What is anatomy and physiology

Anatomy is the science of the structure of the (human) body and its organs. Shape and structure (of the person) are examined. Physiology is the science that deals with the life processes in the organism, i.e. the functional processes (physical and biochemical). Both disciplines together can explain the functions of human beings.
The lecture imparts basic knowledge about the essential human organ systems and the associated medical terminology. The basic question of the course is:

"How does the human organism work?"

The lecture series (part 2 takes place in the summer semester) is aimed at students who are interested in anatomical and physiological issues. The focus of the lectures is on the physiological processes in the body.

The topics of the first part (winter semester) are:


  • Structure of man
  • Inner milieu

Building blocks of life - biomolecules

  • Proteins
  • carbohydrates
  • Lipids
  • Nucleotides and nucleic acids

Cell physiology

  • Cells - structural organization
  • Cell membrane and cell organelles
  • THEN, RNA and Protein Synthesis
  • Cell function - cell cycle and cell division
  • Cell connections - tissue
  • Transport processes in the body

Neurophysiology - Part 1

  • The nervous system - functional and anatomical structure
  • Signals in the nervous system - action potentials and stimulus conduction
  • Skeletal muscle control
  • Autonomic nervous system - sympathetic and parasympathetic

Cardiovascular system

  • Cardiovascular system - anatomy
  • Cardiac Function - Electrophysiology and Cardiac Mechanics
  • Blood vessels - structure and exchange of substances
  • Blood - Composition and Function

Respiratory system

  • Respiratory system - anatomy
  • Respiratory mechanics - ventilation and perfusion
  • Gas exchange and transport in the blood

Recommended reading
Detailed sets of slides on the individual thematic units are made available in the ILIAS portal (https://ilias.studium.kit.edu/).

Silverthorn D.U., Physiology, Pearson Studium, 4th edition, 2009
Martini F.H., et al., Anatomy, Pearson Studium, 6th Edition, 2012
Martini F.H. et al., Anatomy Compact Textbook, 1st edition, 2012
Schmidt R., et al., Human Physiology, Springer, 31st edition, 2010
Silbernagl S., Despopulos, A., Taschenatlas Physiologie, Thieme, 8th edition, 2012