computer support (powerpoint files). The lessons are organized in order to stimulate the active participation of the students. The case studies considered are discussed with the active contribution of the students. Powerpoint files that are used in class are provided in advance to students through the moodle platform.
In the laboratory part, each student performs his own experiences following guided protocols. Protocols are provided in advance through the moodle platform and are discussed before the experience begins.
At the end of the experiment, each student prepares an individual report in which the experiment is critically evaluated. At the end of the experiment cycle, the results are evaluated overall in the classroom.
Additional notes about suggested reading: All teaching material (powerpoint files of the lectures and laboratory practice protocols) are provided in advance through the moodle.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Taglietti V e Casella C, Fisiologia a Biofisica delle cellule. Napoli: EdiSES, 2015. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Laboratory
  • Problem based learning
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)
  • MetaNeuron

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Life on Land