Spring 2020 - BPK 208 D100

Introduction to Physiological Systems (3)

Class Number: 2320

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Mon, Wed, Fri, 9:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 20, 2020
    Mon, 3:30–6:30 p.m.

  • Corequisites:

    CHEM 180.



An introduction to anatomy and physiological function of the major human systems, from a biomedical engineering perspective. Normally only available to students in the Biomedical Engineering Program. BPK 208 may be used as a substitute for BPK 105 by students in the Kinesiology Minor program. BPK Major and Honours students may not receive credit for BPK 208. No student may take both BPK 105 and BPK 208 for credit, or both BPK 205 and BPK 208 for credit.


An introductory survey of human physiology with constant themes of cellular physiology and homeostasis. Building on these themes, we will progress through the nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, and gastrointestinal systems. Topics covered earlier in the course will serve as the foundation for looking at more complex systems later on.            

Canvas (https://canvas.sfu.ca/) will be used for this course. Lecture notes will be posted on the course Canvas page (usually in advance of lecture), as will be assignments and quizzes. It is expected that students supplement the lecture slide PDFs with their own notes during lecture.

13 weeks; 3 lecture hours and 1 tutorial hour per week

  • Homeostasis and control systems
  • Principles of cellular physiology: membrane transport, membrane potentials
  • Cellular communication and signaling
  • Principles of endocrinology
  • Neuronal transmission
  • Central nervous system
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Principles of sensory physiology and overview of the special senses
  • Muscle physiology
  • Principles of cardiovascular function
  • Mechanics of respiration
  • Gas exchange and transport
  • Overview of renal physiology
  • Overview of gastrointestinal physiology and digestion                                 


  1. Describe the hierarchical organization of the human organism from molecules to organ systems.
  2. Explain the principle of homeostasis and how specific physiological parameters are regulated through negative feedback reflex loops.
  3. Explain the establishment and maintenance of the resting membrane potential using the Nernst and Goldman equations.
  4. Explain the anatomy of a neuron and the mechanisms underlying cellular excitability and the initiation and propagation of action potentials.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the basic anatomy and function of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of the anatomy and function of the somatic and special senses, including tactile sensation, vision, olfaction gustation and audition.
  7. Explain the anatomy and function of the cardiovascular system, including electrical conduction in the heart, the cardiac cycle and regulation of cardiac output.
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of the anatomy and function of the respiratory system, including mechanics of quiet breathing, regulation of airway resistance, and gas composition and exchange.
  9. Demonstrate knowledge of the functional anatomy and function of the renal system, the principles of reabsorption and regulation of the glomerular filtration rate.
  10. Explain the anatomy and function of the gastrointestinal system, including oral, gastric and intestinal phases of digestion and absorption of macronutrients.
  11. Demonstrate knowledge of the integrative nature of human physiology using specific examples.    


  • Weekly Tutorials 10%
  • Weekly Canvas Assignments 10%
  • Midterm 1 20%
  • Midterm 2 20%
  • Final Exam 40%


Tutorials will begin in the second week of classes and are a mandatory component of the course. Tutorial participation is compulsory and will facilitate an active learning environment to complement material presented in lectures. Tutorial material is examinable and will be featured on the midterm and final exams. The policy for missed tutorials is the same as the policy for missed exams. Tutorials will not be held during midterm exam weeks.



Human Physiology – An Integrated Approach, Silverthorn, 8th ed.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

It is the responsibility of the student to keep their BPK course outlines if they plan on furthering their education.

Missed Exam:

Students who miss examinations due to exceptional circumstances (such as serious illness or compassionate reasons) are required to obtain a physician's certificate, whereby the physician states that you were unable to write your midterm or final on the set date due to a medical condition beyond your control, or other supporting documents in order to obtain consideration in the course. Such documents must be filed with the Department Chair (via the Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology office) or Registrar within four calendar days of the date on which the examination was to have been written. Exceptional circumstances must be approved by the Undergraduate Program Committee in order for a student to receive consideration. Students must check the examination schedule when making course selections. Students are reminded that final examinations may be scheduled at any time during the examination period and that students should avoid making travel or employment arrangements for this period. In the event of a missed midterm or final examination the instructors reserve the right to give an oral examination of the material. Approximate midterm dates are provided, but may be subject to change.

BPK Grading Policy

For more information on the department's grading policy & guidelines go to:  

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html