Human Physiology and Pathophysiology

Accreditation valid until: 27. 11. 2029

Chairman of the Subject Area Board:

prof. MUDr. Otomar KITTNAR, MBA, CSc.
Institute of Physiology
First Faculty of Medicine
Charles University
Albertov 5
128 00  Prague 2
phone: +420 224 968 483
e-mail: @email


Contact person:
doc. MUDr. Dana Marešová, CSc.
Institute of Physiology
First Faculty of Medicine
Charles University
Albertov 5
128 00  Prague 2
phone: + 420 224 968 410
e-mail: @email


Members of the Subject Area Board

Characteristics of the study programme

The study programme is focused on the study of functions of particular systems of the organism (blood, circulatory system, breathing, digestive, urinary, humoral, nervous systems) and their control, from the molecular level up to the study of mutual relations between particular systems under normal conditions and pathologic states. Equally important is the study of factors that can affect the mechanisms of development, plasticity and adaptation to epigenetic and internal influences.

The experimental and analytic approach of learning enables you to use the knowledge gained for prevention, diagnostics, therapy and rehabilitation of the human organism.

The objective of the studies in the study programme is training the students in such a way so that they will be capable of independent scientific work as necessary for understanding of physiologic and pathophysiologic mechanisms that can be the cause of major clinical conditions.

Admission procedure requirement specific to the study programme

The conditions and course of the admission procedure for the part-time of study are the same as the conditions for the full-time form. 

We recommend to contact your potential supervisor in advance and consult the suitable form of preparation for the interview. Each study programme has its own specifics, so the supervisor can help you to prepare for the specialized entrance examination (the interview).

Topics of dissertation thesis

The SAB did not list any topics. The candidate chooses the preliminary topic individually and contacts a potential supervisor. He/she consults with him on the chosen topic and agrees on its more precise specification. In case of any ambiguity, we recommend that you also contact the chairman of the SAB. If necessary, he/she can recommend that he/she consult the topic with another specialist according to the focus of the intended project.

If the candidate does not know which topic/supervisor to choose, he/she will contact the chairman of the SAB, with whom he/she will consult on a suitable topic and a potential supervisor.

This choice is preliminary, the admissions board may, after consultation with the candidate, nominate another supervisor.

Supervisors of the study programme

Each supervisor must be approved by the SAB. The criteria for admitting new supervisors are determined by the SAB. If the proposed supervisor has not yet been approved by the SAB, this must be done no later than the enrollment of the applicant in the study (provided that the applicant is accepted). You can find a list of supervisors approved by the SAB here. After clicking, the supervisor's workplace and contact information will be displayed.

Requirements during the study

Study obligations for full-time and part-time form of study are the same. 

Study obligations are part of ISP of the student designed by the supervisor (or advisor) and based on the annotation handed in during the admission procedure. The fulfillment of the ISP is controlled and granted by the supervisor and the guarantor of the programme of study. Possible changes in the ISP must be justified and approved by the SAB, the guarantor of the programme of study and the dean of the faculty.

  • The student must obtain credits from at least three courses from the courses offered in DSPB. One of the courses can be completed abroad. If involved as an undergraduate supervisor, the tuition may be recognized as a completion of the course of SAB Human Physiology and Pathophysiology.
  • Part of the ISP is also the language examination in English (examination at the Department of Languages, Second Faculty of Medicine CU, state language examination or an internationally recognized examination, e.g. TOEFL, Cambridge Certificate).
  • Successful completion of the SDE.
  • Part of the studies is active participation on both national and international scientific conferences.

Requirements for internships

A recommended part of study obligations in doctoral studies is taking a study placement abroad, not shorter than 1 month.

Listed courses

B90054 Electrophysiological methods in clinical practice and research
B90209 Physical interaction of blood circulation and vessel wall and current methods of their examination
B90044 Selected issues of endocrinology and metabolism
B90275 Biomedicine and Biotechnology
B90276 How to be the Master and not a Slave of Clinical Research

Requirements for the SDE

1) Language examination in English (examination at the Department of Languages, Second Faculty of Medicine CU, state language examination or an internationally recognized examination, e.g. TOEFL, Cambridge certificate).
2) Credits from at least three courses.
3) Literary overview to the topic of the tesis with hypothesis and the aim of work (15–20 pages without literature)
4) At least one original publication on the topic of the thesis in journals with IF (only work in extenso is recognized, not abstracts,case studies or letter to the editor).

Literature review (research) - basic information

A literature review is not a summary of the dissertation. It is a text that aims to create a critical overview of current knowledge on a specialized topic. It is a common part of the science-oriented literature and usually precedes the conception of research project proposals and also the selection of an appropriate methodology. Its basic goal is to provide the reader with an up-to-date overview of current literature on the topic and provides information enabling to evaluate the legitimacy of the proposed future research.

However, the literature review is not only a set of disorganized or fragmented professional information. A good literature review is characterized by:

  1. logical flow of ideas, i.e., the individual paragraphs should follow each other logically
  2. relevant bibliographic references in a consistent and appropriate format

3. correct use of technical terminology

4. an unbiased and comprehensive overview of current research on the issue

5. synthesis of the information provided.

The synthesis of the presented information is the most difficult part of the literature review and assumes that the author is well versed in the given issue. Synthesis provides a new interpretation of old knowledge or combines new knowledge with the old ones. It can outline intellectual development in a given field, suggest directions in which new research could go it should become the basis for the scientific hypothesis of the author's work. The literature review should result in a clear and concise definition of the hypothesis (assuming what the author wants to prove) and the objectives of the work (how the author proves or rejects the hypothesis).

Therefore, the conclusion of the text should contain the proposed hypothesis (briefly) and the objectives of the solution.

The range is 15 to 20 standard A4 pages (without literature).


  1. Title page – see sample
  2. Font – Times New Roman 12
  3. Line spacing 1–1,5
  4. Pages are numbered
  5. Literature: number, references uniformly including citations in the text – if there is one author – Author 1., 1989, if there are two authors, both and year are given, for three or more authors, the author is J. et al., year

The prepared literature review must be submitted in electronic form (by e-mail in docx format) together with the application and other documentation to the Department for Ph.D. Study. It is not necessary to print it. The printed version (after proofreading by assoc. prof. D. Marešová) will be brought by the student to the SDE.  

The literature review does not have to be bound. SAB accepts free (numbered) A4 sheets. Printing can be double-sided.

The time between the application for an SDE and the actual date of the examination is usually three to four months.

The course of the SDE

The subject matter of the SDE covers the topics of Human Physiology and Pathophysiology. From the SDE questions of the 14 subject areas, three combinations are formed. The student can thus focus on the thematic areas based on the ISP and defined by the instructor. During the examination, the student chooses one of the combinations (triplet) and draws questions from the assigned topics. The fourth question is based on written research and methodology of scientific work. The student chooses a pre-given triplet and draws the questions.

Examination topics for the SDE

Each area consists of approximately fourteen questions which the student draws at random.

1) Principals of the physiological regulations
2) Physiology of the cell
3) Internal environment and the defence system of the organism
4) Cardiopulmonary system and its role in the regulation of homeostasis
5) Pathophysiology of the cardiopulmonary system
6) Conversion of substances and forms of energies
7) Excretory systems and their disorders
8) Endocrine regulation and its disorders
9) Blood and respiration
10) Sensory information inputs
11) Executive nervous functions and their disorders
12) Physiology and Patophysiology of behavious, biorhythms
13) Developmental physiology
14) Gastrointestinal tract

Student selects combination of 3 from the 14 thematic areas. Each thematic area consists of specific questions. The questions are selected by draw.
Obligatory thematic areas combinations:

1, 4, 14
2, 5, 13
3, 7, 12
4, 7, 11
5, 6, 11
6, 8, 12
7, 10, 14
8, 14, 2
9, 5, 10
10, 2, 4
11, 8, 1
12, 8, 2
13, 14, 7
14, 9, 2

1. Principles of physiological regulations

1.1 Tissue oxygen supply
1.2 Isotonia, isoosmia, isohydria. Water and ion balance
1.3 Regulation of metabolic processes
1.4 Overview of blood pressure and circulation control
1.5 Overview of control of food and water intake and processing; micturition, defecation
1.6 Control of breathing
1.7 Interaction between nerves, hormons and immunity; psychoneuroendocrinology
1.8 Local, systemic and integrated control of physiological processes
1.9 Shock
1.10 Stress
1.11 Metabolic and neuronal control processes
1.12 Hunger and thirst
1.13 Multiorgan failure during sepsis
1.14 Mechanisms of adaptation to environment
1.15 Genetic determination of disease

2. Cell physiology

2.1 Function of the cell membrane and inter-cellular contacts
2.2 Membrane transport systems
2.3. Channels for water and ions
2.4 Intracellular signals systems
2.5 Functions of cell organelles
2.6 Cell cycle
2.7 Autocrine and paracrine information and communication
2.8 Gene expression and cell differentiation
2.9 Apoptosis and necrosis
2.10 Cell receptors and their disorders
2.11 Membrane potential
2.12 Excitation and contraction coupling in smooth and skeletal muscle

3. Inner environment and defence functions

3.1 Body fluids
3.2 Homeostasis
3.3 Intercellular space
3.4 Inner environment of brain
3.5 Regulation of extracellular concentration of potassium and natrium
3.6 Immunity mechanisms and disorders
3.7 Aging mechanisms
3.8 Disorders of acid base balance
3.9 Significance of calcium in organism

4. Cardiopulmonary system

4.1 Blood and lymphatic circulation
4.2 Mechanism of heart contraction and relaxation
4.3 Heart automaticity and electrical activity of heart muscle
4.4 Heart pump, cardiac revolution
4.5 Cardiovascular control mechanisms
4.6 Coronary blood flow
4.7 Blood flow through brain, splanchnicus, skin and skeletal muscle
4.8 Placental blood flow. Fetal circulation.
4.9 Lung circulation
4.10 Relation of renal blood flow and renal functions
4.11 Short and long-term regulation of blood pressure

5. Pathophysiology of cardiopulmonary system

5.1 Adaptation of myocardium on the work load
5.2 Remodelling of myocardium and vascular wall
5.3 Heart failure, stunning and hibernation
5.4 Elementary disorders of the heart rhythm
5.5 Arterial hypertension
5.6 Hypotension, collapse, circulatory shock
5.7 Disorders in generation and conduction of electrical stimuli in the heart
5.8 Congenatal heart diseases, valve defects
5.9 Causes of arteriosclerosis and its complications
5.10 Ischemic heart disease
5.11 Pulmonary hypertension and cor pulmonale
5.12 Classification of types of hypoxia

6. Metabolism

6.1 Tissue respiration
6.2 Thermoregulation
6.3 Metabolic functions of the liver
6.4 Regulation of plasma glucose concentration
6.5 Plasma lipids and their metabolism
6.6 Quantitative and qualitative disorders of nutrition
6.7 Protein metabolism
6.8 Metabolism of saccharides

7. Excretion systems and their disturbances

7.1 Excretion systems and organs
7.2 Role of kidney and breathing in acid-base balance
7.3 Role of hormones and body composition in water excretion
7.4 Control of renal excretion of potassium, natrium, phosphates and calcium
7.5 Micturition and its disorders
7.6 Causes and consequences of the impairment of renal concentration ability
7.7 Acute renal failure
7.8 Chronic renal failure
7.9 Defects of tubular transport
7.10 Glomerular functions and their disorders

8. Endocrine regulation

8.1 General principles of humoral regulation
8.2 Role of hypothalamo-hypophyseal system in control of peripheral glands
8.3 Metabolic and regulatory consequences of adrenal insufficiency
8.4 Reproduction endocrinology
8.5 Pathophysiology of thyroidea
8.6 Hormonal control of metabolism of calcium and phosphates
8.7 Pathogenesis of type I and II diabetes mellitus. Impaired glucose tolerance
8.8 Disorders of growth and sexual differentiation

9. Blood and breathing

9.1 Blood and hemopoietic organs
9.2 Hemostasis and its defects
9.3 Hemoglobin (ontogenesis, functional types)
9.4 Central regulation of breathing
9.5 Peripheral chemoreceptors and regulation of breathing
9.6 Lung ventilation
9.7 Ventilation/perfusion relationship
9.8 Blood gas transport
9.9 Pathologic forms of breathing
9.10 pH of blood, blood buffers
9.11 Regulation of organ blood flow

10. Sensory systems, information entry

10.1 Vision and its disorders
10.2 Disorders of the balance
10.3 Hearing and its disorders
10.4 Taste and smell
10.5 Proprioception
10.6 Nociception, pain
10.7 Somatosensory system and its disorders
10.8 Function of the receptor cells
10.9 Central processing of sensory signals

11. Efferent functions of nervous system

11.1 Muscle types, muscle contraction
11.2 Motor functions and their disorders
11.3 Central control of motility
11.4 Autonomic nervous system
11.5 Disorders of peripheral nerves
11.6 Spinal cord injury syndromes
11.7 Intracranial hypertension

12. Physiology and pathophysiology of behavior. Biorhythms

12.1 Sleep and its disorders
12.2 Biorhythms. Mechanisms and disorders
12.3 Memory. Physiology and pathophysiology
12.4 Mechanisms of learning
12.5 Motivations, instincts
12.6 Descendent and ascendent reticular formation
12.7 Emotion
12.8 Brain degenerative disorders. Alzheimer disease.

13. Developmental physiology

13.1 Main periods of ontogenesis. Critical developmental periods
13.2 Significance of perinatal and weaning periods for individual development
13.3 Ontogenetic development of homeostasis
13.4 Puberty
13.5 Development of endocrine and reproduction systems
13.6 Functional changes during aging, mechanisms of aging

14. Gastrointestinal system

14.1 Food processing in mouth. Secretion of saliva
14.2 Swallowing
14.3 Stomach. Motility and secretion
14.4 Function and pathology of small intestine
14.5 Pancreas and liver
14.6 Large intestine. Motility. Secretion and resorption. Defecation
14.7 Overview of GIT motility
14.8 Control mechanisms of GIT
14.9 Control of food intake. and its disorders

Recommended literature

Publication activity requirements

  • Elaboration of the literary summary/overview
  • Two papers in extenso with an overall impact factor of at least 1 as first author.

Defence requirements

  • SDE
  • At least two original publications pertaining to the topic of the dissertation thesis, with the total impact factor at least one. In at least one of them, the student should be the first author.
  • The SAB requires a Summary of the Dissertation.

Profile of a graduate of the study programme

The graduate has a detailed knowledge of his / her own scientific issues and understands causal relationships between normal and pathologically altered functions of living objects (human, experimental model). He is able to assess the validity of scientific findings in clinical practice. He is acquainted with basic laboratory methods for scientific research and he is able to process the results, assess their validity, present at domestic and foreign conferences and publish the results in a suitable journal. 

Information about graduate employment 

Graduates of the study programme can be employed as researchers in theoretical and clinical departments, especially in medical faculties, research centres and institutes. Successful study enables them to participate in teaching, especially within the university.

Created: 20. 1. 2012 / Modified: 11. 4. 2022 / Responsible person: ThDr. Jitka Sýkorová, Ph.D.