First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SC04103235, 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
SC1166, Degree course structure A.Y. 2015/16, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 11.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination GENERAL PHYSIOLOGY
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge MARCO BISAGLIA BIO/09
Other lecturers DANIELA PIETROBON BIO/09

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses BIO/09 Physiology 11.0

Course unit organization
Period Annual
Year 3rd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Laboratory 1.0 16 9.0 No turn
Lecture 10.0 80 170.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 20/06/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2015 course timetable

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology.
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 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 bases of motility at the level of the muscular apparatus in its various structures;
4. To be able to describe the molecular basis of information transfer through chemical signals;
5. To be able to use appropriate terminology;
6. To be able to organize scientific reasoning with logical precision.
Examination methods: The acquired knowledge and skills will be assessed through a written examination with open-ended questions concerning the program topics. In addition to open-ended questions, the assessment in the first part (I semester) will be also based on multiple-choice questions.
Assessment criteria: The open-ended questions will be assessed according to the answers, in terms of:
1) completeness of the information provided in each response,
2) the ability to link between different concepts (consequential logic)
3) the synthesis ability
4) the scientific lexical properties

In the multiple choice questions also the presence of errors will be considered.

The answer to each question will be evaluated numerically and the total score of the examination will be the sum of the scores obtained in the individual responses. The final grade will be the weighted average of the results achieved in two different parts (I and II semester).
Course unit contents: The first section is organized in 4 main sections:

1) Physical barriers in biological systems and transport phenomena (1.5 CFU lectures; 0.5 CFU laboratory).
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.

2) Electical signals (1 CFU lectures; 0.5 CFU laboratory).
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. Conduction of an action potential (unmyelinated and myelinated axons).

3) Muscles (1.5 CFU lectures).
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.

4) Chemical signals (1 CFU lectures).
Local signals and long distance signals (hormones). Hormone classification. Signal transduction. Adenylyl cyclase and Phospholipase C systems.

The second section (II semester) is organized in 3 main units:

1) Nervous systems, neurons and electrical signals. Voltage-gated ion channels: structures, functions and differences. (2 CFU lectures).

2) Synaptic transmission. Molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release. Post-synaptic potentials and synaptic integration. Neurotransmitters: synthesis, storage and release. Neurotransmitter receptors. (1.5 CFU lectures)

3) Sensory receptors and sensory transduction. (1.5 CFU lectures)
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
  • Purves, Dale, Neuroscienzea cura di Dale Purves ... [et al.]con sito web. Bologna: Zanichelli, 2013. 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
  • Use of online videos
  • 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