Biophysics, Physiology and Metabolism

Module code: NS2015

Module co-ordinator: Dr Sarah Gretton

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
  • The structure, function and regulation of the circulatory system
  • The structure of skeletal muscle
  • The mechanism of muscle contraction
  • The nature and function of the three types of muscles fibre S, FO and FOG
  • Respiratory function
  • O2 transport
  • CO2 transport and regulation of blood pH
  • The laws of thermodynamics, and describe their importance in relation to metabolism
  • The 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
  • The 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
  • The effects of viscosity on fluid flow
  • Thermal energy transfer (convection, conduction and radiation)


  • 5 one-hour workshops + 4 two-hour workshops
  • 8 lectures (1-2 hours)
  • 4 two-hour tutorials


  • Exam (35%)
  • Continual Assessment (65%) - including 4 sets of core learning exercises, group website and website demonstration with Q&A