First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP4068161, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18

Information on the course unit
Degree course First cycle degree in
SC1165, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2019/20
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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 MARCO BISAGLIA BIO/09
Other lecturers ELISA GREGGIO 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 2
Lecture 8.0 64 136.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
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.
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. Circulatory apparatus as distribution and connection system. Water and solute transport in kidney, at nephron level, and digestive system.
-Unit 2: Electical signals
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: Muscles
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.
-Unit 4: Chemical signals
Local signals and long distance signals (hormones). Hormone classification. Signal transduction. Adenylyl cyclase and Phospholipase C systems.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course is organized in daily class sessions. Practical lab activities will be part of the course. Groups formed by two students will perform experiments, following specific protocols. Lab activities are related to topics already presented in class. At the end of each lab activity, students will write critical reports.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Before the beginning of a given unit, the powerpoint files that will be used for lessons are made available to students through moodle platform.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Taglietti, Vanni; Casella, Cesare; Goglia, Fernando, Fisiologia e biofisica delle celluleVanni Taglietti, Cesare CasellaFernando Goglia ... [et al.]. Napoli: Edises, 2015. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Siegel, Allan; Sapru, Hreday N., Fondamenti di Neuroscienze. Padova: PICCIN, 2019.

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Laboratory
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Questioning
  • Active quizzes for Concept Verification Tests and class discussions
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

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

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Good Health and Well-Being Life on Land