PHYS20100 Cell-Cell Signalling

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module is designed to give the student an in-depth knowledge of cellular communication and signalling, with a particular focus on muscle and nerve biology. Students will learn how cells of the human body communicate with each other and with their environments and be introduced to the signalling mechanisms used by the immune system as part of host defence. They will learn how membrane potentials arise and how these are specialized within nerve and muscle tissues. Students will also cover the molecular basis of skeletal and smooth muscle contraction and muscle mechanics. This is a core module for the MB BCh BAO Medical Degree and the Graduate Entry to Medicine programme, and is offered as an option for Biomedical Health and Life Science students that have some background in biological science.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Biomedical Knowledge:
On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Describe basic cellular structures that contribute to cellular functions.
2. Compare and contrast the main cellular signalling pathways.
3. Explain the principles of nerve physiology and neural communication.
4. Compare and contrast skeletal and smooth muscle contraction.
5. Describe the basic mechanisms of cell signalling used in host defence.

Clinically-relevant Skills:
On completion of this module students will be familiar with basic cellular communication mechanisms that control normal physiological functions and the potential clinical relevance of defects in these pathways.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Small Group




Computer Aided Lab


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Teaching on this module is predominantly lecture-based.

The module content is divided in to three sections:

1. Cell structure and function
2. Excitable cells and electrical signalling
3. Cell-cell signalling and communication

In addition to core lectures each section of the module will include one small class tutorial and a computer aided learning class. These activities are part of the teaching strategy and they are used to review module content from different points of view. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
PHYS20040 - Cell and Tissue Physiology, PHYS20050 - Cell-Cell Communication

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Examination: This is the MCQ component of the end of module assessment. This will include 40 questions covering the content of the whole module. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Examination: 10 Short answer questions covering all sections of the module. Done at the same time as MCQ. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Attendance: Students will be assessed based on their attendance and participation in various defined activities and tutorials. On line MCQ and written reports associated to Tutorials and CALs must be completed. Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Continuous Assessment: Preparation for exams. The students will work in groups to answer examples of exam questions from previous years. Feedback will be provided by lecturers. Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Submitted work will be annotated by the examiner for feedback and guidance purposes. General feedback will also be provided at the class level post-assessment. Students who require additional feedback may request to meet the module coordinator and/or examiner.

Name Role
Dr Marie-Victoire Guillot-Sestier Lecturer / Co-Lecturer