Cellular Physiology of the Cardiovascular System

Module code: BS3056

This module is concerned with physiological processes that occur at the cellular level in the cardiovascular system. We will consider how these processes lead to the regulation of the heartbeat and blood vessel function in health and in some disease states. Many cellular and molecular processes are common between the cardiovascular and nervous systems and the emphasis in this module will be on understanding the physiological mechanisms of regulating the cardiovascular system. Therefore this module will integrate well with either or both of the first semester courses BS3054 and BS3055.

Topics covered

  • Introduction to the cardiovascular system 
  • Cellular mechanisms leading to contraction of cardiac and smooth muscle
  • Control of heart rate and contractility
  • Regulation of vascular smooth muscle
  • Regulation of vascular smooth muscle
  • Role of platelets in haemostasis and thrombosis 


  • 22 hours of lectures
  • 3 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 4 hours of tutorials
  • 121 hours of guided independent study


  • Exam, 2.5 hours (70%)
  • Essay, 2,000 words (30%)