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BIOL123 Cells and Tissues - the Fabric of Life


BIOL121 Human Biological Science 1 , BIOL122 Human Biological Science 2 , BIOL125 Human Biology 1 , BIOL126 Human Biology 2

Unit rationale, description and aim

The ability to be able to identify, describe and understand normal human body system processes and compare to pathophysiology of diseases is essential in study of biomedical sciences. These knowledges and skills in healthy and diseased human body systems enable students to be able to further research and design new methods in therapeutics, diagnosis, detection methods, research, information and support materials for current and future generations. This core unit extends students' understanding of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology in six body systems and prepares them to translate biomedical science into health and clinical applications. An overview of the integumentary and immune systems will lead to detailed study of digestive, renal, endocrine and reproductive systems in normal and diseased state and across the lifespan. The clinical features, current and future treatment prospects of selected major diseases in these systems will be explored. Evaluation of current scientific research and epidemiological trends will be used to engender inquiry skills. The aim of this unit is to provide students with an ability to identify, describe and understand normal body systems and the pathophysiology of major diseases within these body systems.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

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

LO1 - relate the gross and micro-anatomical structure and physiological function of the body systems; (GA4, GA5) 

LO2 - discuss a selection of diseases affecting the discussed systems using the pathophysiological framework in the context of the National Health Priority areas where relevant; (GA4, GA5, GA8); 

LO3 - explain the importance of nutrition and metabolism to healthy body function and the consequences of under and over nutrition; (GA4, GA5); 

LO4 - demonstrate skills in team work, oral and written communication and evaluation of biomedical research and applications; (GA7, GA8, GA9) 

LO5 - apply the concept of homeostasis to physiological processes at the cellular, tissue, systemic and organismic levels and demonstrate an understanding of chronological changes in structure and function of the selected body systems (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

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


Topics will include:  

  •  Integumentary system 
  • Structure and function of the skin and accessory structures 
  • Burn injury 
  • Local and systemic responses 
  • Principles of management 
  • Life span considerations 


  • Immune system 
  • Structure and function of the lymphatic system 
  • Immune disorders 
  • Immune deficiency 
  • Hypersensitivity 
  • Autoimmune disorders 
  • Life span considerations 


  • Gastrointestinal system 
  • Structure and function 
  • Chemical digestion 
  • Absorption 
  • Metabolism 
  • Alterations in gastrointestinal function 
  • Alcoholic liver disease 
  • Colon cancer 
  • Lifespan considerations 


  • Renal system 
  • Structure and function of the urinary system 
  • Nephron and urine formation 
  • Renal regulation and integration 
  • Fluid homeostasis and electrolytes 
  • Renal disorders 
  • Nephritis and nephrosis 
  • Acute tubular necrosis 
  • Acute and chronic renal failure 
  • Incontinence and lifespan considerations 


Endocrine system 

  • Structure and function of major endocrine glands 
  • Hormone action 
  • Endocrine disorders 
  • Diabetes mellitus 
  • Alterations in endocrine function 
  • Lifespan considerations 


  • Reproductive system 
  • Structure and function in males and females 
  • Hormonal regulation 
  • Conception 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Maternal adaptations 
  • Parturition 
  • Reproductive disorders 
  • Infertility 
  • Family planning and assisted reproductive technology 
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer 
  • Breast cancer and cervical cancer 
  • Sexually transmitted diseases 
  • Lifespan considerations 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include flipped and active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, web-based learning and critical thinking activities, delivered during the semester, via lectures and tutorials. All these activities will empower students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. Lectures provide the course content whereas practicals and tutorials provide the opportunity for students to apply and extend learning of the content from lectures through individual and group activities, critical thinking and case-based learning methods to examples relevant in life. Learning and teaching strategies demonstrate respect for individual as both an independent and collaborative learner. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order for students to best demonstrate achievements in attaining unit learning outcomes and appropriate development of desired graduate attributes, a range of assessment strategies which are consistent with University assessment requirements are used. Such assessments include: ongoing reflection and revision through quizzes, a collaborative workshop task and final examination. 


Quizzes will provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate requisite knowledge. These tasks will be delivered online and provide early feedback so that students can address conceptual misunderstandings.


The workshop assessment offers students an opportunity to display their growing understanding. Students will work in small groups , read and analyse a journal article and write a critical review. This assessment task provides an opportunity for students who tend to under-perform in exam conditions to shine. In addition, more complex questions can be raised, as students have several weeks to think about and read around the articles/topics being questioned and perform a critical analysis as a group. 


The final exam assesses material from all content areas. Having been provided with feedback from the earlier quizzes and group assignment, students are now able to address misunderstandings and conceptual difficulties identified from these earlier tasks, and show that they have now met these learning objectives. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Online quizzes 

Quiz A

Quiz B

Summative assessment to encourage students to revise the learning material and demonstrate understanding of course content.




GA4, GA5 

Group assessment 

Students will collaborate and communicate with each other during the semester in order to develop capacity to interpret, translate, apply, critique, evaluate and conduct inquiry into the course content. 



GA4, GA5, GA7,GA9 


Final examination 

Students will demonstrate their understanding of the required knowledge, skills and dispositions in the human body, health and disease.



GA 4, GA5, GA8,GA9 

Representative texts and references

1.Bullock S and Hales M. Principles of pathophysiology (2nd edition); Melbourne: Pearson Australia; 2019. Available from:

2.Copstead L-E C, Banasik JL. Pathophysiology (5th edition); Elsevier Saunders.2014. Available from:

3.Hall JE. Guyton and Hall textbook of medical physiology (13th edition); Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders; 2015. Available from:

4.Huether SE, McCance KL. Understanding pathophysiology (3rd edition); Mosby; 2018. Available from

5.Kumar V, Abbas A, Aster J. Robbins and Cotran pathologic basis of disease (9th edition); Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders; 2014. Available from:

6.Martini FH, Nath JL, Bartholomew EF. Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology (11th Edition); Pearson Australia; 2018. Available from

7.Tortora GJ, Derrickson B, Burkett B, Peoples G, Dye D, Cooke J, Diversi T, McKean M, Samalia L, Mellifont, R. Principles of Anatomy & Physiology (2nd Asia-Pacific edition); Milton QLD: Wiley; 2019. Available from

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