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Physiology of Organisms

Course Organiser: Dr. Matthew Mason

RedwoodWelcome to the NST IA Physiology of Organisms website! Physiology of Organisms is one of three first-year biological subjects that can be taken by Natural Science students in the University of Cambridge. It looks at the physiology of a range of organisms, from humans to redwoods to bacteria. The bacteria are not visible in our picture to the right.

These pages are intended as a guide to the course, for students who are considering taking Physiology of Organisms. Those students who are already enrolled should please go to our Moodle website. The Moodle website can only be accessed if you have a Raven password: it contains more detailed course information, handouts and other resources for our students.

Physiology of Organisms is taught by the departments of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience (PDN), Plant Sciences and Zoology, so it is a comparative course including lectures on human, other animal, plant and microbial physiology. Physiology of Organisms occupies an important central position within Cambridge's biology courses: it provides a wider functional context for the material covered in Biology of Cells, and underpins the broader material covered in Evolution & Behaviour. It is a valuable introduction to a wide range of second-year biological options, including Animal Biology, Ecology, Neurobiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Plant & Microbial Sciences and, of course, Physiology, but it is of general interest to anyone curious about how the machinery underlying animal and plant life actually works.

Physiology is a broad and intellectually demanding subject. Part of the training of the physiologist is to learn to think about problems on a wider scale, considering the most recent advances in cell and molecular biology without losing sight of the whole organism. This challenging exercise will also train you to think about complex systems in general - useful, for example, in business management. Find out more about why you might choose this course by clicking on some of the links on the left.

The Physiology of Organisms course does not assume knowledge of A2-level biology or any other course, although some background in biology, chemistry and physics will be useful.

We very much hope that you will choose to read Physiology of Organisms, and that you will enjoy this year's lectures and classes. We believe that at the end of the year you will have found our course to have been not just interesting but very useful for your future career directions!