University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Organisation of the Body

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION This Study Unit examines the microstructure of tissues 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 as well as an introduction to the social and ethical aspects of embryo manipulation and stem cells.

In addition to lectures, students will be exposed to practical hands-on physiology and anatomy demonstrations in the physiology, clinical anatomy, dissection, histology, imaging, pathology and computer laboratories. During these sessions students are stimulated to perform specified tasks and guided as to what is expected of them through worksheets. Observation visits to a variety of clinical and/or laboratory sites will be offered as appropriate. Students will also be required to participate in regular online (Moodle) case-based group discussions followed by in-depth analysis of the underlying scientific basis of common clinical conditions through facilitated Critical Thinking Sessions. 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 as well as ethical, behavioural and professional principles.

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 distinguish the micro structure and functions of basic tissues of which the body is composed
2. To provide a foundation for understanding the pathogenesis of disease and the role of pathology in the diagnosis and management of patients
3. To explain how the initial stages of embryology are crucial in human development finding applications in the control of fertility, assisted reproduction and the formation of embryonic stem cells
4. To describe the the principles of nervous function.
5. To discuss the ethical implications of laboratory manipulation of embryonic cells

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 and their clinical applications
5. Outline the functional principles of nervous function.

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

1. Identify the functionally relevant characteristics of different epithelia, glands, connective tissues and muscles
2. Outline on the living human body the planes and main landmarks of the body
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
11. Name the features of the different stages of oogenesis and spermatogenesis and explain the mechanisms for their stimulation and for contraception
12. Name the molecular events occurring during fertilization and the principles of assisted conception
13. Discuss the ethical implications of laboratory manipulation of embryonic cells
14. Name the stages of human development in the first two weeks of life including implantation and the formation of the embryonic cavities
15. Identify on ultrasound images the main identifiable features of the conceptus in early pregnancy

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Main Texts for Anatomy

Clinical Anatomy by Regions, Richard. S. Snell, 8th Edition
January 2007, Lipincott
ISBN-10: 0-7817-6404-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-7817-6404-9

Imaging Atlas of Human Anatomy, Weir, Jamie and Abrahams, Peter, 3rd Edition, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0-7234-3211-1; ISBN-10: 0-7234-3211-2

Young Lowe, Stevens, Heath and Deakin
Wheater's functional Histology. A text and colour atlas. 5th Edition, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0-443-06850-8 ISBN-10: 0-443-06850-X. Imprint: CHURCHILL LIVINGSTONE

T.W. Sadler
Langman's Medical Embryology Edition: 10th Paperback, 2006
ISBN-10: 0781794854 ; ISBN-13: 97807817948555

Main Pathology Texts - choose one

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

Additional Resources:
- General and Systematic Pathology, P Bass, S Burroughs, N Carr, C Way, 3rd Ed, Master Medicine, ISBN 9780080451299, Churchill Livingstone, 2009
- Pathology Illustrated, Robin Reid & Fiona Roberts, 6th Ed, ISBN 0 443 073368, Churchill Livingstone, 2005

Reference Texts:

Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, V Kumar, A K Abbas, N Fausto, 7th Edition ISBN 0721601871, Saunders

Various Internet Resources are available for pathology: See

Main Ethics Text

Practical Guide to Medical Ethics and Law, 2nd edition, C. Baxter, M.G. Brennan, Y. Colicott, M. Moller, ISBN: 1 904627 31 S

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Ind Study, Practicum, Seminar & Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Practical Yes 20%
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Rodianne Abela
Tiffany Buhagiar
Jean Calleja Agius
James Degaetano
Anthony Fenech
Alex Gatt
Janet Mifsud
Richard Muscat
Nikolai Pace (Co-ord.)
David Pisani
Pierre Schembri Wismayer
Mario Valentino
Neville Vassallo

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 study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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