Heart & Circulation: Normal Function Adv (PHSI3907)


The aim of this unit of study is to examine in depth the structure and function of the cardiovascular system at the organ system, cellular and molecular levels. There is a particular focus on exercise physiology and the way in which the heart, circulation and skeletal muscles contribute to the limits of sporting achievement. The excitability, contractility and energetics of the heart and blood vessels are studied and the regulation of these organs by local (physical and chemical) factors, hormones and the nervous system are discussed, with emphasis on cellular and molecular mechanisms. At the systemic level, short term (neural) mechanisms controlling the blood pressure and how the system behaves during exercise and other stresses is dealt with. Long term (hormonal) mechanisms regulating blood pressure via the renal control of extracellular fluid volume is also discussed. There is an emphasis in this unit of study on recent advances in cellular and molecular aspects of heart and the blood vessels and the regulation of these organs by local (physical and chemical) factors, hormones and the autonomic nervous system. Lectures will be complemented by practical classes and tutorials that reinforce the theory and emphasize experimental design, data interpretation and presentation. Details of mentored Advanced research projects are available on the Physiology website.

Further unit of study information


Two 1-hour lectures and one 3-hour practical or one 2-hour tutorial per week


One 2-hour exam, 2000-word report/essay based on a mentored research project, practical assignment (100%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

Except for BMedSc students: (PHSI2005 or PHSI2905) and (PHSI2006 or PHSI2906) plus at least 12 credit points of intermediate Science Units of Study with an average of 75. For BMedSc: 18 credit points of BMED with an average of at least 75 in (BMED2401 and BMED2403) or (BMED2801 and BMED2802 and BMED2803).

Assumed knowledge: 6 credit points of MBLG


PHSI3003, PHSI3007, PHSI3903

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.