You are here: Home Undergraduate Portal Academic Planning Resources Syllabi BIOL 473 Tomicek

BIOL 473 Tomicek

Main Content

Instructor Nanette J. Tomicek, Ph.D

Office Phone 814-865-3171

Office Address 005 Thomas

Office Hours by appointment only


Start Date 1/20/15

Required Text

Physiology Laboratory Manual (2nd ed.) by John R. Waters and Nanette J. Tomicek. Hayden-McNeil Publishing ISBN 978-073806850-3

Suggested Text

Human Physiology An Integrated Approach- Silverthorn

Course Objectives

Analyze data collected in the classroom, summarize your findings, and discuss your results in terms of negative feedback and other physiologic mechanisms covered in Bio 472 and Bio 473.

Write clear and concise laboratory reports, using Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections as assigned, with appropriate statistical analyses and no grammatical errors.

Describe negative feedback loops and other physiologic mechanisms of the nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, and reproductive systems.

Review articles from the primary literature, summarize research findings, and present the results to your lab section.

Study journal articles, identify the hypotheses, describe the methods, and analyze the results.

Perform a rodent survival surgery using correct pre-surgical preparation, aseptic and surgical techniques, and post-surgical monitoring.

Participate fully in all laboratory activities, maintain a safe and cordial environment, and follow all laboratory protocols and policies.


Students will understand and integrate physiologic concepts at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, system, and organismal levels.

Students will continue to develop their ability to write scientific papers.

Students will study and discuss journal articles.

Students will develop laboratory bench skills.

Students will demonstrate respect for laboratory animals.

Tentative Schedule

You should be reviewing your physiology and reading the introductions for each experiment in the lab book BEFORE coming to class.

Tentative Schedule

You should be reviewing your physiology and reading the introductions for each experiment in the lab book BEFORE coming to class.


3 hour Lab Exercise:

50 min meeting


Jan. 12- 16

Lab is Cancelled

Class is Cancelled


Jan. 19-23

Sections 7 and 9 report to lab

Sections 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,10 Cancelled

Sections 7 and 9  cancelled (MLK)

Sections 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,10 report to class

Pick presentation dates.

Jan. 26 -30

Electroencephalography (EEG) and action potentials in the sciatic nerve

2 presentations on Nervous system

EEG/Sciatic Nerve write up assigned

Feb. 2-6

Electromyography (EMG) and Frog Neuromuscular Junction lab

2 presentations on Nervous system or Skeletal Muscle QUIZ 1

EEG/Sciatic Nerve write up report due (10 points)


Cardiac Activity (Frog heart)

2 presentations on Autonomic Nervous System QUIZ 2

Cardiac Activity write up assigned

Feb. 16-20

Survival surgery training I

2 presentations on Surgery or Immune QUIZ 3

Cardiac Activity write up report due (10 points)

Prepare for Surgical licensure Exam.

Feb. 23-27

Survival surgery training II

Surgical licensure Exam-20 points. Test I Review

2 presentations on reproductive QUIZ 4


Mar. 3-6

Reproductive Endocrinology I (survival surgery)


Reproductive endocrinology formal lab assigned.

Mar. 9-13

Spring Break No Class




Water Balance and Renal Physiology

  1. Please avoid alcohol and caffeine for eight hours before your lab period. Alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs interfere with normal kidney function.
  2. At the beginning of lab, everyone will drink one liter (about a quart - the equivalent of two red plastic solo cups you might see at parties sometimes) of water, soda, or juice. Only three people in each section will drink soda or juice. Everyone else will drink tap water. We will provide the soda and juice. If you prefer not to drink tap water from the water fountain, you are welcome to bring your own bottled water 1 liter (1000 ml).

Right before you come to lab, please make it a point to go to a bathroom and empty your bladder.

2 presentations on renal


Renal write up assigned

Mar. 23-27

Reproductive Endocrinology II (necropsy)


2 presentations on reproductive or endocrine QUIZ 6

Renal write up due  (10 points)

Mar. 30- Apr. -3

Heart Sounds, Blood Pressure / Electrocardiography (ECG) and Hemodynamics

2 presentations on cardiovascular QUIZ 7


Apr. 6-10

Respiratory Volumes, Lung Mechanics, and pH Regulation

TAs - Assign Ex-Phys jobs

2 presentations on respiratory or homeostasis QUIZ 8

Reproductive Endocrinology lab due- (20 points)

Apr. 13-17

Exercise Physiology



Exercise Physiology formal lab assigned (20 points)

Apr. 20-24


TA evaluations


Apr. 27- May 2



Exercise Physiology formal lab due (20 points)

Grading Policy

Your grade will be based on the assignments and participation points listed below. Please read the description of each assignment carefully. There is no extra credit of any kind.





3 laboratory write ups



2 formal lab reports



2 Theory exams



Oral Presentation



Best 8 out of 9 Oral Presentation Quizzes



Laboratory participation points




2 part Surgical Licensure Exam pass/fail








Final grades will follow a standard curve where: A =92%; A- =90%; B+ =88%; B =82%;
B- =80%; C+=78%; C=70%; D=60%; and F= anything less than 60%.

Writing Assignments

There will be 5 writing assignments during the semester. You are encouraged to discuss the laboratories with your lab partners, but remember that the actual writing part must be done individually. Any papers that are not original works will be treated as plagiarism. You can have any writing assignment reviewed by a TA before you hand it in for a grade. There is no reason not to get an A on any writing assignment. Please keep the following points in mind while planning your assignments.

TAs will only review assignments during office hours. It would be best then to start the assignment as soon as possible so that the material is fresh in your mind and you will have time to show it to your TA and make revisions. Do not wait until the last minute. Remember that your TA has other classes and responsibilities, and is not at your disposal 24 hours per day.

The TAs do NOT have time to review a first draft of your report. As college students, we expect your reports to be free of grammar, style, and spelling errors before you bring them in for review. Your TA should be reading a third or fourth draft, NOT a first draft. Consider the time your TA spends on your report as a chance to get feedback on how you have addressed the physiologic concepts.

If you need help with grammar, style, or spelling, take your report to one of Penn State's Undergraduate Writing Centers BEFORE showing it to your TA (If you bring a report to your TA with significant grammar, style, or spelling errors, your TA may reject your report, and not provide any feedback until you have addressed the other errors.) You are welcome to talk with Biol. 473 TAs from other sections instead of your own TA, but remember that they will not be grading your assignments, and your TA is not bound by anything another TA tells you. However, all TAs are happy to try to help you as much as possible. If you are having any problems that cannot be solved by a TA, please feel free to see the laboratory coordinator. All writing assignments (including drafts given to your TA for review) must be typewritten and double spaced with a one inch margin all around. Do not use any font smaller than 11 pt. If the assignment is longer than a single page, the pages must be stapled in the upper left corner. All assignments must include the name of the author. Any assignment that does not meet these criteria may be returned ungraded and you will receive a zero for that assignment.


Your TA will grade all of your tests and assignments. If you feel that you have been graded unfairly, discuss the matter with your TA first. If the two of you cannot come to an agreement, you may submit the assignment to the laboratory coordinator to be re-graded. Please note the following conditions for all assignments submitted for regrading.

The test/assignment must be handed in to the laboratory coordinator within one week of the day it was handed back to the class.

A type written sheet explaining what item(s) is/are to be re-graded and why you think that you

should receive the points must be stapled to the original test/assignment. Do not write your explanation in the margins of the original assignment.

Any re-grade that does not meet the above conditions will be returned to you unread with no opportunity to be resubmitted.

The laboratory coordinator reserves the right to re-grade the entire test/assignment. If your TA was generous while grading other sections of the assignment, it is possible for your grade to go down. The re-grade on any test/assignment will be the final grade on that assignment.

Late Assignments and Make-ups

One point or ten percent (whichever is greater) will be deducted for each day that an assignment is late. Crashing hard drives, damaged disks, and malfunctioning printers have become as common as homework eating dogs when assignments are due. None are acceptable excuses for turning in work late. Make back-ups of all of your work. Notify your TA immediately (before the due date) if you are having any problems. If you must legitimately miss a test, notify your TA or the laboratory coordinator ahead of time.

Attendance Policy

This physiology laboratory is designed as a "hands-on" course, and all students receiving a grade for the course are expected to participate fully in all laboratory exercises. The participation points will be awarded for active participation. At the end of the semester, your TA will look at his or her records to determine your overall participation. Excellent participation will be awarded 19-20 points, good participation will be awarded 17-18 points, mediocre participation will be awarded 14-16 points, etc. If you miss more than one or two laboratory periods, you can expect to receive 10 or fewer participation points. Your TA has the discretion to deduct additional points for coming to class late or leaving early, failing to follow directions (especially when we are using animals or their tissues), coming to class poorly prepared, academic integrity, or other issues approved by the laboratory coordinator. If you must arrive to a laboratory late or leave early, notify your TA ahead of time. If you do not notify your TA, or if arriving late/leaving early becomes excessive, one point may be taken off of your assignment grade or participation points the first time, two points the second time, and so forth. Students with medical/physical disabilities, which prohibit their participation in physical education classes, may be exempted from participating in certain labs due to their active nature. Please talk with your TA or the laboratory coordinator if you have any concerns about participating in a laboratory. With advance warning, we can often make some sort of accommodation.

Attending laboratory is mandatory.

We expect you to attend your regularly scheduled lab section. Activities that conflict with your scheduled lab section, like rushing sororities, fraternities, and participating in THON are extracurricular activities. These can be an important part of some students' college experience, but they do not have priority over your academic responsibilities. The students coordinating these programs understand that too, and they will work with you if you must miss one of their meetings to attend your scheduled classes. In fact, even your professors in other courses who want to give an evening exam must arrange an alternative for you if you have a scheduled evening course. NO ONE CAN FORCE YOU TO MISS A REGULARLY SCHEDULED CLASS.

Please remember that earning your degree is the number one reason you are working so hard as a Penn State student. It is also unfair to the other students in the course to crowd their lab section with extra students who do not want to attend their assigned section. With almost 100 lab sections and over1800 students in the Anatomy and Physiology labs each year, we cannot accommodate all of the requests we receive. The TAs do the best they can to try to help you out, but our lab courses are too big and our lab activities are too complex to accommodate all of your personal and extracurricular schedules. Please work with your organization or instructors to arrange some sort of alternative if there is a meeting that conflicts with our class. The TAs and I expect you to attend your regularly scheduled lab section.

If you must miss a laboratory, contact your TA before your lab meets. TA contact information is listed under the Lessons tab in Angel. If you must miss a lab, you can work with your TA to schedule a different laboratory section that week. You MUST have your TA's permission to attend another lab period. Walk-ins not approved by your TA, are NOT allowed. If it is not possible to contact your TA before your absence, then contact your TA before the next regularly scheduled lab period.

Please Note: As adults, it is your responsibility to provide reasonable verification of an absence; each situation is unique, and we are flexible. Remember that University Health Services will not provide you with a note for minor illnesses. Documentation of illness, car trouble, etc. may be requested for absences that were not pre-approved. Absences for interviews, appointments, etc. are permitted but must be approved ahead of time.

In the case of EXCUSED absences where you were not present for a quiz, you must schedule a make-up quiz with your TA BEFORE the end of that week (the Friday immediately following your absence). If you do not make up a quiz before the end of the week, then the missed quiz will be one of your dropped quiz grades.

In the case of EXCUSED absences where you miss a lab, and then have to turn in a report on that lab, your TA will deduct two letter grades (20%) from that lab report.

If your absence is UNEXCUSED, your TA may not accept any report or work assigned that day and/or any assignment due that day. You would therefore receive a zero for those quizzes and assignments. Please remember that by enrolling in your Biol. 473 section, you are making a commitment to attend the laboratory at that time. If you decide that you need to be somewhere other than lab when your lab is scheduled to meet, and you do not or cannot speak with your TA to make some alternate arrangement, then we expect that you are prepared to accept the consequences of your choice, such as points deducted from assignments or your participation grade.

Please remember that by enrolling in your Biol. 473 section, you are making a commitment to attend the laboratory at that time. If you decide that you need to be somewhere other than lab when your lab is scheduled to meet, and you do not or cannot speak with your TA to make some alternate arrangement, then we expect that you are prepared to accept the consequences of your choice, such as points deducted from assignments or your participation grade.

Exam Policy

The two major exams (40 points each) will primarily cover the material you have been studying in the labs. If you miss an exam, you will receive a score of “0” points. A make-up exam will be administered only if an instructor excused the absence beforehand. Documentation in the form of a note from Health Services, receipts, etc. may be necessary. Please speak with your TA ahead of time about acceptable documentation. Please note: Make-up exams, conflict exams, and exams given under other special circumstances must often be hand graded. If you are allowed to take such an exam, there is a chance that it will not be graded until the end of the semester.

Pre-surgical Exam

You will perform a survival surgery this semester as part of a reproductive endocrinology laboratory exercise. The success or failure of the survival surgeries depends on your lab group’s ability to work as a team. You will be trained in basic surgical principals such as pre and postoperative care of your animal, anesthesia, sterile technique, and surgical procedures. Each member of your lab group will have specific tasks to perform. Your TA will use the pre-surgical exam to determine if all members of your lab group are prepared to work as a surgical team. The exam will include both a written portion, and a practical portion where a TA will evaluate your group’s ability to work together to solve problems that may arise during a surgery. The written portion is a test that will be graded for every individual. The practical portion is a group-grade (all members of your team will receive the same grade). In order to participate in the surgery, everyone in your team must score at least 80% on both the written and practical portions (the grades from the two portions will not be averaged). A passing grade on each of these portions is considered 80%. If you earn 80% or higher on a portion of the exam, you will receive 10 points for that portion. If you earn less than 80% on a portion of the exam, then you will receive 0 points for that portion. If you pay attention in lab, study, and take this seriously, you should have no problem earning all 20 pts. Anyone not meeting these criteria will not be allowed to participate in the survival surgeries (you are allowed to observe though) and will lose participation points as well. To ensure the welfare of the animals, all surgical teams must have at least four members. It is therefore possible that one group member that fails to take this seriously can keep the other three group members from participating – even if the other three group members scored 80% or higher on the licensure exam. This is necessary to ensure the welfare of the animals during the surgeries.

Oral Presentations

Everyone will make one oral presentation during the semester. You will give a 15 min talk presenting Primary Literature from a peer reviewed journal article.The topic depends on the date you sign up to present. You should choose a paper 10-14 days before you present so that your TA has time to approve it. Each presentation will be 12-15 minutes long with five minutes for questions. All presentations must be prepared in Powerpoint. There are additional guidelines for the presentation available on the Angel course web site.

Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty is not limited to simply cheating on an exam or assignment. The following is quoted directly from the "PSU Faculty Senate Policies for Students" regarding academic integrity and academic dishonesty: "Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception and is an educational objective of this institution. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students."

All University and Eberly College of Science policies regarding academic integrity/academic dishonesty apply to this course and the students enrolled in this course. Refer to the following URL for further details on the academic integrity policies of the Eberly College of Science. Each student in this course is expected to work entirely on her/his own while taking any exam, to complete assignments on her/his own effort without the assistance of others unless directed otherwise by the instructor, and to abide by University and Eberly College of Science policies about academic integrity and academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty can result in assignment of "F" by the course instructors or "XF" by Judicial Affairs as the final grade for the student. Academic dishonesty (in any form), will not be tolerated in this course.

Sanctions may include all or just part of the following:

1. an F on a particular paper or exam,

2. letters describing the infraction being placed in a file kept by the Academic Integrity Committee in the Eberly College of Science (Note: all colleges at Penn State have an Academic Integrity Committee, and files are routinely requested from other colleges during an investigation),

3. referral to the Office of Judicial Affairs,

4. an F or XF (disciplinary F grade) for the course.

When you are completing writing assignments for this course, it is important to remember that your instructors expect you to do your own work. Lab partners may not turn in the same assignment. You are

expected to work on your assignments individually. Each person's assignment should be an original work (this includes graphs and figures). Be careful not to turn in assignments that appear to be your own

work, but actually paraphrase another student's work, the lab book, or a text book (this includes using other people's work as "templates" to get you started). Please speak with your TA or the laboratory coordinator if you have any questions.

Disciplinary Issues

All of the students and the instructors in this course are expected to work together to maintain a safe learning environment. Anyone caught entering a laboratory or office without authorization, stealing anything from the laboratories, damaging laboratory equipment/supplies furnishings, or treating any member of the laboratory with disrespect or in a harassing or hostile manner can expect to be removed from the course, assigned an F for the course, and have the matter referred as appropriate to the Office of Judicial Affairs and/or Police Services.

Animal Use

In this laboratory, you will use both frogs and rats during the semester. The purpose of using animals in laboratory experiments is to provide you with the opportunity to handle living animals and observe directly the response of specific body systems to various environmental stimuli and experimental procedures. This type of learning experience cannot be provided by film/video, computer simulations, or preserved animal material. 7 All experiments using animals in this course have been approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at Penn State University, which is reviewed annually by the United State’s Department of Agriculture (USDA) to confirm that the terms set by federal laws such as the Animal Welfare Act are followed. All of the TAs in this course have received training in animal handling, anesthesia, surgery, post-operative care, and euthanasia. In the event that you have any questions or concerns regarding animal use in the physiology laboratories that cannot be answered by your TA, please feel free to speak with Dr. Tomicek.  If there is a situation where you feel that speaking with Dr. Tomicek is not enough, you should contact the Office for Regulatory Compliance (201 Kern Building, 865-1775). You can get more information about registering animal use concerns from the Office for Regulatory Compliance website. Anyone that needlessly causes an animal stress/pain, or fails to treat a living or euthanized animal with respect will be removed from the laboratory and may receive an “F” for that laboratory.

Classroom Courtesy and Cell Phones

If you have a question during the laboratory, please do not hesitate to raise your hand. Out of courtesy to your classmates and instructor, please do not engage in private conversation while your TA is addressing the class. If you carry a cell phone, please turn the ringer off. You are not allowed to use cell phones (even just to check text or voice messages) in class. NO electronic equipment may be used during a test unless specifically authorized by the instructor. If there is an urgent reason for you to receive a message, discuss the matter with the laboratory coordinator or your TA before class. Students that disrupt the class with cell phones or any other means of electronic communication will have participation points deducted from their final grade.

Disability Policy

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic adjustments in this course, contact the Office for Disability Services (ODS) at 814-863-1807 (V/TTY). For further information regarding ODS, please visit the Office for Disability Services Web site. In order to receive consideration for course accommodations, you must contact ODS and provide documentation (see the documentation guidelines). If the documentation supports the need for academic adjustments, ODS will provide a letter identifying appropriate academic adjustments. Please share this letter and discuss the adjustments with your instructor as early in the course as possible. You must contact ODS and request academic adjustment letters at the beginning of each semester


Personal Extenuating Circumstances

If you are in any situation or are having any problem that is preventing you from performing to your full potential, please see your TA or Dr. Tomicek immediately. It is much easier to find solutions earlier rather than later. If necessary, we can provide you with referrals to other resources available to you. Unfortunately, students often wait until they fail an exam or until the last part of the course to speak with their instructors, and by then it is usually too late to change a grade or make much of a difference. Please come to see us if you need any assistance. If there is some extenuating circumstance in your life that results in an unusually low exam score, please see your TA or Dr. Schilder no later than one week after you receive your test score. It is your responsibility to notify us of any circumstances that are affecting your grade. Changes to the Syllabus and Course Announcements If there are any changes to the syllabus, we will post an announcement on the course website and try to make an announcement in class. You are responsible for keeping up to date on all course announcements.

Questions and Concerns

If possible, see your TA first with questions concerning the information covered in laboratory or the daily operation of your laboratory section. If your question is not resolved, or if you have other concerns that you would rather discuss with the laboratory coordinator, please feel free to contact: Dr. Nanette J. Tomicek 005 Thomas