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Thursday, November 15, 2007


The M.Sc. (Physiology) program has the following broad and intermediate objectives:
Broad Objectives
The candidate qualifying for the award of M.Sc. (Physiology) should be able to:
1. demonstrate comprehensive understanding of physiology as well as that of the applied disciplines;
2. demonstrate adequate knowledge of the current developments in medical sciences as related to
3. teach undergraduates and postgraduates in physiology;
4. plan and conduct research;
5. plan educational programs in physiology utilizing modern methods of teaching and evaluation; and
6. organize and equip physiology laboratories.
Intermediate Objectives
The candidate qualifying for the award of M.Sc. (Physiology) should be able to:
1. demonstrate comprehensive understanding of the structure, function and development of the human
body as related to physiology,
2. demonstrate elementary understanding of the clinical applications of physiology,
3. critically evaluate the impact of the recent information on the genesis of current concepts related to
various topics of physiology;
4. recapitulate the information imparted to the undergraduate students in physiology;
5. perform and critically evaluate the practical exercises done by undergraduate students;
6. identify a research problem which could be basic, fundamental or applied in nature; define the
objectives of the problem and give a fair assessment as to what is expected to be achieved at the
completion of the project; design and carry out technical procedures required for the study; record
accurately and systematically the observations and analyze them objectively; effectively use statistical
Course and Curriculum of Physiology 19
methods for analyzing the data; interpret the observations in the light of existing knowledge and
highlight in what way his observations have advanced scientific knowledge; write a scientific paper
on the lines accepted by standard scientific journals;
7. design, fabricate and use indigenous gadgets for experimental purposes;
8. demonstrate familiarity with the principles of medical education including definitions of objectives,
curriculum construction, merits and merits of various tools used in the teaching-learning process;
use of learning aids and learning settings, and methods of evaluation;
9. share learning experiences with the undergraduate and postgraduate students using appropriate
pedagogical skills and methods;
10. draw out meaningful curricula for teaching medical and paramedical courses; give lucid, interactive
lectures, presenting the information in a logical, simple and comprehensive manner; generate interest
and curiosity amongst the students during lectures; give practical demonstrations;
11. organize the laboratories for various practical exercises, substitute and fabricate some of the simpler
equipment for teaching purposes; and
12. handle and order for stores, draw up lists of equipment required to equip physiology laboratories
To achieve the above objectives in three years, we have the following structured programme.
Semester 1
1. Orientation to the department
2. Choosing the subject of thesis and guide
3. Writing the protocol
4. Recapitulation of undergraduate physiology through attending UG lectures
Semester 2
1. Physiology: theory & practical
2. Thesis work
3. Recapitulation of undergraduate physiology through attending UG lectures
Semester 3
1. Physiology: theory & practical
2. Thesis work
Semester 4
1. Physiology: theory & practical
2. Submission of thesis
Physiology: theory & practical
The theory and practical syllabus is completed in four semesters. The department conducts the
semester-wise programme in a cyclic fashion so that no matter at what point a student joins the programme,
20 Syllabus M Sc / M Biotech — AIIMS
he completes the course in two years. The semester-wise programme is as follows:
I. (a) General & Cellular Physiology
(b) Hematology
(c) Renal Physiology & Fluid Balanace
II. (a) Cardio-vascular Physiology
(b) Respiration
(c) Environmental Physiology
III. (a) Nerve & Muscle Physiology
(b) General, Sensory & Motor Physiology
(c) Special Senses
(d) Limbic System and Higher Nervous System
IV. (a) Nutrition & Metabolism
(b) Gastro-intestinal System
(c) Endocrines & Reproduction
Themes and topics
Semester I
(a) General & Cellular Physiology
• Cell as the living unit of the body
• The internal environment
• Homeostasis
• Control systems
• Organization of a cell
• Physical structure of a cell
• Transport across cell membranes
• Functional systems in the cells
• Genetic code, its expression, and regulation of gene expression
• Cell cycle and its regulation
(b) Hematology
• Erthocytes
– erythropoiesis
– structure & function of RBCs
– formation of hemoglobin
– destruction & fate of RBCs
– anemias
– polycythemias
Course and Curriculum of Physiology 21
• Leucocytes
– general characteristics
– genesis & life span of WBCs
– classification & functions of each type of WBC
– leukopenia
– leukemias
• Blood groups
– classification
– antigenicity
– agglutination
– blood typing
– principles of transfusion medicine
• Hemostasis
– components of hemostasis
– mechanisms of coagulation
– coagulation tests
– anticoagulants
• Immunity
– Innate immunity
– Acquired immunity
– Allergy, hypersensitivity and immunodeficiency
– Psychoneuroimmunology
(c) Renal Physiology & Fluid Balance
• Body fluid compartments
• Water balance; regulation of fluid balance
• Urine formation
• Regulation of extracellular sodium & osmolarity
• Renal mechanisms for the control of blood volume, blood pressure & ionic composition
• Regulation of acid-base balance
• Micturition
• Diuretics
• Renal failure
22 Syllabus M Sc / M Biotech — AIIMS
Semester II
(a) Cardio-vascular Physiology
• Properties of cardiac muscle
• Cardiac cycle
• Heart as a pump
• Cardiac output
• Nutrition & metabolism of heart
• Specialized tissues of the heart
• Generation & conduction of cardiac impulse
• Control of excitation & conduction
• Electrocardiogram
• Arrhythmias
• Principles of Hemodynamics
• Neurohumoral regulation of cardiovascular function
• Microcirculation & lymphatic system
• Regional circulations
• Cardiac failure
• Circulatory shock
(b) Respiration
• Functional anatomy of respiratory system
• Pulmonary ventilation
• Alveolar ventilation
• Mechanics of respiration
• Pulmonary circulation
• Pleural fluid
• Lung edema
• Principles of gas exchange
• Oxygen & carbon-dioxide transport
• Regulation of respiration
• Hypoxia
• Oxygen therapy & toxicity
• Artificial respiration
(c) Environmental Physiology
• Physiology of hot environment
• Physiology of cold environment
• High altitude
• Aviation physiology
• Space physiology
• Deep sea diving & hyperbaric conditions
Course and Curriculum of Physiology 23
Semester III
(a) Nerve & Muscle Physiology
• Resting membrane potential
• Action potential
• Classification of nerve fibres
• Nerve conduction
• Degeneration and regeneration in nerves
• Functional anatomy of skeletal muscle
• Neuro-muscular transmission and blockers
• Excitation-contraction coupling
• Mechanisms of muscle contraction
• Smooth muscle
(b) General, Sensory & Motor Physiology
• General design of nervous system
• Interneuronal communication
• Classification of somatic senses
• Sensory receptors
• Sensory transduction
• Information processing
• Dorsal column & medial lemniscal system
• Thalamus
• Somatosensory cortex
• Somatosensory association areas
• Pain
• Organization of spinal cord for motor function
• Reflexes & reflex arc
• Brain stem & cortical control of motor function
• Cerebellum
• Basal ganglia
• Maintenance of posture and equilibrium
• Motor cortex
(c) Special Senses
• Optics of vision
• Receptors & neural functions of retina
• Colour vision
• Perimetry
24 Syllabus M Sc / M Biotech — AIIMS
• Visual pathways
• Cortical visual function
• Functions of external and middle ear
• Cochlea
• Semicircular canals
• Auditory pathways
• Cortical auditory function
• Deafness & hearing aids
• Primary taste sensations
• Taste buds
• Transduction & transmission of taste signals
• Perception of taste
• Peripheral olfactory mechanisms
• Olfactory pathways
• Olfactory perception
(d) Limbic System and Higher Nervous System
• Autonomic nervous system
• Limbic system and hypothalamus
• Sleep
• Emotions & Behaviour
• Learning & Memory
• Yoga
Semester IV
(a) Nutrition & Metabolism
• Carbohydrates
• Fats
• Proteins
• Minerals
• Vitamins
• Dietary fibre
• Recommended Dietary Allowances
• Balanced diet
• Diet for infants, children, pregnant & lactating mothers, and the elderly
• Energy metabolism
• Obesity & Starvation
Course and Curriculum of Physiology 25
(b) Gastro-intestinal System
• General principles of G-I function
• Mastication & swallowing
• Esophageal motility
• Salivary secretion
• Gastric mucosal barrier
• Pancreatic & billiary secretion
• Gastrointestinal motility
• Digestion & absorption
• Functions of Colon
• Pathophysiology of peptic ulcer and diarrheal disease
• Liver functions
(c) Endocrines & Reproduction
• Classification of Hormones
• Mechanism of Hormone action
• Measurement of hormones in Blood
• Endocrine functions of the hypothalamus
• Pituitary
• Thyroid
• Adrenals
• The endocrine pancreas
• Pathophysiology of diabetes
• Parathyroid, calcitonin, Vit D & calcium metabolism
• Pineal gland
• Testosterone & male sex hromones
• Spermatogenesis
• Hyper & hypogonadism
• Menstrual cycle
• Female sex hormones
• Pregnancy & Lactation
• Functions of Placenta
• Parturition
• Lactation
26 Syllabus M Sc / M Biotech — AIIMS
Apart from the above topics in general and systemic physiology, the students are introduced to:
1. Biophysics
2. Biochemistry
3. Biostatistics
4. Molecular Biology
5. Medical Education
6. History of Medicine
The above topics are covered through a mix of self-learning and structured program. The structured
program consists of:
1. Seminars every Saturday
The seminars are on a topic belonging to a system scheduled for the semester. The topic is presented in
depth appropriate for postgraduates by one of the M.Sc or M.D. students and moderated by a faculty
The seminars represent only a small and somewhat arbitrary selection of topics. They are not
intended to cover an entire system. Their aims are to:
(a) introduce the system
(b) tune the students to the system
(c) cover recent advances
(d) give students practice in the art of oral presentation
2. Journal clubs and Faculty presentations, every Tuesday
The journal clubs are on an article belonging to a system scheduled for the semester. The article is
presented by an M.Sc./M.D./Ph.D. student or senior demonstrator, and moderated by a faculty member.
The aims of journal clubs are to:
(a) highlight recent advances
(b) discuss classical papers
(c) inculcate the faculty of critical appreciation of a research article
(d) give students and senior demonstrators practice in the art of oral presentation
(e) Faculty presentations are usually on:
(f) medical education
(g) research methodology
(h) an area of research in which the faculty member is involved
3. Practicals
About 8-10 practical exercises are conducted every semester exclusively for M.Sc. (and M.D.) students
on systems scheduled for the semester. The results obtained in these exercises are presented in teaching
meetings (see below).
Besides specially designed P.G. practicals, M.Sc. students perform all undergraduate practicals and
also teach a few of these practicals to the undergraduates.
Course and Curriculum of Physiology 27
4. Teaching meetings, every Saturday
Since M.Sc. students might opt for a teaching career, they are occasionally involved in teaching
undergraduates. In the teaching meetings, the forthcoming practical exercises are discussed, and feedback
on recently held exercises is obtained. These discussions are designed to tune the M.Sc. students to
teaching and related administrative responsibilities. In addition, teaching meetings are also utilized for
discussion of P.G. practicals, research protocols of new P.G. students, presentation of thesis work by
P.G. students prior to submission of the thesis, and any other items of interest to the teaching and
research staff of the department.
In the first three semesters, an end-semester theory, practical and oral examination is conducted by
the department on the systems scheduled for the semester, and a record of the internal assessment
maintained. In the last (4th) semester, the students take the final M.Sc. examination conducted by the
examination section.

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