Biophysics, Physiology and Metabolism

Module code: NS1004

In this module you will research in depth the structure and function of some of the systems of the human body from biological, biochemical and physical perspectives.

Topics covered

  • Physical constraints on the physiology of humans
  • Human regulatory systems
  • Structure, function and regulation of the circulatory system
  • Structure of skeletal muscle
  • Mechanism of muscle contraction
  • Nature and function of the three types of muscle fibre: S, FO and FOG
  • Respiratory function
  • O2 transport
  • CO2 transport and regulation of blood pH
  • Laws of thermodynamics, and their importance in relation to metabolism
  • Significance of enzymes in cellular biology
  • How enzyme activity is affected by inhibitors, changes in pH and temperature
  • Exergonic and endergonic reaction, anabolism and catabolism
  • How nutrients other than glucose are metabolised to provide energy
  • Principle metabolic pathways and their control mechanisms
  • Centre of mass of any object
  • Conditions for static equilibrium
  • Angular displacement, angular velocity, angular acceleration and tangential velocity
  • Torque and moments of inertia
  • Kinetic energy in non-rotating and rotating objects
  • Properties of elastic materials
  • Tensile and compressive forces; stress and strain; shear stress and shear strain
  • Effects of viscosity on fluid flow
  • Thermal energy transfer (convection, conduction and radiation)


  • 10 hours of lectures
  • 14 hours of seminars
  • 8 hours of tutorials
  • 118 hours of guided independent study


  • Exam, 1.5 hours (40%)
  • Coursework (60%)