Physiology (Ph.D.) Program Details

Degree Requirements

    ❱   Required coursework
    ❱   Qualifying or comprehensive examination
    ❱   Graduate School writing proficiency requirement
    ❱   Graduate School Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement
    ❱   Publication of research paper in a scientific journal
    ❱   Dissertation
    ❱   Final oral examination/Dissertation defense

Research Specializations

    ❱   Neurophysiology
    ❱   Cardiovascular physiology
    ❱   Renal physiology
    ❱   Respiratory physiology
    ❱   Endocrine physiology
    ❱   Gastrointestinal physiology

Laboratory Rotations  

Students complete three (3) laboratory rotations, for six weeks each, before the fall semester of the second year in the graduate program. The purpose of the rotations is to introduce students to the different areas of research conducted by the faculty.

Research Areas & Interests 

Faculty Research Interests

A sampling of research interests

  • Impact of genetic variations in exercise-induced neuroprotective mechanisms
  • multimodal synaptic integration in the auditory system
  • Role of kidney function in age-related salt-sensitive hypertension
  • Altered neurodevelopment in models of fetal alcohol exposure, pediatric HIV infection, and post-natal Zika-infection
  • Cardiomyopathies related to volume-overload, alcohol, and cART-HIV treatment
  • The mechanistic role of chemokines such as CXCL12-CXCR4 and/or CXCR7 signaling in the pathophysiology of heart disease
  • Neurobiology of epilepsy, alcohol withdrawal seizures, and prenatal alcohol exposure-related seizures
  • Kidney regulation of the extracellular fluid during normal and inflammatory conditions, including chronic kidney disease
  • Central respiratory chemosensitivity and neurochemical control of breathing with an emphasis on CO2/H+ and hypoxic modulation of ventilation
  • Intersecting regulatory pathways for hepatic glucose and lipid metabolism in different insulin-resistant states
  • Pregnancy-related disorders such as gestational diabetes mellitus and their long-term impact on maternal and offspring health and diseases such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases by placental and fetal programming
  • Mechanisms that underlie neurological and neurodegenerative processes associated with brain aging
  • Role of DNA repair and oxidative damage pathways in the olfactory system in animal models and human subjects with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Space-time coordination of postural control mechanisms and cognitive processing of active versus passive movement generation (visual-vestibular interaction)

Program of Study*


PHSI 206  Neurophysiology

PHSI 282  Physiology of Homeostasis

PHSI 252  Cellular and Molecular Physiology

PHSI 204   Advanced Mammalian Physiology

PHSI 202   Advanced Physiology Seminar

BIOC 101  Biochemistry

BIOG 430  Biostatistics

PHSI 302   Special Problems in Physiology

PHSI 200   Research in Physiology**

**Note: 1 to 9 credit hours may be awarded per semester for this course. A maximum of nine credit hours may be awarded for this course toward degree completion.


A sampling of elective courses

BIOC 208  Protein Structure & Function   

BIOC 270 Molecular Biology

BIOC 272 Metabolic Regulation

BIOG 421  Virology

BIOG 426 Food Microbiology 

CHEG 430 Nanomaterials

GENE 223 Human Genetics

HEG 425 Intro to Biomedical Engineering

MICR 304  Cell Molecular Immunology

PHAR 219  Graduate Biomedical Informatics

PHSC 314  Pharmacokinetics

PHSC 319  Making Medicines

PSYC 271  Psychopharmacology


PHSI 300  Dissertation/Thesis Seminar

*Courses included in the sample program of study are subject to change. Students should consult with their programs regarding their required program of study. 

Admission to Candidacy 

Students are admitted to formal candidacy by the Graduate School when they have completed the required coursework, passed the qualifying or comprehensive examination, submitted an approved topic for research, and been recommended by the Department. Candidates must also have satisfied the Graduate School writing proficiency requirement and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement.

Graduate Funding 

Admitted students may be eligible to compete for Graduate School competitive awards, which provide tuition remission and a stipend during the academic year. Additionally, graduate research or teaching assistantships may be available at the department level. Research assistants and teaching assistants work no more than 20 hours a week under the program's direction, usually in support of faculty research (research assistants) or in support of assigned courses (teaching assistants). Please see the Funding website for more detailed information.