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Physiology, Basic Concepts


Admission requirements

General knowledge of the English language, biology, mathematics, physics, and chemistry as required for students to be accepted for Biomedical Sciences.


Period: November 14 – December 23, 2016

The course Physiology, Basic Concepts, consists of two main themes.

Theme 1. Cardiovascular System (dr. Steendijk)

  • Anatomy of the heart and vessels

  • Cardiac electrophysiology and ECG

  • Molecular mechanisms

  • Excitation-contraction coupling

  • Cardiac muscle physiology and cardiac function

  • Gas exchange and transport

  • Cardio-pulmonary interaction

  • Cardio-vascular interaction

  • Neurohormonal control

  • Exercise and heart failure

Theme 2. Kidneys and Homeostasis (dr. Gaasbeek)

  • Anatomy of the kidneys

  • Renal clearance and blood flow

  • Regulation of glomular filtration rate and renal blood flow

  • Tubular transport systems and functions

  • Urine dilution an concentration

  • Acid-base regulation

  • Osmolality and volume regulation

Course objectives

After having followed this course, the student can:

  • describe and define the structure and functions of the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system and the kidneys;

  • relate the functions of these organs/organ-systems to the specific anatomical, mechanical and (with regard to the heart) electrical properties;

  • describe the role of these organ system in homeostasis of the organism

  • illustrate by clinical examples how several pathophysiologic conditions of these organs/organ-systems can be viewed from basic physiological principles.

Mode of instruction

Plenary lectures, interactive seminars, practicals, working groups, e-learning, rehearsal exams.

Assessment method

Two exams. Exam 1: Cardiovascular System (50%); Exam 2: Kidneys and Homeostasis (50%). Final course grade is the average of exam 1 and exam 2, but each individual exam should score at least grade 5.0.
Exam dates can be found on: Onderwijsroosters.

Reading list

  • Moore: Clinically oriented anatomy (7th edition, 2013)

  • Pawlina: Histology (7th edition, 2015)

  • Boron: Medical Physiology (2nd updated edition)

  • Levick: Cardiovascular Physiology (5th edition, 2009)

Information for exchange students

This module is part of an English taught semester of the bachelor’s programme in Biomedical Sciences at Leiden University Medical Center. Combining biomedical modules with modules from other programmes in Leiden is difficult or impossible due to different scheduling schemes. Exchange students* with sufficient relevant background knowledge in biology/biomedicine are therefore encouraged and advised to choose the entire module package indicated below (September – end of December 2016).

  • Immunology (BW), 9 EC

  • Infectious Agents And Immunity, 6 EC

  • Physiology, Basic Concepts, 8 EC

  • Communication in Science for Exchange students, 2 EC

  • Biomedical Academic Scientific Training for Exchange Students, 3 ECTS

  • Applied Electrophysiology for Exchange students, 2 ECTS

*, the modules are obligatory for students from the Karolinska Institute that attend the curricular exchange programme