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PY 3803

Course Co-ordinator: Dr G McEwan

Pre-requisite(s): BI 20B2, BI 25B2

Epithelial transport is essential for the maintenance and propagation of life. In this course you will explore the features of transporting epithelial cells which make them uniquely suited for mediating the controlled, directional passage of ions, nutrients and water across the walls of the alimentary, renal, respiratory and reproductive systems. The importance of these processes to the normal physiological function of these organ systems is reflected by the pathophysiological symptoms which manifest themselves when transport regulation breaks down. For example, infectious diarrhoea occurs as a result of excessive intestinal fluid secretion and accounts for more than five million child deaths per year in developing countries. At the other extreme, the most common genetic disease of the developed world, cystic fibrosis, is caused by a failure of epithelial tissues to secrete any fluid at all resulting in malnutrition, infertility and ultimately, respiratory failure and death. The course will initially examine the common features of transporting epithelial cells and the technologies available for their study. Following on from this, the role of epithelial cells in the kidney, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive tract and respiratory system will be examined in detail. Emphasis is placed on understanding the cellular transport mechanisms required for the normal physiological function of these systems in health. Where insight into these processes has been enhanced by the study of disease models, these will be highlighted.

3 one hour lectures per week and 1 all day practical every week.

1st Attempt: 1 one and a half hour essay examination (70%) and in-course assessment (30%).
Continuous assessment comprises: 1 laboratory report, 1 oral presentation of a research paper.

Resit: 1 one and a half hour essay examination (70%) and previous continuous assessment (30%).