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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience


NST 1B Physiology is arguably the core option for second year bionatscis: falling between the cellular and the whole-organism levels, physiology occupies a central position within the biological sciences.

 Apart from being a fascinating subject in its own right, 1B Physiology is an excellent partner to almost any other biological course, be it molecular, para-medical or whole animal. In this document, we will describe our physiology course and spell out the main reasons why you should consider taking it.

But isn’t 1B Physiology just the same as 1A PoO?

No, not at all.

 Although the 1B course retains the flavour of the PDN-based PoO lectures you had in Michaelmas and early Lent terms, much of the 1B course relates to topics that are not touched on in PoO, including reproductive physiology, exercise physiology and physiology in extreme environments.

 When we do look at familiar organ systems, we carry on where PoO left off, generally looking at different aspects of physiological function. Most students find the in-depth 1B treatment, focusing entirely on animal (mainly human) physiology and with a perspective which is often more medical than comparative, to be much more interesting and rewarding than the necessarily superficial overview presented in 1A.

Leave out the Physiological sciences from your curriculum, and you launch the student into the world, undisciplined in that science whose subject-matter would best develop his powers of observation; ignorant of facts of the deepest importance for his own and others’ welfare; blind to the richest sources of beauty in God’s creation; and unprovided with that belief in a living law, and an order manifesting itself in and through endless change and variety, which might serve to check and moderate that phase of despair through which, if he take an earnest interest in social problems, he will assuredly sooner or later pass....Thomas Henry Huxley, 1854.