Foundations Of Medicine

Academic Year 2024


The Foundations of Medicine course is a certificate course designed to cover the fundamental basic science concepts and principles relevant to study of medicine, with a focus on clinical relevance and preparation for our four-year curriculum. This includes an overview of cell biology, metabolism, genetics and embryology, histology, physiology, immunology, medical microbiology, medical parasitology, pharmacology, and pathology. Upon completion of this course, we will reinforce your understanding of the fundamental principles of biomedical science in preparation for your preclerkship studies.

Course Duration

This course will take place over 9 weeks between 4 June to 31 July 2024.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, you should be:
  • Prepared to apply the foundational concepts learned in this course to your pre-clerkship education and beyond.
  • Confident in your knowledge of basic scientific principles and how it fits into the context of medicine.
  • Knowledgeable about where you can reference and review foundational scientific facts.
  • Become part of a community to study and progress through medicine together.

Course Materials

All necessary resources will be provided online through a learning management system (LMS) including recorded lectures, outlines, textbooks, and quizzes.


Course Format

The course is organized into 9 mini-modules. The course will be mainly self-paced and self-directed with the following components:

1. Recorded lectures : Pre-recorded lectures will be provided. 

2. Content outline : Content outlines and objectives will be provided.

3. Discussion board : You may engage with your classmates and instructors in the class discussion board. You may deposit your questions/ queries in the discussion board. The instructors will respond to questions and pick selected questions to discuss in the live session. 

4. Live sessions :  Live sessions will be conducted as a small group session to personalize your learning and allow you to ask questions and discuss topics of interest with your instructors. Some live sessions will include laboratory and hands-on activities. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions, review the material, and share your thoughts with your lecturers and classmates. The two-hour sessions will be held approximately 2-3 times per week with a hybrid option for students who are abroad. 

5. Quizzes : Quizzes will be used to assess your comprehension of the material and measure your progress. Answers and explanations of selected questions will be provided in the live sessions. A pre- and post-course assessment will also be held.

Course Outline

The course is organized into 9 mini-modules as follows

1. Basic cellular biology: An overview of the fundamental concepts of cell biology, including the building blocks of cells, cellular organization, energetics, organelle function, the role of genes, the central dogma of molecular biology, cellular reproduction, cell signaling, and cellular transport. 

2. Metabolism: Building upon the principles from basic cellular biology, Metabolism will look in depth at different metabolic pathways for carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids, as well as how the human body processes vitamins, reactive oxygen species, and xenobiotics, and how all metabolic pathways are interconnected. 

3. Human development and genetics: An overview of the principles of human genetics, including the concept of a gene, allele, patterns of heredity, genes within a population, epigenetics, patterns of genetic alteration, and methods of detecting such alterations. Human development will cover the transformation of a single cell into an embryo and provide a template for understanding the structure and organization of the human body. 

4. Structure of human tissue: An introduction to the structure of human tissues at a microscopic (histology) level, with an emphasis on anatomic terms and microscopic organization of tissue. 

5. Physiology: An introduction to the principles of human physiology, including homeostasis, membrane transport and membrane potentials, function of synapses, function of muscles, the role of fluids, pressure and volume relationships, and control of metabolism 

6. Immunology: An exploration of the complex cellular and acellular components which constitute the human immune system. This includes components of the innate immune system (cytokines, the complement system, leukocyte function) and adaptive immune system (lymphocyte development, antigen presentation, humoral and cell-mediated immunity), as well as a brief introduction to vaccines and immunodiagnostics. 

7. Microbiology and parasitology: A wide-ranging overview of the basic biology of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses, and parasites that infect and cause human disease. We will cover their effects on human hosts, the host response, and briefly introduce laboratory techniques to detect microorganisms. 

8. Pharmacology: Integrating knowledge from biochemistry and physiology, this is an introduction into the effects of drugs on tissues (pharmacodynamics), how a drug is metabolized (pharmacokinetics), and drugs affecting the autonomic nervous system. 

9. Pathologic basis of disease: An exploration into how the regular function of the body is interrupted by disease processes and the body’s response. This integrates knowledge from cell biology, structure of human tissues, physiology, immunology, and microbiology to illustrate the nature of disease states


Frequently asked questions - Foundations of Medicine course

Is this course required ?

While the Foundations of Medicine course is not required, it is strongly recommended for all incoming students. The course covers the fundamental basic science concepts and principles specifically in areas relevant to study of medicine. As the four-year medical program is very intensive and includes early exposure to clinical medicine, having a strong foundation in medicine allows you to make the most of the program.

Can I take this course even if I’m not enrolled at CU-MEDi ?

At the moment, this course is offered to incoming CU-MEDi students only.

What if I’m overseas and not physically able to attend ?

The Foundations of Medicine course is designed to accommodate students at different locations. The majority of the course material is self-paced and includes videos, powerpoint slides, outlines, and quizzes which can be done at your convenience. Students who are able are encouraged to attend in person, but an additional virtual option by Zoom will be provided.

How many hours per week am I expected to spend on this course ?

You are expected to spend approximately 15-20 hours per week, the majority of which will be self-paced. There will be approximately 2-3 live sessions per week.

Will I get any credit for this course?

The Foundations of Medicine course is a certificate course that does not award academic credit. Upon satisfactory completion, you will be awarded a certificate of completion from the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University.

Who is teaching this course?

The Foundations of Medicine course is organized and taught by expert faculty members of the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University many of whom have decades of teaching experience. Content from our partners may also be included as appropriate.

What is the curriculum structure ?

The Foundations of Medicine course is mainly self-paced and consists of videos and other educational material. There will be approximately 2-3 live sessions with lecturers per week for questions, discussions, and review.

Where will the course be held ?

The course will be mainly self-directed and available online via our learning management platform; however, live sessions will be organized as hybrid learning sessions. A classroom on campus will be provided (depending on local conditions), but you will also be able to join the live sessions virtually. A recording of the live sessions will also be provided afterwards.

Will I have access to the material after the course has ended ?

Definitely! All Foundations of Medicine content will be available for your review throughout the academic year.

When will the course take place?

The Foundations of Medicine course will be held between 4 June to 31 July 2024.


Have you ever imagined being your own personal doctor and managing your own health sitting in front of a TV at home? Testing that once seemed risky out of the hands of medical professionals is now more than ever a touchable reality. The advancement of handheld technology has brought an explosion of personal health gadgets such as smart watches that can monitor heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and calories burned. High-speed internet advances have allowed for the efficient use of mobile phone applications, online consultant services, telemedicine, and even AI therapists. Some laboratory tests can even be ordered from home at the click of the button, with tool kits delivered and results available quickly online. 

Future prospects of healthcare are moving from being doctor-centered to the patient viewpoint. Disease treatments will also expand to lifestyle remedies and coaching and extend out from visits to the hospital to a 24/7 online service. We might see more data doctors, where personal information of patients is streamed through an online platform and managed by professionals behind screens in ‘Care Hubs.’ After analysis of the person’s health data, they can provide individualized consult to each person, and recommend fitness programs that utilize entertainment and games to increase compliance. Personal devices will have bio-sensors to detect critical vital signs like irregular heartbeats and will be able to immediately send alerts to their doctors for any signs of life threatening conditions. Healthcare will be accessible where ever as internet connectivity becomes more and more ubiquitous.