MEDSCI 733 : Advanced Methods in Cell Physiology

Medical and Health Sciences

2023 Semester One (1233) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The theoretical basis underpinning electrophysiological and live cell imaging techniques used to probe cellular function will be addressed. Emphasis will be placed on the instrumentation, data acquisition, and data analysis associated with each technology. The approach is practical and computer-based software programmes are used to analyse pre-recorded data, and data produced by the students themselves.

Course Overview

The course is divided into 3 modules. (i) Data acquisition and processing; looking at the fundamental concepts of physics underpinning digital data acquisition and processing including filtering. (ii)   Imaging; learning the optical aspects of imaging and understanding the uses of various imaging techniques utilised in biomedical sciences. (iii)Electrophysiology; learning the differences between intracellular and extracellular electrophysiological recordings. All modules have corresponding practical components.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 15 points from MEDSCI 309, 311, 312, 316, 317 Restriction: MEDSCI 726

Course Contacts

Course Director: Dr Peter Freestone ( ; ext 81455)
Course Coordinator: Dr Raj Selvaratnam (; ext 86955) Primary contact.

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand the basis of digital data acquisition and processing (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Demonstrate skills in developing digital acquisition and filtering system for use in scientific research. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Evaluate electrophysiological recording techniques used in biomedical research (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Evaluate imaging techniques utilized in biomedical research. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  5. Communicate via oral and written presentations the concepts being introduced in the course (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Module 1 4 Assignments 8% Individual Coursework
Module 2 Optics 2 Assignments 10% Individual Coursework
Module 3 Electro Oral Presentation 10% Individual Coursework
Test 1 Module 1 25% Individual Coursework
Test Final 47% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Module 1 4 Assignments
Module 2 Optics 2 Assignments
Module 3 Electro Oral Presentation
Test 1 Module 1
Test Final

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 12 hours of lectures, a 24 hour practicals, 30 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 84 hours of work on assignments, presentations and preparation for tests.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience & Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including practicals, seminars, tutorials and lectures to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials, seminars and practicals will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events including group discussions or tutorials.
Attendance on campus is required for the tests.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

No changes are being made to the course.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.