Have you ever wondered how our bodies work?human body image

The fact is that our bodies are an amazing product of billions of years of life on earth. The building blocks of our bodies are cells, small machine like units that are more complex than any man made object. Cells are grouped together to form tissues and organ systems with specialised functions such as absorption of nutrients, uptake of oxygen, excretion of waste, movement, defence, perception. The human body is made up of 11 systems which work with each other

Although we often take our bodies for granted, just like a machine if we do not look after them they can malfunction resulting in disease such as cancer or obesity. Or factors such as genetics, viruses or bacteria can cause our bodies to stop functioning correctly.

In the past 50 years there has been a revolution in the understanding of how our bodies work, with the entire human genetic code being revealed we are set for a revolution in modern medicine. This course aims to reveal what makes our bodies tick and what happens when things go wrong.  

Designed as a course for students of all ages and with different backgrounds and experiences, this course is meant as an introduction for non-specialists who have an interest in medicine and would like to understand better what appears in the press.

NB. This course is not a series of lectures but based on an interactive approach. Films, activities and discussions help to explain the body and its workings.

The following course plan is a guideline only and may well change to reflect the interests of the class.

Course syllabus (subject to change)

  • Week 1: What is life
  • Week 2: The parts of the human body
  • Week 3: Respiratory system
  • Week 4: Cardiovascular system
  • Week 5: Digestive system
  • Week 6: Urinary system
  • Week 7: Skeletal system
  • Week 8: Lymphatic and immune system
  • Week 9: Nervous system

** Christmas break **

  • Week 10: Muscular system
  • Week 11: Reproductive system
  • Week 12: Integumentary system
  • Week 13: Cancer
  • Week 14: Viral infections
  • Week 15: Bacterial infections
  • Week 16: Obesity and diabetes
  • Week 17: Alzheimer's and ageing
  • Week 18: How to keep your body functioning properly
  • Week 19: Modern medicine and its alternatives
  • Week 20: Genome engineering of the human body

About the tutor

Professor Chris Palmer has had a varied and interesting career working on the HIV-1 virus, yeast ion channels, the nervous system and cancer. He has worked at Reading University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Columbia University, Imperial College London and currently London Metropolitan University. His current research interests include advancing our understanding of cancer and pain. He also has interests in herbal and complementary medicine.

Imperial College undergraduates and postgraduates may, if they wish, acquire 2 ECTS credits after successfully completing their Evening Class. To qualify, a student must attend the classes regularly and pass a test at the end of the second term. Students will be invited to apply in the second term to take the test.

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be addressed to the course tutor, Professor Chris Palmer, chris.palmer@londonmet.ac.uk.