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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience


MedST & VetST 1A Homeostasis is the core physiology course for first-year medical and veterinary students. Course information is provided on the course Moodle website. If you cannot see it, it may be that you are not enrolled as a supervisor: please contact Mel Quy ( and ask her to put you on the list and give you access.

The HOM Moodle site is designed for those students enrolled on the course, plus supervisors. This website includes a Moodle 'book' for HOM supervisors, which gives advice and guidance about supervising in general, as well as hints and tips specific to Homeostasis. The Moodle website also describes the lectures and lecturers in this course, which are subject to change every year, and holds all the course material. Please note that the "Information for Supervisors" section should be visible on the main HOM title page, but it is not visible to students. If you cannot see it, it may be that you are not enrolled as a supervisor: please contact Mel Quy ( and ask her to put you on the list and give you access.

Homeostasis supervisors are expected to cover the experimental physiology practical classes which the students take as part of this course; there is a practical paper set as part of the June exam. If you wish to attend a practical class to get a better feel for what it is all about, please contact Dr Matt Mason (

There is a histology paper set as part of the end-of-year Homeostasis exam. The Histology course is considered separate to the Homeostasis course, however, and is not routinely supervised. Click here for more about Histology supervising.

Please have a look at the supervising physiology in Cambridge page, which contains some general tips for new supervisors teaching this course.


Important - the 2020-21 online course

The overall Course Organiser is Prof. Dino Giussani (dag26); the online course structure is being planned by Dr Matt Mason (mjm68).

As you will be aware, our course over the 2020-21 academic year, like all the
others, is going to be run primarily online.

In order to make it clearer to the students what they need to do each week, we have created an online course structure using Moodle "Books". All the lecture, practical and histology material is within the "Course Material" section of that site. The idea is that all work (lectures, practicals and histology) is presented within these Moodle books, in roughly weekly modules. The students can see how long each exercise should take and should work through each book before the completion date for that module. Please click on a "Moodle book" to see how this will look. The video lectures are being added to them as I write, so some sections remain incomplete but will of course be finished in good time for the course.

We found in the Easter term that students were not watching lectures or doing practicals within the designated slots, so we thought that having weekly completion targets within which they could be more flexible was the most sensible way forwards. It also allows us to place the practical material closer to the cognate lectures, to create a more logical course structure. All lectures will be pre-recorded, but there will be 'live' Q&A sessions (probably by Zoom) at the end of each block.

As supervisors, you should be aware that the course material has not changed, but the practicals are presented in a different order to last year. We have moved most of the practicals to the Michaelmas term - it should not take anywhere near as long to do them online. This frees up time in the Lent term for the live classes we are planning, which won't introduce anything new but will allow the students to try out some of the techniques (ECG, sphygmomanometry etc) on themselves.

We recognise that the changed course structure will necessitate changes to your supervisions, and we apologise for any extra work this will cause you.

We strongly recommend that you consider the completion date for each module
(generally a Wednesday), and supervise on that module after that completion
date, at which point the students should have gone through all that

I would be very happy to answer any questions you have on this new structure. Next year is going to be challenging for all of us, including the students: we're very much hoping that what we have done here will make things a bit more straightforward for our new arrivals.


Dr Matt Mason

Department of PDN, September 2020