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Category I - Biomedical Sciences

Biomedicine - Pharmacology


Anatomy provides a detailed study of the anatomical structures and systems of the human body, with special attention to clinically relevant surface and palpative anatomy. The musculoskeletal, vascular, lymphatic, and nervous systems are studied in depth in order to appreciate the relevance of landmarks and how physical relationships affect function.

Anatomy - Dissection Lab

There will be a six-day intensive cadaver dissection component to the anatomy course, allowing a hands-on opportunity to study the underlying structures of the human body. This vehicle of study of gross anatomy is completed through dissection under the supervision of highly qualified instructors. It is a unique experience that involves the “unwrapping” of the cadaver in whole layers progressing from the skin through to the superficial fascia, muscle and internal organs. This process allows the intricacies of the body as a single inter-related unit to be appreciated.


The biomedicine courses within the biomedical sciences program integrate physiology (including histology and embryology), biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology and laboratory diagnosis in their content. They are taught over the first two years of study.

Biomedicine provides a common framework for describing the structure and functioning of the human body. The rigor of science has, through inquiry based on the scientific method, produced a valuable representation of occurrences in the body. While this science is reductionist, under revision, always disputable and incomplete, it allows detailed insight into processes and relationships that are otherwise invisible to the unaided eye. It thus reframes and provides a descriptive quality to our mental imaging of how the body works.

As a synthesis of several fields of study, the biomedicine courses set out to promote an integrative and holistic view of the basic medical sciences. They provide a comprehensive description of the structure, organization, function and dysfunction of the human body, and ways in which we measure and manipulate these parameters. Increasing levels of complexity are explored as the courses progress from the lives of cells to the dependent relationships found in systems. After reviewing the biochemical nature of molecular building blocks, the cellular incorporation and metabolism of these molecules is followed, providing for the cellular creation of tissues which enable the body to develop, grow and sustain life. Next is an examination of how these tissues are consolidated into organs, which participate in complex interrelated systems that support and allow a body to thrive. A great deal of emphasis is placed on cellular metabolism, as this is where our vitality is defended as homeostatic organisms, and it is usually here that pathology begins.

Biomedicine provides us with an ability to predict potential underlying causes of disease in patients, to create and justify treatment rationale, to learn a common language for use in communicating with other medical professionals, and to hypothesize and potentially research theories on the mechanisms behind naturopathic treatments.

Biomedicine - Biochemistry

The biochemistry component forms the basic language and mechanism of the sciences of physiology, pathology, pharmacology, nutrition and laboratory diagnosis, and addresses the application of biochemistry to naturopathic knowledge and practice. Topics examined in this context include the energetic relationship of molecules; the nature and function of enzymes; cellular regulatory mechanism; metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates; common metabolic pathways; detoxification reactions; acid / alkali balance; vitamin mechanisms and nucleic acids and DNA.

Biomedicine - Laboratory Diagnosis

The laboratory diagnosis component enables students to critically evaluate and apply the results of commonly-used laboratory tests. Tests covered by this section of the course include serological chemistry and haematology, urinalysis, endocrine panels and other analyses that can be used for the purpose of ascertaining body function and disease diagnosis. Related laboratory parameters and disease states are covered in conjunction with each other throughout the biomedicine courses in order to best integrate the information and to facilitate the learning process.

Biomedicine - Pathology

The pathology component affords a scientific study of disease. It examines the etiology and pathophysiology of diseases and the potential for progression and sequelae. Beginning with the study of general pathology, the genetic basis of disease, cellular and tissue responses to injury, inflammation, healing and repair and neoplasia, it then progresses to a systematic discussion of specific diseases of the various organs and organ systems of the body (with greatest emphasis on the most common and clinically relevant disease processes). The pathophysiology of local and systemic changes occurring in the body during illness is discussed to better understand the rationale for methods of diagnosis and treatment in clinical practice.

Biomedicine - Pharmacology

The pharmacology component examines the major groups of allopathic pharmaceuticals, including select nervous system medications (such as those used for depression, mania, epilepsy, sedation etc), antihistamines, anti-asthmatics, analgesics, local anaesthetics, anti-inflammatories, cardiovascular drugs, gastrointestinal drugs, topical drugs and endocrine agents.

Prior to addressing the actions of specific pharmaceuticals, the general principles behind the administration, metabolism, withdrawal and excretion of pharmaceutical agents are discussed. In addition, the federal and provincial (British Columbia) drug schedules are outlined, as are the prescribing regulations for British Columbia.

For each specific pharmaceutical studied, the mechanism of action is detailed and used to determine the therapeutic effects, adverse effects and contra-indications of the drug. In addition, selected unique adverse events that cannot be linked to the mechanism of action are highlighted, as well as selected interactions with other pharmaceutical agents.

Related pharmaceutical agents and disease states are covered in conjunction with each other throughout the biomedicine courses in order to best integrate the information and to facilitate the learning process.

Biomedicine - Physiology

The physiology component provides a comprehensive coverage of the structure, organization and functioning of the human body explored at progressively more complex levels. Beginning at the chemical level of organization, it progresses through the cellular, histological, organic and systemic levels to characterize the body as an interrelated and holistic entity. Systems are covered in a sequence that describes relevant histology, followed by physiological models of function and homeostatic contribution and finally a look at the embryological development of that system. The subject matter of the physiology component is echoed topically by the content of the other components of the Biomedicine courses.

Clinical Diagnosis I-IV (Didactic with Lab)

The clinical diagnosis courses provide an in-depth study of the significance and interpretation of clinical signs and symptoms for the development of diagnostic skills appropriate to the primary care provider. Emphasis is placed on the collection and interpretation of physical/clinical data to arrive at a medical/naturopathic diagnosis. The physical clinical diagnostic components teach the mechanics of the physical examination, introducing the techniques and practices of auscultation, palpation, and observation using appropriate diagnostic tools to identify the physical expression of disease processes.  Understanding the underlying factors which contribute to the development and the early detection of disease are examined. Through lecture, practice and the study of numerous case histories, students develop history taking and physical examination skills, learn to develop diagnostic acumen, cultivate clinical judgment and problem solving abilities, and develop competency in differential diagnosis and assessment.

Microbiology I

Microbiology I examines constructive organization and wholeness in open systems, introducing the Gaia view of the natural world as a whole, organized and self-regulating "super-organism", and looking at the concept of "deep ecology" and its relevance to naturopathic philosophy. A general overview of the biospheric cycles including carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and water are covered. The general health effects of pollution (air, water, soil, electromagnetic etc.), species extinction, climate change, bio-technology and the re-making of nature are discussed.

The theme of constructive organization in the natural world is extended to an introduction to microbiology. Major groups of micro-organisms are identified; archaebacteria, prokaryotes and eukaryotes are explored. Gram-stain and the basic physical elements which differentiate gram positive and gram negative are covered including their antigenic determinants. The major groups which make up gram-positive and gram-negative are covered. An overview of prions and viruses is also included.

The normal resident and transient flora of the skin, conjunctiva, mouth and upper respiratory passages, intestinal tract, urethra and vagina are then examined in relation to their beneficial roles in health and normal function. This is contrasted with some illustrative causes and general effects of abnormal microbial transfer to other localities. The special microbial environments of food and water are considered in relation to infection, pathogenicity, virulence and the role of natural barriers and general immunity in host resistance. The holistic perspective is thus expanded to include the environment and the interface between the individual and the environment as living, dynamic components with both positive and negative health impacts. The course concludes with an exploration of requirements for environmentally sustainable health care and physician-based contributions to environmental health.

Microbiology II

Microbiology II involves the study of various infectious agents and their role in disease in the human body. Transmission, virulence, laboratory identification and diagnosis, pathological presentation and pharmacology of treatment are investigated.


A detailed study of the structure and function of the nervous system. This course expands on the nervous system anatomy covered by the Anatomy courses, and includes the physiology and selected pathologies of the nervous system. Special attention is given to the ascending and descending nerve tracts. The complexities of consciousness, memory, learning and emotion are explored.


Oncology provides an in-depth study into the biology of cancer. It describes the cellular mechanisms involved in the development of cancer and the metabolism of neoplastic tissues. It surveys the clinical investigation, staging, grading, epidemiology and tropism of specific cancers.

Integrative supports for standard chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are detailed. Naturopathic medicine for cancer prevention, therapy, complications and emergencies are given, with a focus on translating science into clinical practice.

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