MEDSCI312 - ENDOCRINOLOGY OF GROWTH AND METABOLIM
Tests (x2): 35%
Official UoA Website: link.
There is no prescribed textbook – however the lecturers do provide a lot of pre- and post-lecture reading material. There are also two recommended textbooks that are extremely helpful which can be found on the Uni’s official course outline page as well as Canvas (Integrated Endocrinology – Laycock and Essential Endocrinology – Holt). There is also no physical coursebook – it is integrated into Canvas.
There is also only a total of 20 lectures, which is quite little compared to stage I and II papers, where there are around 35. However, information density is very high, with each lecture having up to 60 slides. To have a better understanding of the content, it is vital to complete the additional readings and learning is more heavily self-directed.
MEDSCI 312 is a stage III paper that focuses on hormones: signalling pathways at a cellular pathway, biochemical properties, functions controlling homeostasis, growth and metabolism. It also explores clinical diseases resulting from dysregulations and dysfunctions of the endocrinology. It is one of the required papers for the BSc Physiology degree, as well as some Biomed pathways (Nutrition and Metabolism; Reproduction and Development). It can also be taken by BSc Nutrition students.
The course is divided into 3 modules:
Module A: Basic endocrinology (Signalling and Development)
L1 Intro to Medsci 312, L2 Intro to Hormones, L3 Cell Signalling I, L4 Cell Signalling II, L5 Sexual Differentiation, L6 Development of Gut and Pancreas, L7 Integration Lecture I (Eye Lens Development)
Module B: Clinical endocrinology (Exercise endocrinology +Metabolic)
L8 Energy Metabolism, L9 Exercise Metabolism, L10 Diabetes I, L11 Diabetes II, L12 Diabetes III
Module C: Growth endocrinology
L13 Adrenal Glands, L14 Sodium and Water Regulation, L15 Macronutrients in Weight Loss, L16 Fetal Growth and Metabolism, L17 Postnatal Growth and Development, L18 Thyroid Physiology, L19 Puberty, L20 Integration of Growth
There are only a total of 3 labs for MEDSCI 312, and you will have 2 weeks to finish the lab reports just like most (if not all other MEDSCI Courses). There is a pre-lab quiz and its associated readings for every lab. For MEDSCI312, it is absolutely imperative to not only go through, but fully understand the pre-lab readings, which are on KuraCloud (instead of canvas). Otherwise, it is extremely easy to get loss during the lab, as they are quite complicated and require multiple steps. There is also a lot of useful information in the pre-reading that can serve as a basis for what is explored in the lab report.
Lab 1: Hormonal (Cortisol) Assay
Lab 2: Fuel Metabolic Expenditure
Lab 3: Human Body Composition
Lab write-ups were very tedious as these topics have a lot of articles to choose and reference from. The results require a lot of time and 2 weeks is not enough if you take other MEDSCI papers. Don’t be surprised if you end up cramming for these reports. However, one quick way to get enough information in the shortest amount of time would probably be just to attend the conferences which are held online by Anuj. Take down all the key information that is required and then write accordingly. They do provide you with a list of journal articles to start from but don’t limit yourself to those. Also, do your best to adhere to the 4 page limit (excluding tables, diagrams and graphs) as going overboard will prevent you from getting full marks regardless of how awesome your report is.
MST and Exam
There are two tests during the semester – with the mid-semester test being worth 20% and the end-semester test with 15%. The tests are quite similar in structure – they are both 50 mins and consist of short answer questions each worth 5 marks.
The exam comprises essay questions, which in 2023 was choose 4 out of 5 to answer. The time crunch is quite intense as it’s a 2 hour essay, leaving you only 30 minutes to think and write ideally about 3 pages worth of answers. The questions were also quite specific so you really needed to know every detail to be able to score really well.
People generally don’t score super well in this course, with only 1 person getting an A+ in a cohort of 85 in 2021. In the same year, the median final score was a 66%, the lowest amongst all the MEDSCIs, so it might be worth reconsidering if your priority is keeping up a perfect/high GPA. With that being said, I did find what was being taught really interesting. For example, we explored the mechanisms and manifestations of metabolic diseases, which I personally quite enjoyed. I also thought the course was structured in a very cohesive manner, with everything you learn being related and tied together someway or another.