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The objective of the Physiology and Biophysics doctoral program is to provide opportunities for students to become skilled in the basic principles of physiology, to master the techniques needed to carry out significant research, and to develop the ability to communicate research achievements and knowledge to others. With this in mind, the department offers opportunities for research and teaching in well-equipped facilities and in a departmental setting where interaction with faculty and fellow students is promoted.

The research disciplines most prominently represented in the department are cardiovascular, endocrine, renal, membrane biophysics and neuroscience. Research projects are being carried out in such diverse areas as membrane biophysics, molecular mechanisms of ionic homeostasis, cardiac metabolism, renal transport systems, cerebral function, blood-brain barrier transport, neuroendocrinology, aging, etc.

Career Potential: Physiologists today are faced with considerable challenges. The mechanisms involved in normal functioning of living organisms and their role in the production of, or adaptation to disease are explored. The approaches used to study these mechanisms are widely divergent; they run from microelectrode and cellular transport studies to behavioral training to molecular biology. Knowledge of normal and abnormal human physiology forms the basis of modern medicine. As the demand for medically qualified individuals and for better forms of medical treatment continue, well-trained physiologists have wide-ranging opportunities for research and teaching.

The primary job market for physiologists today lies in the realm of higher education, either as an undergraduate or post graduate faculty member. In the former, the responsibilities are primarily related to teaching. In a professional or graduate school, teaching is combined with research. However, alternative career opportunities in research institutes and drug development are available to the candidate with a Ph.D. degree, depending on research interests and training. Postdoctoral research experience is helpful for attaining an academic appointment. The challenge of discovery involved in research, combined with the personal interaction and intellectual stimulation from scientific colleagues and students, make the role of physiologist an extremely rewarding career.

Recent graduates of the department have all found employment in their specialized fields, primarily in medical school settings. While employment cannot be guaranteed, the department does assist its graduates by seeking out and maintaining information on available positions.