Gut and Nutrient Metabolism (BMED2405)


This unit of study examines in detail the anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract, from the oral cavity to anal canal, and includes the liver, gallbladder and pancreas. This is complemented by description of the specialised cells in the gastrointestinal tract. This is followed by discussion of the transport mechanisms employed to absorb nutrients, and consideration of control systems used to regulate activity of the digestive process. The role of intestinal microflora in the gastrointestinal tract, contributing to both beneficial digestion and absorption of nutrients, as well as to pathogenic disruption, is also discussed. The pharmacokinetic perspective is explored with discussion of the metabolism and absorption of drugs including detoxification and excretion of xenobiotic compounds. The fate of the macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat and protein) is then considered in terms of their uptake, disposal and reassembly into storage fuels and cellular structures. The biochemical pathways involved in the extraction of energy from the macronutrient fuels are then covered. Examples of these metabolic processes are provided by considering fuel selection during starvation and in diabetes. Practical classes give students extensive experience with inspection of the gastrointestinal system at both the cellular and gross anatomical levels, and in theassay of biochemicals such as glucose. These sessions are designed to nurture observation, data analysis, record keeping and report writing skills.

Further unit of study information


2 lec, 1 tut & 1 prac/wk


One 2hr theory exam (60%), two in-semester assessments (40%)


Human Physiology: An integrated approach Silverthorn D Pearson/Benjamin Cummings, 6th Edition, 2013; Prescott's Microbiology Willey JM, Sherwood LM and Woolverton CJ McGraw-Hill, 9th Edition, 2014; The Anatomy Coloring Book Kapit W and Elson LM Benjamin Cummings, 3rd Edition, 2002; Histology: A text and Atlas Ross MH and Pawlina W Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 6th Edition, 2010; Medical Pharmacology at a Glance Neal MJ Blackwell Science, 7th Edition, 2012; Textbook of Biochemistry with Clinical Correlations Devlin TM John Wiley and Sons Inc., 7th Edition, 2011

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

42 credit points of Junior Bachelor of Medical Science units of study


Any one of (BMED2804, BIOL2006, BIOL2016, BIOL2906, BIOL2916, IMMU2101, ANAT2008, ANAT2010, PCOL2011, PHSI2005, PHSI2006, PHSI2905, PHSI2906, BCHM2072, BCHM2972, MICR2021, MICR2022, MICR2921, MICR2922, NUTR2911, NUTR2912)

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.