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PHSL343 Cellular and Epithelial Physiology

The cellular and molecular basis of the mechanisms and regulation of epithelial transport and the effect of representative diseases on these processes.

Epithelia form remarkable barrier structures that regulate the entry and exit of substances into and out of the body. Control of these transport processes needs to be exquisite to avoid severe pathophysiology. Lecture modules will be based around pressing physiological problems, such as: How does too little chloride secretion cause cystic fibrosis? How does too much sodium uptake cause high blood pressure? Understanding of the abnormalities at the cell and tissue level is an essential prelude to the development of effective treatments.

Paper title Cellular and Epithelial Physiology
Paper code PHSL343
Subject Physiology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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PHSL 233
Schedule C

One of five 300-level papers for Physiology majors.
Essential paper for Functional Human Biology majors.
Optional paper for Drugs and Human Health, Infection and Immunity, Molecular Basis of Health and Disease, and Nutrition and Metabolism in Human Health majors.


Teaching staff

Convener: Professor Fiona McDonald

Lecturers: Professor Fiona McDonald

Dr Andrew Bahn

Dr Megan Leask

Please note: Teaching staff maybe subject to change.

Paper Structure

The paper will be taught as several modules, each including both lecture and laboratory sessions. Lecture topics include:

  • Recent advances in our understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of absorption and secretion of fluid and electrolytes by epithelia
  • Protein trafficking in epithelial cells
  • Cell biology and physiology of diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Liddle's Syndrome, Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus, gout, inflammatory bowel disease and epithelial cancers.

In the laboratory course you will design, perform, interpret and present your own experiment in a guided process over the entire semester.

Assessment consists of internal assessment (including the presentation of a research poster and a written research proposal) and a 3-hour final exam. A mark of at least 45% in the final exam must be attained to pass the paper as a whole.

For further detail please refer to the undergraduate handbooks BSc PHSL or BBiomedSc FUHB, available to download.

Teaching Arrangements

You will attend two lectures each week and two 4-hour laboratory sessions every second week (alternating with PHSL 344).


Original research articles.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Acquire deep knowledge and understanding of the physiology of epithelial body systems in normal and dysfunctional situations
  • Develop skills in a variety of physiological techniques
  • Develop oral and written scientific communication skills

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 14:00-17:50 31, 33, 36, 38, 40
Wednesday 14:00-17:50 29, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 14:00-16:50 29