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Educational Innovation In Physiology

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Simulation Courses & BME Laboratories

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.464.1 - 8.464.7



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Paper Authors

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Safa Sadeghpour

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Ragu Vijaykumar

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Mark A. D'Avila

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Joseph V. Bonventre

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Heather Gunter

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1309

Educational Innovation in Physiology: Capillary Filtration

Heather E. Gunter1,2, Mark A. D’Avila2, Safa Sadeghpour2,3, Ragu Vijaykumar4, Joseph V. Bonventre2 1 Division of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Harvard University / 2 Harvard – MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology / 3 Department of Brain and Cognitive Science, MIT / 4 Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, MIT


The concepts underlying capillary filtration are fundamental topics in physiology courses taught to medical students and undergraduate and graduate biomedical engineering students. Students report anecdotally that this material is difficult to master. Furthermore overall student exam performance does not correlate with performance on questions regarding capillary filtration. A module that presents capillary filtration in the context of glomerular filtration is being developed as part of the Vanderbilt-Northwestern-Texas-Harvard/MIT Engineering (education) Research Center (VaNTH ERC) sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Module design is based on the learning and teaching principles outlined in How People Learn1 and the goals of the VaNTH ERC. The content is delivered through a lecture, computer tutorials and a small group learning session such that the amount of time spent on the material in class and out of class is no different from time spent during previous course offerings. A computer simulation of capillary filtration that permits manipulation of independent variables while displaying the dependent variables is the cornerstone of the module and is used in the lecture, tutorials and small group sessions. Development of simulations of renal blood flow dynamics, filtration forces and sieving curves, a web interface that promotes meaningful interaction with the simulations and supporting materials is ongoing. The module is being implemented in a Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology course during the Spring 2003 semester. Student learning and understanding will be assessed through analysis of student responses to knowledge based exam questions. The effectiveness of the module will be evaluated through comparing these data with baseline assessment data that was collected during previous course offerings.


Capillary filtration is an important topic in the fields of renal physiology, cardiovascular physiology and biomedical transport. Quantitative analyses of the variables and mechanisms involved provide an explanation for pathophysiological states such as edema due to congestive heart failure and azotemia due to renal failure, can be immediately applied to the design of treatments for these states such as drugs that counteract the effects of heart failure and dialysis techniques that counteract the effects of renal failure and can be secondarily applied to other designs involving passive membrane transport such as bioreactor design. Capillary filtration has

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Sadeghpour, S., & Vijaykumar, R., & D'Avila, M. A., & Bonventre, J. V., & Gunter, H. (2003, June), Educational Innovation In Physiology Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12652

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