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CRSS 454 Cardiovascular Sciences

CRSS 454 Cardiovascular Sciences

 Fall 2023 (Blended & Online), Winter 2024 (Blended & Online)
 Year 4 Optional Course
 9-10 hours/week
 3 units
On-Campus Course
Online Course

CRSS 454, Cardiovascular Sciences, will cover the study of the physiology, pharmacology, and anatomy of the cardiovascular system. Topics include integrative mechanisms and pharmacotherapy involved in short-term and long-term control of the circulation in health and disease.

Minimum 4th year (Level 4) standing and registration in a LISC Major or Specialization Plan, or Bachelor of Health Sciences program, and a GPA of 2.50, or permission from the instructor.

LISC 454/3.0


After completing CRSS 454, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the time course of changes in the components that make up the baroreceptor reflex as a consequence of short term changes in blood pressure.
  2. Critically evaluate a scientific study to present the key findings and how they apply to the mechanisms of short term and long term control of the circulation.
  3. Identify a gap in knowledge regarding a lifestyle intervention that could potentially impact on blood pressure chronically in order to design a novel study to test a hypothesis. 
  4. Explain the mechanistic basis and the time-course of alterations within the cardiovascular system (e.g. BP, heart rate, etc.) produced during and after a therapeutic intervention.
  1. Communicator
  2. Advocate
  3. Leader
  4. Scholar
  5. Professional
  6. Collaborator

All assessments will be graded using marking rubrics.

Assessment 1 – Experimental Design (15%)

Students will research, design, and present a research study proposal that will both identify and address a gap in knowledge regarding lifestyle factors that impact blood pressure. Students will be instructed to first extensively review the literature and identify a particular gap in knowledge, and then design an intervention based on this. Students will be expected to identify the limitations of their study and discuss how these limitations would be minimized in practice.

Assessment 2 – Group Presentation and Discussion (25%)

Working in small groups, students will read an original paper and present its findings to the rest of the group, emphasizing how the data obtained in each study fits into the conceptual framework being developed in the course. Another group will be assigned as “discussants” of the presentation and will be responsible for leading and managing a class discussion following the presentation, including coordinating the flow and consolidation of questions. Students not presenting or acting as discussants will need to submit questions preceding the presentation of each presentation to provide the discussants with questions to ask the presenting group. Following each presentation, a short multiple choice quiz on the key concepts of the papers will be conducted by each student.

Assessment 3 – Midterm Exam Presentation (20%)

Students will work to critically assess the results of a hypothetical short term experiment (up to 4 days). Using knowledge gained in the course, students will have to discuss the time course of changes of various control systems and tissue responses that occur between the onset of a perturbation and the “steady-state” in response to a scenario based on changes in blood pressure data. Students will present their findings detailing the mechanistic basis for the time course of changes and the associated consequences by preparing a recorded presentation (max. 12 minutes).

Assessment 4 – Final Exam (40%)

Students will use information learned throughout the course to discuss the time course of changes of various control systems and tissue responses that occur between the onset of a perturbation and the “steady-state” in response to a longer duration and more detailed scenario. Students will be expected to demonstrate their comprehensive grasp of the course material by explaining the involvement of the relevant mechanisms and processes.

Synchronous discussions allowing for question and answer periods with both the Instructors and TAs will be available to the students throughout the course.

9–10 hours a week (108–120 hours per term).

Required Texts

  • CRSS 454 course notes via modules posted online

Optional Text

  • Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology, 13th Edition