Unit description

In Nutrition Physiology the focus is on the dynamic interplay between nutrient availability, and requirement in health, at different life-stages and when health is compromised and the multiple systems that control absorption, assimilation and excretion. This unit builds on the knowledge gained in human physiology and nutrition, particularly nutritional biochemistry.

Unit content

Topic 1: Nutrigenetics/Nutrigenomics: diet, genetic inheritance, epigenetic and trans-generational effects, genetic variations and evidence for the role of supplementation, Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, research tools and ethics. Related drug-nutrient interactions.

Topic 2: Research-based understanding of energy balance, appetite control, over and under-nutrition and the system-wide contribution of adipocytes.

Topic 3: The effects of diet on the physiology of the upper GIT (oral cavity, oesophagus and stomach). Integration of upper GIT function and the physiology that promotes and maintains nutrient intake. The nutritional and physiological consequences of pathology in these organs. Related drug-nutrient interactions.

Topic 4: Secretions of the gall bladder and exocrine pancreas: control, effect and compromise

Topic 5: Impact of dietary and lifestyle choices on liver function with particular reference to non-alcohol related fatty liver disease (NAFLD), chronic hepatitis and bowel microbiota. Related drug-nutrient interactions.

Topic 6: The nutrition physiology of the lower GIT (ilium and colon), evidence relating to a functional role for microbiota and the impact on health and nutrient availability secondary to specific pathologies. Related drug-nutrient interactions.

Topic 7: The role of the kidneys, respiratory and endocrine systems in fluid balance, acid-base and electrolyte balance. An introduction to kidney disease and the effect of diet and lifestyle on morbidity and mortality. Related drug-nutrient interactions.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Prescribed texts

Session 1

  • This is the latest edition of the text. It is also available as an ebook: Nelms, M & Sucher, KP, 2015, Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology, 3rd edn, Cengage, Belmont, CA. ISBN: 9781305111967.
  • This is the old edition, but will still be OK this year. It is available in the Library: 615.854 NUTR: Nelms, M, Sucher, KP, Lacey, K & Roth, SL, 2011, Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology, 2nd edn, Wadsworth: Cengage Learning, Belmont, CA. ISBN: 9781439049624.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.

Teaching and assessment


Teaching method
Lecture on-site 2 hours (12 weeks)
Tutorial on-site 2 hour
Laboratory session 2 hours (Week 8)
Exam: open book30%
Exam: closed book30%

Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2016 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 2

Fee paying courses
For POSTGRADUATE or UNDERGRADUATE full fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees


Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.