Knowledge and Understanding
Successful completion of this programme will require students to demonstrate specialized knowledge in the area of experimental physiology. This includes details of experimental design and various methodological processes related to assessing physiological functions at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and/or organismal level. Students will acquire advanced theoretical and conceptual knowledge relating to various laboratory techniques that are used in the research environment to assess physiological function. Students will consider how current laboratory techniques have been developed and be required to understand the theory behind such techniques. Students will develop an understanding of the importance of experimental design and technical rigour as they relate to current debates, such as the challenges of scientific reproducibility, and see the opportunity for improving practice in the research environment.
Applying Knowledge and Understanding
Students will be required to learn how to successfully conduct various laboratory techniques, and understand their development and optimisation, prior to using these techniques to address basic research questions. Students should be able to use their problem-solving skills to optimise assays and refine experimental techniques so that they can be successfully used to address questions relating to physiological functions. Although the emphasis of this programme is not the generation of new knowledge through research there will be some opportunities for students to develop their experimental skills in the context of ongoing research activities. For example students may help develop or optimise assays that will then be used by other researchers to address specific research questions.
While developing their skills in specific laboratory techniques students will learn to critically analyse published data in order to judge the validity of current methodologies. On successful completion of this module students should be able to integrate their technical and theoretical knowledge in order to reflect on wider scientific issues, as well as the social and ethical responsibilities, that are associated with the production of scientific data.
Communications and Working Skills
On successful completion of this module students should be able to communicate their experimental findings, and the knowledge and rationale underpinning these, to specialist and non-specialist audiences clearly and unambiguously.
Successful completion of this programme will require a high level of self-directed learning. Students will be required to conduct thorough literature searches, compare published methods and research findings, and develop the skills that are required to autonomously design, develop, and conduct physiological research.