Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

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Unit Overview


This unit is concerned with studying the qualitative and quantitative aspects of nutrition required for people of different ages and physical activities. It deals with the digestion and absorption of macronutrients and micronutrients, and how this is coordinated by the nervous and endocrine systems. It also considers genetic mutations that deal with inappropriate nutrient absorption (lactose intolerance and cystic fibrosis). A detailed analysis of the absorbed nutrients, their assimilation and subsequent metabolism are considered. The role of the endocrine system in metabolic assimilation of absorbed fuel, along with derangements that follow their excess consumption are considered (e.g. metabolic acidosis, metabolic syndrome). Generic components of these endocrine systems responsible for signal transduction that maintain homeostasis are highlighted by examples that use inherited disorders. The neural and endocrine control of appetite and strategies used to manage this are also addressed.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) describe the function of the gastrointestinal (GI) system in relation to the digestion and absorption of macro- and micro-nutrients; (2) describe the neural and hormonal regulation of GI function; (3) understand the consequences of specific genetic mutations on nutrient absorption (lactose intolerance and cystic fibrosis); (4) understand the importance of energy balance within the body and how this is impacted by diet and physical activity; (5) understand how hormones exert their effects at the cellular level working through cell membrane and nuclear receptors and recognise that cell surface receptors rely on cell signalling to exert their cellular effects; (6) understand the hormonal regulation of metabolism and of growth including its regulation by thyroid hormones, glucocorticoids, insulin, insulin-like growth factors (somatomedins), growth hormone, glucagon and somatostatin and how these hormones are regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary axis; (7) understand how calcium and iron homeostasis are maintained in the body and the consequences when these processes are disrupted; (8) understand the difficulties in assessing obesity and the pathophysiological consequences of obesity, specifically metabolic syndrome; (9) understand how GI function and nutrient homeostasis can be assessed (through studies of the scientific literature and lab exercises); (10) apply this knowledge of metabolism in the understanding of disorders of impaired metabolic function; (11) critically evaluate the scientific literature relating to nutrition and metabolism; (12) demonstrate familiarity with experimental techniques relevant to human metabolism including data collection for nutritional assessment of individuals, establishing the Glycaemic Index of particular foods and understanding the significance of this measurement, measurement of basal metabolic rate and body fat composition, biochemical assessment of plasma lipids/lipoproteins and analysis of the neural input that regulates intestinal motility; (13) display competence in the analysis of data by Excel for the assessment of endocrine axes; (14) demonstrate competence in scientific communication skills using both oral communication and written reports; (15) demonstrate self-directed learning; and (16) demonstrate effective participation in group work.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) final examination; (2) laboratory quizzes; and (3) laboratory group reports. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Christina Bojarski and Professor Shane Maloney
Unit rules
Successful completion of
PHYL2001 Physiology of Human Body Systems
or PHYL1001 Physiology - How Does the Human Body Work?
and 96 points in your chosen degree
Contact hours
lectures: 2 x 45 mins per week
labs: 4 x 2 hours 45 mins
tutorials: 4 x 1 hour 45 mins
  • 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.