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Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education

Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience Course Descriptions

  • MED 34601 / 44700
Systemic Functions I-II (Step 4)
Spring, 3rd Year/3 credits / Fall, 4th Year/5 credits
16 hours per week (64 hours spring semester / 95 hours fall semester)
Prerequisite: MED 20400, MED 30500 and MED 33602
Duration: 4 weeks spring and 7 weeks fall (includes one week preparation for the National Board of Medical Examiners - Physiology Examination)
Course Director: Christopher Chan, Ph.D.
This medical school physiology course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the physiological principles needed for the practice of clinical medicine.  It covers a range of topics from cellular physiology to the integrated physiology of organ systems.  Students are expected to apply their knowledge of anatomy and biochemistry in studying these areas.  The course comprises broad and in-depth coverage of membrane physiology, muscle physiology, physiology of the autonomic nervous system and the cardiovascular system as well as renal, respiratory, gastrointestinal and endocrine systems.  Instructional activities include lectures, clinical case analyses, student-centered problem-based learning sessions, laboratories, computer based exercises and reviews launched from cases.


  • MED 45701
Medical Pharmacology (Step 5)
Fall, 4th Year/7.5 credits
16 hours per week (134 hours per semester)
Prerequisite: MED 44700
Duration: 8.4 weeks
Course Director: Khosrow Kashfi, Ph.D.
This step is designed to introduce medical students to the rational basis of drug use. It emphasizes the fundamentals of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination. Students will learn the relation between drugs and receptors, adverse drug reactions and drug use in special populations. The step will focus on the mechanism by which drugs elicit their clinical effects and the evaluation and treatment of drug toxicity. The course includes units devoted to the study of drugs affecting the autonomic nervous and cardiovascular system, diuretics, drugs influencing the endocrine system, chemotherapeutic drugs and agents used in the treatment of inflammation. Instructional activities include lectures, clinical case presentation, student-led discussions of clinical cases and reviews.


  • MED 46800
Neuroscience (Step 6)
Spring, 4th Year, 5 credits
20 hours per week (103 hours per semester)
Prerequisite: MED 20400
Duration: 5.2 weeks (includes one week preparation for the National Board of Medical
Examiners - Neuroscience Examination)
Course Director: John Martin, Ph.D.
This course is designed to introduce students to basic principles of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. The fundamentals of structure and function of the brain and spinal cord at both the microscopic and gross levels of organization are examined. Particular emphasis is placed on questions of clinical relevance. Students are encouraged to relate their understanding of the neuroanatomical and physiological principles to solving clinical issues.
Sessions include lectures, clinical correlates and laboratories.


  • MED 47802
Behavioral Medicine (Step 7)
Spring, 4th Year/4 credits
20 hours per week (64 hours per semester)
Duration: 3.2 weeks
Course Director: Joao V. Nunes, M.D.
Behavioral Medicine is a principle-driven/learner-centered /small-group-and-case based academic module that promotes acquisition and integration of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that permit students to:
1. Use behavioral science concepts and strategies to integrate patient-centered, disease-based, population-based, and evidence-based medicine into primary care medicine.
2. Communicate effectively and efficiently within the doctor-patient relationship, and with professionals and the public.

3. Promote lifestyle changes in the service of health promotion and disease prevention.

In Behavioral Medicine students learn to recognize, appraise, and contrast normal and abnormal behavior through the study of pathophysiology and psychopathology so as to comfortably negotiate the various aspects of human behavior in health and illness. Students learn that the essence of being human lies in the interrelationships among biology, behavior, cognition, environment, society, and culture, and master the essential aspects of growth and development along the life cycle. Students learn the foundation of medical assessment, which is the evaluation of behavior-manifested as symptoms and signs, their origins and consequences-along a time axis. In Behavioral Medicine students learn the emotional aspects of illness, human coping behavioral patterns, and personality and behavioral styles and their role in health and illness. Through graduated immersion in Behavioral Medicine students hone their interpersonal and communication skills, develop cross-cultural competence, flexibility, and tolerance in medical practice. Students participate in interactive lectures, large and small group learning formats, PBL's, small-group tutored and tutorless seminars, videotape-based sessions, case based small group sessions, and case conferences, review the pertinent literature, integrate new and previously studied relevant material, and participate in experiential projects, all intended for application in clinical medicine.

  • MED 59901
Neuro-Psychiatry (Step 9)
Fall, 5th Year/3 credits
16 hours per week (64 hours per semester)
Duration: 4 weeks
Co-Course Directors: Joao V. Nunes, M.D., Maria Felice Ghilardi, M.D.
Neuro-Psychiatry combines aspects of behavioral science, psychiatry, psychopharmacology, and clinical neuroscience.
The Neuro-Psychiatry module (Step 9) constitutes an integrated learning module administered by the Departments of Behavioral Medicine and Physiology and Pharmacology. Neuropsychiatry integrates important material gleaned from behavioral science, neuroscience, physiology, general pharmacology, psychopharmacology, neuropharmacology, psychopathology, pathophysiology, clinical epidemiology, and aims to guide students in acquiring the basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes regarding prevalent psychiatric and neurological disorders. The disorders will be thoroughly covered with regard to phenomenology, diagnosis, pathophysiology, and therapeutics.


  • PA32202
4 credits/60 lecture hours per semester and 30 laboratory problem-based learning (PBL) hours (6 hrs/wk per semester)
Course Director: Khosrow Kashfi, Ph.D.
Introduction of the general principle of drug actions and characteristics of classes of drugs currently used in primary care practice; drug safety and efficiency; duration of action; potential side effects or adverse reactions; drug interactions; prescription writing; and legal considerations.