Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Organisation of the Body

UM LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION This study-unit gives an introduction to the basis of gross anatomy, histology, embryology, pathology, as well as imaging techniques. It examines the microstructure of tissues (histology) and the initial development of the human being from the time of gametogenesis to the end of blastogenesis. It also provides an introduction to general pathology, dealing with the nature and classification of disease and the general principles pertaining to cell injury and cell death, cell adaptations and acute and chronic inflammation and wound healing. There is an overview of pathology disciplines and the various diagnostic medical laboratory services they offer.

In addition to lectures, Critical Thinking Sessions will be organised. These are based on carefully selected clinical cases that are intended to stimulate the student to think and discuss critically the presented problems and to formulate basic scientific and clinical concepts.

The study-unit will also include Seminars wherein clinicians together with experts in various disciplines will discuss common clinical conditions and supplement the clinical information presented in the Critical Thinking Sessions.

The common features of these learning sessions is that they involve active participation, are student- centered and conducive to independent learning as a prelude to continuing life-long education.

Study-unit Aims:

1. To teach the terminology used in anatomy;
2. To outline the different components of the skin;
3. To distinguish the micro structure and functions of basic tissues of which the body is composed;
4. To provide a foundation for understanding the pathogenesis of disease and the role of pathology in the diagnosis and management of patients;
5. To describe the role between the different modalities of clinical imaging;
6. To explain how the initial stages of embryology are crucial in human development; and
7. To describe the principles of the function of the nervous system.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Describe the microscopic structure of tissues;
2. Outline the principles underlying cell and tissue damage;
3. Give an overview of the processes and outcome of acute and chronic inflammation;
4. Describe the early stages of human embryology;
5. Describe the different modes of imaging of the human body and;
6. Outline the functional principles of nervous function.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Outline on the living human body the planes and main landmarks of the body;
2. Identify the functionally relevant characteristics of different epithelia, glands, connective tissues and muscles;
3. List the causes of disease;
4. Describe the mechanisms of cell injury and cell death;
5. Distinguish between the structural abnormalities in reversible and irreversible cell Injury;
6. Distinguish between the different types of necrosis in terms of gross and microscopic morphology;
7. Define disorders of cell growth and cell adaptation and give examples in health and disease;
8. Recognise and interpret the classical signs of inflammation on the skin;
9. Recognise the main histological features of inflammation;
10. Explain the significance of mitosis and meiosis in human reproduction; and
11. Outline the embryological development during the first 4 weeks after fertilisation.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts for Anatomy

- Clinical Anatomy by Regions, Richard. S. Snell, 9th Edition. 2012, Lipincott. ISBN-13: 978-1451110326; ISBN-10: 1451110324.
- Clinical Anatomy by Systems, Richard. S. Snell, April 2006. ISBN-10: 0-7817-9164-2. ISBN-13: 978-0-7817-9164-9.
- Imaging Atlas of Human Anatomy, Spratt, Salkowski, Loukas 5th Edition, 2017. I ISBN-13: 978-0723438267; ISBN-10: 0723438269.
- Wheater's functional Histology. A text and colour atlas, by Young Lowe, Stevens, Heath and Deakin, 5th Edition, 2006. Churchill Livingstone. ISBN-13: 978-0-443-06850-8. ISBN-10: 0-443-06850-X.
- Langman's Medical Embryology by T.W. Sadler, 14th Edition Paperback, 2006. ISBN9781496383907.

Main Pathology Texts (choose one)

- Muir's Textbook of Pathology, Edited by DA Levison, R Reid, AD Burt, DJ Harrison, S Fleming, 14th Edition, ISBN 9780340740620.
- General and Systematic Pathology, by JCE Underwood, 4th Edition, Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 0443073341.
- Robbins Basic Pathology, by V Kumar, A K Abbas, N Fausto, R Mitchell, 8th Edition, Saunders. ISBN1416029737.

Supplementary Readings

- General and Systematic Pathology, P Bass, S Burroughs, N Carr, C Way, 3rd Ed, Master Medicine, 2009, Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 9780080451299.
- Pathology Illustrated, Robin Reid & Fiona Roberts, 6th Edition, 2005 Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 0443 073368.
- Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, V Kumar, A K Abbas, N Fausto, 7th Edition , Saunders. ISBN 0721601871.

Various Internet Resources are available for pathology:


STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study, Seminar and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Rodianne Abela
Ernest Azzopardi
Jean Calleja Agius
Christine Cannataci
Michelle Darmanin
Anthony Fenech
Alexander Gatt
Janet Mifsud
Richard Muscat
Nikolai Pace (Co-ord.)
David Pisani
Mario Valentino


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2022/3. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.