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 SCI 261 - Mechanisms of Disease

In this course the relation between the normal function (physiology) and disease (pathophysiology) is illustrated for six basal organ systems: 1. heart and large blood vessels, 2. lung (pulmonology), 3. kidney (nephrology), 4. digestive tract, 5. endocrine glands (endocrinology) and 6. central nervous system. The relation between various organ systems is illustrated at the end of the course with diabetes mellitus, a disease in which aspects of endocrinology, the cardiovascular system, the kidneys and both the central and peripheral nervous system are combined.

The aim of this course is to provide insight in the principles of the mechanisms of diseases. For the organ systems mentioned the student first has to study the embryology and anatomy, Using this information as starting point, the basic physiology is studied and using the combined knowledge the student must be able to derive the symptoms and failures in the system or the pathophysiology. As an example: an unborn child does not use its lungs yet. Therefore it shunts blood between the lung artery and the a​orta. In most cases this shunt is located in the arch of the aorta between the two carotid arteries and it is called the Ductus arteriosus or Ductus Botalli. As a rule this shunt closes immediately after birth, but in some children the closing mechanism is too extensive and part of the aorta becomes narrowed. The student must derive from both the knowledge of the embryology and the anatomy which symptoms could arise from this anomaly (high blood pressure in the right arm, low pressure in the left arm and in the legs). Students should also realize that the heart eventually will enlarge and suffer from the even increasing pressure it has to deal with. In fact the student uses knowledge from the various disciplines and clinical insight.


Dr. Ger Rijkers​


Biomedical / Premed 


The following course is required in order to take this course: 

  • SCI 131 Introduction to Life Science

Additionally one of the following courses is required in order to take this course: 

  • SCI 234 Human Physiology
  • SCI 232 Functional Anatomy

SCI 261 course image.jpg