Learning outcomes of the course unit
The main goal of this module is to provide students with an essential knowledge of eukaryotic cells and tissues, and how these are organized into higher levels of complexity, to better approach the study of Anatomy and Physiology. At the end of the course, students should be able to critically discuss the eukaryotic cell, intra- and inter- cellular relationships and tissue organisation.
Course contents summary
The first part of the course will focus on the structure and function of living matter and how it aggregates to form cells. Structure and functions of different cell types will be then examined. The second part of the course will focus on tissue structure and function, and how these integrate into multi-tissue units and organs. The third part of the course will be centered on cell and embryo development and the development of embryonic annexes.
1) The cell.
The cell and the extracellular matrix: chemical, physical and biological properties.
Cells, tissue, organs, apparatuses and systems.
Histotechnology: Microscopy techniques and approaches. Microscopes. Histological samples. How to read a sample. Principles of histological interpretation.
Biomolecules and supramolecular complexes: water, mineral salts, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids.
Cell organelles. Cell cytoplasm, cell periphery and the nucleus. Ribosomes and endoplasmic reticulum. Golgi apparatus. Endosomes, vescicles, peroxysomes. Mitochondria. The cytoskeleton, the centrosome and the mitotic fuse.
Cell cycle: mitosis and meiosis. Cell senescence and cell death.
Somatic and germinal cells. Stem and differentiated cells. Cell populations.
2) The tissues.
Epithelial tissue: Classification, cytological features and properties.
Connective tissue: development, organization, structural and functional characteristics. Mucous, fibrillar, reticular and dense tissue. Adipose tissue.
Cartilage and Bone tissue: Osteogenesis and general organization.
Blood, hemopoiesis, and blood and lymph vessels.
Muscle tissue: smooth and striated muscular tissue: structure and organization.
Nervous tissue: Structural and functional organization. Neurons and Glia.
3) Embryo development.
Growth and differentiation. I-IV weeks of development. II-III months of development. II-III trimester of development. Genetics of morphogenesis. Development of main organs and apparatuses.
Biological aspects of development. The role of the microenvironment. Induction, determination and differentiation.
The main book adopted is:
Stevens & Lowe's Human Histology, 5th Edition, Elsevier 2020;
B.M. Carlson, Human Embryology & Developmental Biology, 6th Edition, Elsevier 2019.
Lectures will be held on-site in compliance with safety standards, provided that further instructions on the ongoing health emergency are not implemented. Supporting material will be available on the specific, student-reserved platform (Elly) and will include slide presentations, audio-video aids or video-recording of the lectures.
Before each class, the instructor will first review the previous topics and assess whether they have been understood, through an interactive discussion with the students.
Assessment methods and criteria
Besides short tests performed throughout the course, there will be a final written exam on the topics discussed during the course. The exam will consist of multiple choice questions. Testing will assess the understanding of specific topics, and students’ capability to trace the underlying connections between biological phenomena, using an appropriate language.