NBIK20006U Advanced Topics in Physiology

Volume 2020/2021

MSc Programme in Biology
MSc Programme in Biology with a minor subject


In the postgenomic era, there is a renewed focus on physiology, the discipline that studies functions and activities of living organisms. Today physiology bridges and combines genetics, biochemistry, biophysics and cell biology with organ and whole body function, the functions of which change with life events. By integrating several disciplines, physiology aims to understand and elucidate the molecular mechanism underpinnings basic functionality as well as disease development. Although some of the basic concepts in physiology are in place, there are still many unresolved problems and dilemmas, which are hot topics of current research. The aim of this course is to use existing knowledge of integrative physiology to reflect on current and seminal publications, develop testable hypotheses, and understand methodologies, data interpretations and limitations of these. In the course, we will cover topics particularly relevant to the research programs led by the course teachers. These will cover basic and unresolved processes in the tissue and organs of interest, such as pancreas, adipose tissue, gut, liver, skeletal muscle and cardiovascular system. The student will gain insight into novel inter-cellular and inter-organ signaling, such as purinergic signaling, control of metabolism and regulation of hormone secretion. We will cover physiology of real-life events and diseases, such as exercise, nutrient metabolism, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

Learning Outcome

The student will obtain up to date knowledge within “hot topics” in physiology that have application in health and pharmaceutical sector. The focus will be on reading, understanding, presenting and discussion of current physiological topics and literature. The student will learn to interpret a variety of data from literature or from handouts. Furthermore, the student will learn how to formulate a hypothesis, to explain relevant methodologies and to use the gained understanding to suggest solutions and experiments that can answer relevant research questions. Through presentations, discussions, and writing of short scientific texts (e.g. summary and interpretation of scientific literature), the student will learn to communicate the above gained understanding of scientific problems.

The student will gain up-to date knowledge within selected areas of physiology and understand scientific design and commonly used methods in physiology. The student will gain knowledge required for interpreting and evaluating new datasets and methods.     

The student will be able to understand, interpret and integrate the complexity of physiological problems related to normal and abnormal functions. The student will gain experience in hypothesis-driven experimental design that is applied to solve existing and relevant physiological problems.

Based on physiological discipline, the student will be able to understand, analyze and discuss complex and integrated systems and detailed driving mechanisms in health and disease.

See Absalon.

It is recommended that students have a comprehensive knowledge of physiology and cell biology corresponding to the Master level in Biology, Biochemistry or Molecular Biomedicine. It is advantageous if the student have had the course Cellular and Integrative Physiology.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
Morning lectures will be followed by class teaching in the afternoon. This will include discussions of the lectures, discussion of original literature, instruction and practice in formulation of hypotheses, discussion of methods and data analysis. Furthermore, instruction and learning of communication (oral and written) will be practiced. Current research topics and methodologies will be demonstrated in laboratory visits.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 25
  • Preparation
  • 155,5
  • Exercises
  • 25
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • Total
  • 206,0
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 minutes, no preparation
Exam registration requirements

Active participation in at least 80% of lectures and classes.

Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

The same as the ordinary exam.

If the exam requirements are not fulfilled, the student must take the course again next year.

Criteria for exam assesment

In order to obtain the grade 12 the student should convincingly and accurately demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competences described under Learning Outcome.