PHYL3001 Physiology of Membranes, Muscles and Signalling

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Physiology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Life and Health Sciences
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
Cellular physiology examines in detail how physical and molecular principles apply to the function of cells and how this relates to the function of tissues and organs, and ultimately to the whole body. This unit focuses on quantitative descriptions of membrane transport and electrical phenomena, cell signalling and regulation of force in smooth and skeletal muscle. Relevance to disease is highlighted. Laboratory classes are undertaken to ensure students obtain an understanding of hands-on investigative approaches to the solving of scientific problems using isolated cells, tissues and whole animal preparations. Students also gain experience in hypothesis-driven experimental design and execution, current experimental techniques in cell physiology, scientific report writing and presentation of experimental data.
Students are able to (1) attain up-to-date knowledge of (a) mechanisms of membrane transport; (b) the concerted action of electrical and ionic events that regulate cell function; (c) the action of various pharmacological agents on membrane channels and transport processes; (d) how pharmacological agents can be used to test for various membrane processes; (e) trans-epithelial transport of solutes and water; (f) mechanisms of force generation in smooth and striated muscle, and (g) membrane and intracellular signalling in force generation in smooth and striated muscle and (2) gain experience in hypothesis-driven experimental design and execution, current experimental techniques in cell physiology, the use of isolated cells, tissues and whole animal preparations, data analysis and presentation, scientific report writing and conference-style presentation of experimental data.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) written examination; (2) laboratory assessments; and (3) online quizzes. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Gavin Pinniger
Unit rules
PHYL2002 Physiology of Cells
PHYL2245 Physiology of Cells
(PHYL2001 Physiology of Human Body Systems and three of ANHB2212 Human Structure and Development, BIOC2203 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Cell, BIOC2001 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Cell, MICR2209 Introduction to Infectious Diseases and Immunology, PATH2201 Introduction to Human Disease, PHAR2210 Foundations of Pharmacology)
PHYL3340 Advanced Cell Physiology
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; lab classes: 3 labs up to 6 hours each; tutorials: up to 8 hours (four 2 hour tutorials throughout semester)
Unit Outline
Semester 1_2019 [SEM-1_2019]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.