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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience


NST 1B Physiology is an advanced animal physiology course for second-year natural scientists. Course information is provided on the course Moodle website. If you cannot access this, 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 NST IB Physiology course website is an open-access course guide, designed to inform 1A students about what we teach in 1B.

Please have a look at the supervising physiology in Cambridge page, which contains some general tips for new supervisors teaching this course. New for this year, we have also produced a Moodle 'book' for Physiology supervisors, on the 1B Physiology Moodle site, which gives advice and guidance about supervising in general, as well as hints and tips specific to this course.

In 'normal' years, we now run fortnightly "extension sessions", which will be optional for students and not directly assessed in the exam. Every two weeks, on a Thursday lunchtime, we will hold activities such as seminars to discuss how to address particular essay titles, guest lectures from external lecturers, trips to research laboratories or question-and-answer sessions relating to careers in physiological research or postgraduate medicine. In the weeks in-between, we will again hold "office hours", whereby a designated lecturer on the course will be waiting in his/her office for any students to come and ask questions, which could be about any aspect of the course. These extension sessions are being organised by Dr Andrew Murray (, so if you have any suggestions or comments, please contact him. ***Please note that we are not yet sure whether we can run anything similar to this in the 2020-1 academic year when so much will be online ***


Important - the 2020-21 online course

The course organiser is Dr. Andrew Murray (

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 and histology 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 it is presented in a different order to last year. It is not yet decided whether we will run any live classes, for example in the Lent term.

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 material.

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 (course structure designer)

Department of PDN, August 2020