Quantitative Human Physiology

Quantitative Human Physiology, 1st Edition

An Introduction

Quantitative Human Physiology, 1st Edition,Joseph Feher,ISBN9780123821638


Academic Press

9780123821638 New edition



281 X 222

This text provides the engineering student with a basic understanding of physiological principles with an emphasis on quantitative aspects. It teaches the language of physiology, both qualitative and quantitative, and highlights how component behavior affects system behavior.

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Key Features

  • A quantitative approach that includes physical and chemical principles
  • An integrated approach from first principles, integrating anatomy, molecular biology, biochemistry and physiology. Illustration program reinforces the integrated nature of physiological systems
  • Pedagogically rich, including chapter objectives, chapter summaries, large number of illustrations, and short chapters suitable for single lectures
  • Clinical applications relevant to the biomedical engineering student (TENS, cochlear implants, blood substitutes, etc.)
  • Problem sets provide opportunity for practice and assessment throughout the course.


Quantitative Human Physiology: An Introduction presents a course in quantitative physiology developed for undergraduate students of Biomedical Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University. The text covers all the elements of physiology in nine units: (1) physical and chemical foundations; (2) cell physiology; (3) excitable tissue physiology; (4) neurophysiology; (5) cardiovascular physiology; (6) respiratory physiology; (7) renal physiology; (8) gastrointestinal physiology; and (9) endocrinology. The text makes extensive use of mathematics at the level of calculus and elementary differential equations. Examples and problem sets are provided to facilitate quantitative and analytic understanding, while the clinical applications scattered throughout the text illustrate the rationale behind the topics discussed. This text is written for students with no knowledge of physiology but with a solid background in calculus with elementary differential equations. The text is also useful for instructors with less time; each chapter is intended to be a single lecture and can be read in a single sitting.


undergraduate bioengineering students

Joseph Feher

Ph.D., Cornell University

Dr. Feher is professor of Physiology and Biophysics at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University, and has research interests in the quantitative understanding of the mechanisms of calcium uptake and release by the cardiac sarcoplasmic reticulum, in the mechanisms of calcium transport across the intestine, and in muscle contraction and relaxation. Dr. Feher developed a course in Introductory Quantitative Physiology at VCU and has been course coordinator for more than a decade. He also teaches muscle and cell physiology to medical and graduate students and is course coordinator for the Graduate Physiology survey course in physiology given at VCU’s School of Medicine.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA

Quantitative Human Physiology, 1st Edition



Unit 1 Physical and Chemical Foundations of Physiology

Chapter 1.1 The Core Principles of Physiology

Chapter 1.2 Physical Foundations of Physiology I: Pressure-Driven Flow

Chapter 1.3 Physical Foundations of Physiology II: Electrical Force, Potential, Capacitance, and Current

Problem Set 1.1 Physical Foundations: Pressure and Electrical Forces and Flows

Chapter 1.4 Chemical Foundations of Physiology I: Chemical Energy and Intermolecular Forces

Chapter 1.5 Chemical Foundations of Physiology II: Concentration and Kinetics

Chapter 1.6 Diffusion

Chapter 1.7 Electrochemical Potential and Free Energy

Problem Set 1.2 Kinetics and Diffusion

Unit 2 Membranes, Transport, and Metabolism

Chapter 2.1 Cell Structure

Chapter 2.2 DNA and Protein Synthesis

Chapter 2.3 Protein Structure

Chapter 2.4 Biological Membranes

Problem Set 2.1 Surface Tension, Membrane Structure, Microscopic Resolution, and Cell Fractionation

Chapter 2.5 Passive Transport and Facilitated Diffusion

Chapter 2.6 Active Transport: Pumps and Exchangers

Chapter 2.7 Osmosis and Osmotic Pressure

Problem Set 2.2 Membrane Transport

Chapter 2.8 Cell Signaling

Chapter 2.9 ATP Production I: Glycolysis

Chapter 2.10 ATP Production II: The TCA Cycle and Oxidative Phosphorylation

Chapter 2.11 ATP Production III: Fatty Acid Oxidation and Amino Acid Oxidation

Unit 3 Physiology of Excitable Cells

Chapter 3.1 The Origin of the Resting Membrane Potential

Chapter 3.2 The Action Potential

Chapter 3.3 Propagation of the Action Potential

Problem Set 3.1 Membrane Potential, Action Potential, and Nerve Conduction

Chapter 3.4 Skeletal Muscle Mechanics

Chapter 3.5 Contractile Mechanisms in Skeletal Muscle

Chapter 3.6 The Neuromuscular Junction and Excitation-Contraction Coupling

Chapter 3.7 Muscle Energetics, Fatigue, and Training

Problem Set 3.2 Neuromuscular Transmission, Muscle Force, and Energetics

Chapter 3.8 Smooth Muscle

Unit 4 The Nervous System

Chapter 4.1 Organization of the Nervous System

Chapter 4.2 Cells, Synapses, and Neurotransmitters

Chapter 4.3 Cutaneous Sensory Systems

Chapter 4.4 Spinal Reflexes

Chapter 4.5 Balance and Control of Movement

Problem Set 4.1 Nerve Conduction

Chapter 4.6 The Chemical Senses

Chapter 4.7 Hearing

Chapter 4.8 Vision

Problem Set 4.2 Sensory Transduction

Chapter 4.9 Autonomic Nervous System

Unit 5 The Cardiovascular System

Chapter 5.1 Overview of the Cardiovascular System and the Blood

Chapter 5.2 Plasma and Red Blood Cells

Chapter 5.3 White Blood Cells and Inflammation

Chapter 5.4 The Heart as a Pump

Problem Set 5.1 Blood

Chapter 5.5 The Cardiac Action Potential

Chapter 5.6 The Electrocardiogram

Chapter 5.7 The Cellular Basis of Cardiac Contractility

Chapter 5.8 The Cardiac Function Curve

Problem Set 5.2 Cardiac Work

Chapter 5.9 Vascular Function: Hemodynamics

Chapter 5.10 The Microcirculation and Solute Exchange

Chapter 5.11 Regulation of Perfusion

Chapter 5.12 Integration of Cardiac Output and Venous Return

Chapter 5.13 Regulation of Arterial Pressure

Problem Set 5.3 Hemodynamics and Microcirculation

Unit 6 Respiratory Physiology

Chapter 6.1 The Mechanics of Breathing

Chapter 6.2 Lung Volumes and Airway Resistance

Chapter 6.3 Gas Exchange in the Lungs

Problem Set 6.1 Airway Resistance and Alveolar Gas Exchange

Chapter 6.4 Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Transport

Chapter 6.5 Acid-Base Physiology I: The Bicarbonate Buffer System and Respiratory Compensation

Chapter 6.6 Control of Ventilation

Problem Set 6.2 Gas Transport and pH Disturbances

Unit 7 Renal Physiology

Chapter 7.1 Body Fluid Compartments

Chapter 7.2 Functional Anatomy of the Kidneys and Overview of Kidney Function

Chapter 7.3 Glomerular Filtration

Problem Set 7.1 Fluid Volumes, Glomerular Filtration, and Clearance

Chapter 7.4 Tubular Reabsorption and Secretion

Chapter 7.5 Mechanism of Concentration and Dilution of Urine

Chapter 7.6 Regulation of Fluid and Electrolyte Balance

Chapter 7.7 Renal Component of Acid-Base Balance

Problem Set 7.2 Fluid and Electrolyte Balance and Acid-Base Balance

Unit 8 Gastrointestinal Physiology

Chapter 8.1 Mouth and Esophagus

Chapter 8.2 The Stomach

Chapter 8.3 Intestinal and Colonic Motility

Chapter 8.4 Pancreatic and Biliary Secretion

Chapter 8.5 Digestion and Absorption of the Macronutrients

Chapter 8.6 Energy Balance and Regulation of Food Intake

Problem Set 8.1 Energy Balance

Unit 9 Endocrine Physiology

Chapter 9.1 General Principles of Endocrinology

Chapter 9.2 Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland

Chapter 9.3 The Thyroid Gland

Chapter 9.4 The Endocrine Pancreas and Control of Blood Glucose

Chapter 9.5 The Adrenal Cortex

Chapter 9.6 The Adrenal Medulla and Integration of Metabolic Control

Chapter 9.7 Calcium and Phosphorus Homeostasis I: The Calcitropic Hormones

Chapter 9.8 Calcium and Phosphorus Homeostasis II: Target Tissues and Integrated Control

Chapter 9.9 Female Reproductive Physiology

Chapter 9.10 Male Reproductive Physiology

Problem Set 9.1 Ligand Binding

Appendix I Important Equations

Appendix II Important Physical Constants for Physiology


Quotes and reviews

".. in terms of what is out there this book provides the best mix I have seen thus far of balancing the two aspects of "quantitative" "physiology" - Professor Sean Collins at University of Massachusetts - Lowell


"It would be quite useful for engineers who want to ply their trade in the physiological sciences.....  I have been looking for this kind of book for a long time. I am going to show it also to more of my mathematical colleagues. I am still evaluating it and reading it myself-but I love the approach. The author needs to be congratulated for a masterpiece of a work." - Professor Lawrence Basso, MD, Stanford University


"This book is long-overdue for combined teaching of a course that moves from cellular to systems physiology that truly integrates the quantitation with the physiology. It is an extremely easily read book that covers all aspects of physiology, from the mathematical concepts that underlie how human physiology functions to medically-related diseases and conditions, as well as current medical treatments. I plan to utilize this book for upper level undergraduate biomedical engineering students in sensory and quantitative physiology, as well as for advanced graduate students in a pharmacological and physiological PhD program in medical school, with appropriate emphasis from the book for each student group according to their needs and abilities." - Amy B. Harkins, Associate Professor, Saint Louis University


“Complements to Dr. Feher—the book is excellent and the students are benefiting.” - Dr. David Reinkensmeyer, University of California, Irvine

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