Advanced Nerve and Muscle Physiology

Unit code: RBM3264 | Study level: Undergraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
St Albans
RBM2800 - Cardiorespiratory and Renal Physiology
(Or equivalent to be determined by unit coordinator)


This unit examines in detail the mechanisms of nerve and muscle function, including behaviour of excitable cells; mechanisms of muscle contraction; muscle fibre types; metabolic processes in active muscle; neuromuscular fatigue; and muscle plasticity. Students are also introduced to current research techniques in nerve and muscle physiology.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Critically reflect on the experimental evidence describing ionic movement, the action potential and its synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction;
  2. Discriminate between the structural and functional properties of skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscles;
  3. Interrogate the regulation of intracellular calcium and its effects on muscle fatigue and damage processes;
  4. Investigate muscle fibre types, metabolism and fatigue and analyse the immense plasticity of skeletal muscle; and
  5. Experiment according to ethical protocols on both animal tissue and human subjects to illustrate basic properties of nerve/muscle function.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Laboratory Work
Grade: 30%
Laboratory reports (3) reports - (1800 words in total)
Assessment type: Other
Grade: 25%
Workshop questions (600 words in total)
Assessment type: Exercise
Grade: 45%
Justified response to Physiological reasoning questions (open book, 2.5 hours)

Required reading

RECOMMENDED TEXTS: Nerve and muscle physiology sections of any basic physiology textbook. Silverthorn, D. U., Johnson, B. R., Ober, W. C., Ober, C. E., & Silverthorn, A. C. (2018). Human physiology: An integrated approach. (8th ed). Harlow Essex: Pearson. MacIntosh, B.R., Gardiner, P.F., & McComas, A.J. (2006) Skeletal Muscle: Form and Function 2nd Edition, Human Kinetics.

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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