Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in BIOTECHNOLOGY
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)

The teaching does not require propaedeutics. However, the knowledge of the topics covered in the lectures on physics, cytology, histology, and general physiology is required.

The final exam will be conducted through an oral examination, during which knowledge and understanding of the physiological processes covered within the course will be tested.
Minimum requirement for passing the exam is knowledge of the main physiological parameters (heart rate, renal filtration parameters, duration of action potentials etc.) as well as the knowledge of the main physiological functions (function of the nephron, cardiac mechanical activity, distinction of the different areas of the central and peripheral nervous system, the notion of efferent and afferent pathways etc.), and the main proteins involved in physiological phenomena (receptors, channels, transporters, transduction pathways etc.).
The criteria, which will guide the evaluation of the test, will consider the ability to relate molecular and cellular aspects to the overall function of different organs or systems, the ability to know how to predict the physiological response to a particular event, the ability to frame the individual phenomenon within a general view. The ability to use correct scientific language, communicate the phenomena studied through graphs and figures showing the appropriate units of measurement will also be evaluated. Based on the assessment of the examination committee, the final grade will be expressed out of thirty.

Voto Finale

The course takes place during the third year and is part of the basic pathophysiology training of the Biotechnology graduate.
The course is designed to provide the basis to understand the functioning of living beings, with focus on the structure-function relation and the morphological, biochemical, and molecular aspects of physiological processes. Through analysis and comparison of systems and physiological responses, the course imparts critical analysis of functions in the complex organization of tissues, organs, and systems. The purpose of the course is to give the student an understanding of the main physiological aspects and to enable him/her to acquire the necessary information to connect cellular and molecular mechanisms to the functions at systemic and organism levels, in response to the internal and external environment. By the end of the course, the student will develop the ability to integrate knowledge at the multidisciplinary level in the field of physiology and acquire a good control of the correct scientific language that will enable him/her to properly disseminate information on biological and physiological topics in the medical/scientific field.

Introduction to the course. Nervous tissue: functions of cell populations. Neurons, Glia cells: astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells, microglia, blood-brain barrier: protective structure and exchange membrane. (2 hours)
Anatomical-functional organization of the nervous system. Organization of the cerebral cortex, subdivision into areas and their function. Central and peripheral nervous system. Ascending and descending routes. Reflexes. Learning and memory. Synaptic plasticity and learning. Mechanisms of long-term potentiation. (6 hours)
Motor functions of the basal ganglia. Cerebellum and motor control. (2 hours) 10
Neurovegetative system and effector organs. Functional significance of sympathetic and parasympathetic system activation. (2 hours)
Nervous control and regulation of food and liquid intake. Energy metabolism, mode of transfer, utilization and accumulation of energy. Methods of storage and use of nutrients. Gut-Brain axis. Glycemic homeostasis. (4 hours)16
Central control of homeostasis, Endocrine systems. Hypothalamic pituitary axis- Sex hormones and reproductive cycles. (4 hours) 20
sensory mechanisms. Sensory organs and cells. Stimulus intensity coding. Somatic sensitivity and thermoreceptors, touch and proprioception. Hearing and vestibular system, photoreceptors, visual pigments, vision. (8 hours)
Respiratory System. Description of the different structures of the airways and their function. Alveoli as the site of gas exchange and role of surfactant. Gas exchange. Oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Respiratory pigments. Non-respiratory functions of the airways (4 Hours)
Fundamentals of cardiac electrophysiology. Ion channels, cardiac action potential and excitation propagation. Electrocardiogram. Atrioventricular conduction disorders and channelopathies. Mechanical properties of the heart and cardiac pump regulation – Frank-Starling mechanism – Relationship between cardiac output and venous return. (6 hours)
The circulatory system and its function. Arterial, venous and lymphatic system, capillaries. Regulation of blood pressure, perfusion and blood volume. (2 hours)
Kidneys. The nephron and its function. Filtration and reabsorption mechanisms. The loop of Henle and counter-current multipliers. Balance of water and salts, osmoregulation and excretion. Acid-base balance. Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone system and blood pressure regulation. (6 hours)


The course activity includes frontal lectures, carried out with the support of power point presentations, supplemented by the projection of educational videos (for most cases in English). During the course, the activities are offered to support exam preparation involving active participation of students with an aim to test understanding of the topics covered.

The Professors are available for meetings with students for clarification of topics covered during class hours or by appointment via e-mail:;