University of Pittsburgh


Organ System Pathophysiology


April 1, 2019-May 8, 2019
28 half days

Course Director
John Doyle, MD
Associate Professor
Department of Neurology

Course Director
Cynthia Lance-Jones, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Neurology


Course Description

The Neuroscience course provides the first exposure to the organ system approach to pathophysiology. The first of nine such courses, it covers normal and abnormal structure and function of the central nervous system and peripheral innervation of muscle.

The goals of the course are to:

  1. understand the principal structural and functional components of the central nervous system and their vascular supply.
  2. to introduce methods of neuroradiology and imaging techniques important to the study of brain function.
  3. to take a systematic approach to nervous system function and disease by focusing, in turn, on sensory and motor systems, learning, language, diseases that impact cognitive functioning, epilepsy, etc. using exercises to illustrate how normal functional organization is affected by specific types of disease or abnormal process.
  4. to recognize functional manifestations of classic neural disorders, and be able to explain their etiology. 

The 81 faculty are from 11 departments: Anesthesiology, Medicine, Neurobiology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Otolaryngology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Psychiatry, and Radiology.

Educational Methods


Lectures Laboratory exercises Radiology reviews Self-study exercises
Problem-based learning Workshops Clinical conferences    


Curricular Themes

Cancer; Diabetes; Disability and secondary conditions; Infectious disease; Medical genetics; Mental health and mental disorders; Nutrition; Pain management; Rehabilitation/care of the disabled; Substance abuse; Vision and hearing.


Evaluation for the course is determined by two exams, a short essay or self-directed learning exercise, and student participation in workshop and PBL sessions.

Grading: This course comprises 70% of the grade for the Organ Systems Pathophysiology Block, Section 1. Grading for the block is Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.

Faculty Note

Course Director John Doyle, MD, is a recipient of the Clerkship Preceptor of the Year Award. Course Director Cynthia Lance-Jones, PhD, is a recipient of the AAMC Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the Sheldon Adler Award for Innovation in Medical Education, the Kenneth E. Schuit Master Educator Award, and the Excellence in Education Award. Edward A. Burton, MD, is a recipient of the Excellence in Education Award. Robert G. Kaniecki, MD, is a recipient of the Clerkship Preceptor of the Year Award. Bill J. Yates, PhD, is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. In addition, Drs. Lance-Jones is a member of the UPSOM Academy of Master Educators.