BME 403-0-20: Advanced Systems Physiology

Quarter Offered

Spring : MWF 9:00-9:50 ; Ankeny




Physiology of the renal, digestive, and endocrine systems. Membrane transport, epithelia, and second messenger systems from an engineering perspective. General overview and in-depth study of original work.

Who Takes It

First or second year graduate students in BME.  May be taken without BME 401 or BME 402, but graduate students with no biology background will find it difficult.

What It's About

BME 403 covers human renal, digestive, endocrine and metabolic physiology, at a relatively detailed systems level and with reference to diseases of these systems. Includes basic biochemistry of energy metabolism, and introductions to pharmacokinetics and immunology. The course is unified by a focus on metabolism, epithelial cell transport, and regulation.  Graduate students in 403 attend the same lectures as undergraduates in BME 303 and do the same quantitative homework sets, use clickers to answer questions in class, and take the same two midterms as BME 303 students. However, BME 403 includes an additional weekly session in which students read, present and discuss papers from the research literature covering the course topics. The BME 403 final exam includes questions on these readings.


  • Membrane Transport
  • Water balance
  • Renal physiology
  • Control theory
  • Energy metabolism
  • Endocrine regulation of energy metabolism
  • Autonomic and enteric nervous systems
  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Temperature regulation
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Neuroendocrine systems
  • Calcium regulation
  • Immunology


Silverthorn, D.U.  Human Physiology, 6th ed.  Students will also need a Turning Technologies “clicker.”