Credit points



BIOL125 Human Biology 1


BIOL121 Human Biological Science 1 ,BIOL122 Human Biological Science 2 ,BIOL124 Human Body in Health and Disease 1 ,BIOL204 Human Body in Health and Disease 2 ,

Unit description and aim

To function successfully as a physiotherapist, it is essential that one has a thorough understanding of the principles of anatomy and physiology in the healthy individual. BIOL126 is the second of two foundation science units. In this unit the students' knowledge of structure and function of cells, tissues and organs will be extended to the understanding the normal function of the endocrine, integumentary, digestive, urinary, reproductive and immune systems across the lifespan. Students will be introduced to embryological development, maintenance of homeostasis, immunity, the body's response to pathogens, stress and injury, and exercise physiology. In addition, basic concepts of pathophysiology and principles of pharmacotherapy will be examined. The aim of this unit is to provide an introduction to the anatomy and physiology of selected systems and develop an understanding of the role of those systems in the maintenance of homeostasis.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Discuss the structure and function of the endocrine, integumentary, digestive, urinary, reproductive and immune systems across the lifespan (GA4; GA5; GA8); 

LO2 - Describe embryological development of the cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal and neurological systems (GA4; GA5; GA8); 

LO3 - Discuss homeostatic control mechanisms and the body’s response to stress/injury (GA4; GA5; GA8; GA9);  

LO4 - Describe the metabolic challenges of exercise (GA4; GA5; GA8); 

LO5 - Describe the principles of pharmacotherapy, including types and routes of administration, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (GA5; GA8). 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

Endocrine system 

  • Structure and function of the major glands of the endocrine system (including hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pancreas, ovaries, testes) 
  • Function, and control of release, of hormones from the major endocrine glands 
  • Changes in the endocrine system across the lifespan 

Integument system 

  • Structure and function of the skin and its accessory structures 
  • Changes in the integument system across the lifespan 

Digestive system 

  • Structure and function of the digestive system (including digestion, absorption, metabolism) and accessory organs (e.g. pancreas, liver, gall bladder) 
  • Changes in the digestive system across the lifespan 

Urinary system 

  • Structure and function of the urinary system (including glomerular filtration, tubular secretion and reabsorption, urine formation and the micturition reflex) 
  • Control of kidney function (e.g. role of hormones such as the RAAS system, ADH, aldosterone, PTH, vitamin D) 
  • Changes in the urinary system across the lifespan 

Reproductive system 

  • Structure and function of the male and female reproductive systems, and their hormonal regulation 
  • Physiological adaptations during pregnancy 

Lymphatic system and immunity 

  • Immunity (innate, adaptive) 
  • Self-recognition and self-tolerance 
  • Changes in immunity across the lifespan 



  • Introduction to major microbial agents (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites) 
  • Infection control 

Embryological development 

  • Development of embryo from three embryonic germs layers (gastrulation, neurulation, cranio-caudal and lateral folding) to fetus. 
  • Gross development of the nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, limbs and vertebral column 

Complex homeostatic control mechanisms 

  • Fluid balance between body compartments 
  • Hydrostatic and oncotic (colloid osmotic) pressure 
  • Changes in fluids, electrolytes and acid-base balance across the lifespan 

The body’s response to stress/injury 

  • Oedema 
  • Obesity  
  • Inflammation 
  • Healing (bone and skin) 
  • Changes in wound healing across the lifespan 

Metabolism and exercise physiology 

  • Introduction to energy transfer, ATP production and metabolic reactions 
  • Metabolism of carbohydrate, lipids and proteins 
  • Aerobic and anaerobic metabolism 
  • Adaptations during exercise 
  • Exercise nutrition 


  • Cellular responses and adaptations to physiological and adverse stimuli (e.g. Chemical, physical, nutritional, ischaemic, hypoxic, infectious) 


  • Drug sources (e.g. plants, animals, microorganisms) and dosage forms (e.g. tablets, patches, aerosols) 
  • Routes of drug administration (e.g. topical, sublingual, oral) 
  • Pharmacokinetics (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion) 
  • Pharmacodynamics 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active approach with on-campus lectures and workshop classes that are supported by online activities. Lectures allow teachers to convey necessary information so that students can acquire an overall understanding of human anatomy and physiology. Lectures will also provide opportunities for students to check their understanding and ask questions. Workshop classes will reinforce key concepts first introduced in lectures and offer an opportunity to engage with the material in a supported environment. In workshop classes students will work collaboratively and engage in activities such as computer simulations, case/scenario based studies, data collection and interpretation, synthesis and evaluation of class content. This unit further supports student learning by providing online material through LEO. This includes weekly formative feedback quizzes and relevant links to external material such as videos, additional learning activities and quizzes.   

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit students must obtain an aggregate mark of equal to or greater than 50% for the assessment tasks. The assessment strategy is designed to assist students to reach their learning objectives in a stepwise fashion, so they are encouraged to work consistently throughout the semester. No assessment is so heavily weighted as to preclude the possibility of passing if a student fails it, and a variety of tasks are provided to suit different learning styles.

Written assessment – poster. This task requires students to produce a piece of academic writing, exhibiting their developing critical thinking skills. They will need to integrate information from various topics covered. 

Written assessment – case study worksheet. This task requires students to address short answer questions in relation to specific clients. Students will need to demonstrate a thorough understanding of physiological principles, and also integrate their understanding of the function of different organ systems. assesses all learning outcomes. 

The two written assessments are take-home assessments. These provide students who tend to under-perform in exam conditions a chance to improve their overall performance. In addition, more complex topics can be addressed as students have several weeks to investigate the topics being questioned. 

Online examination. Having been provided with feedback from the earlier assessments, students are now able to address misunderstandings and conceptual difficulties identified from these earlier tasks and show that they have now met these learning outcomes.    

Formative assessments are also provided throughout the semester. This is in the form of ‘topic feedback quizzes’, these are online quizzes that demonstrate questions from past exam papers. Opportunities to practice short answer questions are incorporated into lectures so that students gain insight into staff expectations of answers to these kinds of questions.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written assessment - Poster

Poster requiring students to use critical thinking skills to demonstrate their knowledge of the anatomical and physiological workings of the human body and apply them to selected conditions 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Written assessment – Case study 

Requires students to demonstrate their integrated knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and pathophysiology of the human body 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8 

Online examination 

Requires students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of human anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8 

Representative texts and references

Martini, F., Nath, J.L., & Bartholomew, E.F. (2018). Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology (11th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.   

Bryant, B., & Knights, K. (2015). Pharmacology for health professionals (4th ed.). Chatswood, Australia: Elsevier.  

Bullock, S. & Manias, E. (2017). Fundamentals of pharmacology (8th ed.). Melbourne, VIC: Pearson.  

Hall, J. (2016) Guyton and Hall textbook of medical physiology (13th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier. 

Lee, G. &Bishop, P. (2016) Microbiology and infection control for health professionals (6th ed.). Melbourne, VIC: Pearson.  

Marieb, E. & Keller, S.M. (2018). Essentials of human anatomy and physiology (12th global ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.  

McArdle, W.D., Katch, F.I. & Katch, V.L. (2015) Exercise physiology: Energy, nutrition and human performance (8th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 

Saladin, K.S., Gan, C.A. & Cushman, H.N. (2018). Anatomy & physiology: The unity of form and function (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.  

Sherwood, L. (2016). Human physiology from cells to systems (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.  

Stanfield, C.L. (2017) Principles of human physiology (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson  

Tortora, G.T., Derrickson, B.H., Burkett, B., Peoples, G., Dye, D., Cooke, J., Diversi, T., McKean, M., Samalia, L., & Mellifont, R. (2019). Principles of anatomy and physiology (2nd Asia-Pacific ed.) John Wiley & Sons, Milton, Qld, Australia.  

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