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MSci Medical Physiology / Course details
Year of entry: 2023
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Course unit details:
Membrane Transport and Signalling in Health & Disease (E)
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
Building directly on Years 1 and 2, this unit explores in depth the pivotal roles of ion channels and transporters in cellular activity, and the consequences of diturbance to normal activity resulting from genetic aberration, disease, or drug action. Students will learn how knowledge of the physiological and pathophysiological roles of these proteins and their structure and function can be exploited to treat clinical conditions such as cardiac arrhythmias, cancer, and pain.
|Unit title||Unit code||Requirement type||Description|
|Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action||BIOL21321||Pre-Requisite||Compulsory|
Ion channels and transporters have essential roles in the control of cellular activity. This unit aims to acquaint students with the roles of ion channels and trsnporters in clinical conditions (e.g. cardiac arrhythmias, cancer, pain) and the means to exploit these proteins as therapeutic targets.
- Recognise and pivotal roles of ion channels and transporters in cellular activity.
- Understand the consquences of disturbance to normal activity resulting from genetic aberration, disease, or drug action.
- Be able to link knowledge of ion channel/transporter structure and function to pathophysiology and approaches used for therapeutic intervention.
- Be able to review developing stratergies for therapeutic intervention.
- Structural and functional diversity of ion channels/transporters: Advanced knowledge of diversity in ion channel/transporter structure-function and its physiological and therapeutic relevance.
- Ion channel trafficking: Advanced principles of ion channel trafficking targeting and distribution, in relation to disease and therapeutic exploitation.
- Membrane Transporters and Aquaporins: Review of structures, functions, and regulation of solute transporters and aquaporins in physiological systems. Co-operative interactions of channels and transporters in epithelial ion transport, including disease examples.
- Calcium Signalling and Disease: Physiological roels of ion channels and transporters involved in diseases arising from disrupted calcium signalling, e.g. calcium overload (stroke), genetic mutations (Alzeimer's disease).
- Cancer: Roles of calcium and sodium channels and transporters in cancer. How calcium impacts on key cancer hallmarks, e.g. proliferation, migration and how voltage-gated channels promote invasion and metastasis. Potential of calcium signalling machinery and sodium channels as therapeutic targets.
- Pain: Roles of ion channels in pain transmission and how pain-related channelopathies arise from genetic mutations. Exploration of drugs currently in use and stratergies for developing improved drugs for the treatment of chronic and neuropathic pain.
- Cardiovascular Function: Physiological roles of ion channels and transporters in cardiac excitation rhythm and regulation. Cardiac ion channelopathies due to genetic defects (cardiac arrhythmias) and drugs used to treat cardiovascular disease.
- Analytical skills
- Online research problems requiring critical analysis, problem solving and data interpretation.
- Oral communication
- Students are encouraged to answer questions during lectures/workshops.
- Lecture content is research-led with an emphasis on current research, and students are encouraged to read around the subject. In addition to their own literature-based research, students are directed to additional scientific papers to enhance their knowledge.
- Written communication
- Workshops will develop writing skills - critical analysis and use of relevant cited evidence.
- Students will develop self-discipline and time management skills.
|Written assignment (inc essay)||15%|
Online quizes 5%
Online research paper-based SAQs 15%
Online written exam 80%
Examination (80%); other - online assessments (20%)
- Online quizes on core lecture material - written feedback for each Q via Blackboard
- Online research paper-based SAQs - written feedback via Blackboard
- Workshops, e.g. exam practice - verbal feedback in sessions
- Submitted essay plans (optional) - written feedback via email
- Discussion Board - written responses to student Qs via Unit Blackboard site.
References specific to individual lectures will also be recommended by the lecturers.
- Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, Morgan D, Raff M, Roberts K & Walter P, Molecular Biology of the Cell (6th edition), Garland Science, 2014, Recommended
- Ashcroft, FM, Ion Channels and Disease, Academic Press, 2003, Reference
- Boron, WF & Boulpaep, EL, Medical Physiology: A Cellular and Molecular Approach (2nd edition), Saunders, 2008, Recommended
- Rang HP, Dale MM, Ritter JM, Flower R & Henderson, G, Rang & Dale's Pharmacology (7th edition), Churchill Livingstone, 2012, Background
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||3|
|Independent study hours|
|Elizabeth Fitzgerald||Unit coordinator|