Pathophysiology of Disease

This module may only be taken by Medical Physiology students.

Module code: MB2080

Module co-ordinator: Dr Steve Ennion

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to provide students with a sound understanding of how physiological systems function in health and disease and to provide an appreciation of the significance of various disease states in terms of symptoms, prevalence, morbidity, mortality, risk factors and prevention strategies. Emphasis will be made on understanding the functional changes that accompany a particular syndrome or disease (pathophysiology) and on the physiological and biochemical basis of current and possible future therapies.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module, students should be able to:

  • Discuss the underlying physiological and biochemical mechanisms and disease-induced changes associated with a range of human conditions including cystic fibrosis, hepatitis, Cushing’s disease, hepatitis, Crohn's Disease, narcolepsy, polycythemia, osteoporosis and obesity
  • Outline the symptoms, prevalence, morbidity, mortality, and risk factors associated with the range of human disease states covered
  • Critically evaluate the use of laboratory data in the identification, aetiology and pathogenesis of selected diseases processes
  • Discuss the physiological and biochemical principles behind both current and potential future therapeutic strategies for the disease states covered
  • Make effective use of electronic sources of information, including the PUBMED and OMIM databases and disease specific websites, to find out detailed information about the physiology, aetiology and epidemiology of a particular disease
  • Use bibliographic and other software to produce a well structured formatted and referenced scientific report

Module Description

This module presents a compendium of disease states associated with core physiological systems that are applicable to human medicine. The module covers a range of topics including the gastrointestinal system (four lectures), disorders of the blood (three lectures), bone physiology and disease (three lectures), adrenal physiology and disease (three lectures), respiratory disease (four lectures), liver function and disease (three lectures), obesity (three lectures), reproduction and infertility (four lectures) and sleep disorders (two lectures). Each block of lectures will address the normal underlying physiology of the system before covering how malfunction can result in disease. Etiological and epidemiological perspectives of various disease states will also be covered, as will the physiology and biochemistry underlying current and possible future treatment strategies.

In addition to the lecture material, there will also be two structured tutorial sessions and a computer-based work session designed to equip students with the necessary skills to use various internet resources such as the OMIM database to obtain disease-specific information. Held in the second semester of the second year, this module will build on concepts introduced in first year (BS1006 – An Introduction to Physiology) and is complementary to modules BS2013 and BS2014 (Physiology and Pharmacology I and II).


Examination (three hours): 70%. Students will answer four essay style answers out of eight questions.

Continuous assessment: 30%, consisting of two 1500-word essays, one of which is due in the middle of the module and one at the end.

Recommended Books

Crowley, L.V. (2011). An Introduction to Human Disease: Pathology and Pathophysiology Correlations, (9th edition), published by Jones and Bartlett. ISBN 9781449665593. £39.99.

Prerequisite For

MB3057 - Understanding Disease: An Integrated Approach