Integrative Physiology

[Fields of Study]

Tom Cunningham, PhD,
Graduate Advisor
Everett Bldg., EAD-332B
817-735-5096

Department of Integrative Physiology

Graduate Faculty: Caffrey, Cunningham, Downey, Gwirtz, Ma, Mallet, MifflinRaven, Rickards, Schreihofer, Shi, Smith, Yuan

Physiology is an essential foundation for clinical and experimental medicine. The physiologist seeks an understanding of the physical and chemical mechanisms of biological processes. Thus, physiology is the study of the function of living organisms and their various components. It encompasses normal and abnormal function and ranges in scope from an understanding of basic molecular and cellular functions to a cognizance of biological control systems and of the integration of bodily functions among multiple organ systems.

The Department of Integrative Physiology and Anatomy maintains an active and productive research program with special emphasis on cardiovascular physiology. Research interests of the faculty include cardioprotection, myocardial energy metabolism, cardiac endocrinology, coronary flow and flow regulation, cardiovascular responses to exercise, and mechanisms of blood pressure and blood volume regulation. Faculty programs are funded by extramural sources including the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, American Diabetes Association, the Department of Defense, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Students may enter the program with a variety of academic backgrounds, providing that they have fulfilled prerequisite courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. The graduate training program involves one year of courses in biomedical sciences and advanced courses in physiology, neurobiology, pharmacology, molecular biology and biochemistry. The program is designed to integrate the fundamental processes of molecular biology with organ system functions. Students participate in teaching and seminars and receive extensive training in techniques of contemporary physiological research. Doctoral students and Master of Science students perform original, publishable research and present their research findings at national scientific meetings. At the end of the first year, all graduate students must pass an oral physiology progress examination. One to two years are required to complete the Master of Science degree requirements. Three to five years are required to complete the Doctor of Philosophy degree requirements. It is expected that, prior to the awarding of the doctorate, the student will have published, have in press or have submitted two first-author publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Graduates with advanced degrees find employment in higher education, industry and government agencies.

Degree Plans

Typical degree plans leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are outlined below. The doctoral program offers the choice of two tracks, one focusing on Integrative Cardiovascular Science and the other focusing on Molecular Cardiovascular Science. It is advantageous to the student to begin graduate study in the summer or fall semesters. The degree plan may vary depending upon availability of course offerings in a given semester and each student’s background and progress toward thesis or dissertation research.

MS Degree Plan for Integrative Physiology and Anatomy
Year 1: Fall
BMSC 6301 Integrative Biomedical Sciences I: Principles of Biochemistry 4 SCH
BMSC 6302 Integrative Biomedical Sciences II: Molecular Cell Biology 4 SCH
BMSC 5135 Introduction to Faculty Research Programs 2 SCH
BMSC 5160 Biomedical Ethics 1 SCH
PSIO 5140 Seminar in Current Topics 1 SCH
BMSC 5150 Laboratory Rotations 1 SCH
13 SCH
Year 1: Spring
BMSC 6303 Integrative Biomedical Sciences III: Physiology 3 SCH
BMSC 6304 Integrative Biomedical Sciences IV: Pharmacology 2 SCH
BMSC 6305 Integrative Biomedical Sciences V: Immunology and Microbiology 3 SCH
BMSC 5150 Laboratory Rotations 1 SCH
BMSC 5310 Scientific Communications 3 SCH
12 SCH
Year 1: Summer
BMSC 5400 Biostatistics for BMSC 4 SCH
BMSC 5395 Thesis 3 SCH
7 SCH
TOTAL 31 SCH
MS Degree Plan for Integrative Physiology and Anatomy
Year 2: Fall
PSIO 5140 Seminar in Current Topics 1 SCH
PSIO-5300 Cardiovascular Physiology 3 SCH
OR
PSIO-6380 Neurohumoral Control of Autonomic Function 3 SCH
4 SCH
Year 2: Spring
PSIO 5140 Seminar in Current Topics 1 SCH
PSIO 5302 Physiology & Pathophysiology of the Renal & Respiratory Systems 3 SCH
OR
PSIO 6350 Integrative Physiology of Skeletal Muscle 3 SCH
4 SCH
TOTAL 8 SCH

 

PhD Degree Plan for Integrative Physiology and Anatomy
Year 1: Fall
BMSC 6301 Integrative Biomedical Sciences I: Principles of Biochemistry 4 SCH
BMSC 6302 Integrative Biomedical Sciences II: Molecular Cell Biology 4 SCH
BMSC 5135 Introduction to Faculty Research Programs 2 SCH
BMSC 5160 Biomedical Ethics 1 SCH
PSIO 5140 Seminar in Current Topics 1 SCH
BMSC 5150 Lab Rotation 1 SCH
12 SCH
Year 1: Spring
BMSC 6303 Integrative Biomedical Sciences III: Physiology 3 SCH
BMSC 6304 Integrative Biomedical Sciences IV: Pharmacology 2 SCH
BMSC 6305 Integrative Biomedical Sciences V: Immunology and Microbiology 3 SCH
BMSC 5150 Lab Rotations 1 SCH
PSIO 5140 Seminar in Current Topics 1 SCH
BMSC 5310 Scientific Communications 3 SCH
13 SCH
Year 1: Summer
BMSC 5400 Biostatistics for BMSC 4 SCH
BMSC 6998 Individual Research 2 SCH
6 SCH
Year 2: Fall
PSIO 5300 Cardiovascular Physiology 3 SCH
PSIO 5140 Seminar in Current Topics 1 SCH
PSIO 6380 Neurohumoral Control of Autonomic Function 3 SCH
Electives* 5 SCH
12 SCH
Year 2: Spring
PSIO 5302 Physiology & Pathophysiology of the Renal & Respiratory Systems 3 SCH
PSIO 6350 Integrative Physiology of Skeletal Muscle 3 SCH
PSIO 5140 Seminar in Current Topics 1 SCH
Electives* 5 SCH
12 SCH
Year 2: Summer
Oral Qualifying Exam 0 SCH
Electives* 6 SCH
6 SCH
Year 3: Fall
BMSC 6310 Grant Writing 3 SCH
PSIO 5140 Seminar in Current Topics 1 SCH
Electives* 8 SCH
12 SCH
Year 3: Spring
BMSC 6998 Individual Research 2 SCH
PSIO 5140 Seminar in Current Topics 1 SCH
 Electives* 6 SCH
9 SCH
Year 3: Summer
BMSC 6395 Doctoral Dissertation 6 SCH
Year 4: Fall
BMSC 6395 Doctoral Dissertation 9 SCH
Year 4: Spring
BMSC 6395 Doctoral Dissertation 9 SCH
TOTAL 103 SCH

*Electives must include at least 1 additional SCH of Individual Research (BMSC 6940.)

 

Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy

Qualifying Examination

 

Prior to registration for Grant Writing (BMSC 6310), and before completion of 72 SCH of course work, doctoral students are required to pass an oral qualifying examination. I is recommended that the exam take place during the spring or summer semester of the student’s second year in the program. The examination will be administered by a departmental examining committee, which will not include the student’s mentor. The examination may address all aspects of physiology and, in addition, assess the student’s research skills and aptitude.

A maximum of two attempts to pass the qualifying examination will be allowed. A doctoral student who does not pass after the second attempt may be is missed or allowed to complete the requirements for a Master of Science degree.

Grant Writing (BMSC 6310)

After passing the qualifying examination, the student must register for Grant Writing (BMSC 6310) in the next long semester. In this course, students are required to submit an NIH grant application to their Advisory Committee. The grant application will describe the student’s dissertation research project, and will serve as the student’s dissertation proposal. Following a public, oral presentation of the research proposal in the grant application, the student will defend the grant application and research proposal before his/her Advisory Committee.

Upon approval of the grant application and the research proposal, the student is advanced to candidacy. If the grant application and the research proposal are not approved on the first attempt, the student may be offered a re-examination during the current semester or the student will be required to register for BMSC 6310 again in the next long semester. The grant application and research proposal must be successfully defended on the second attempt, or the student will be dismissed from the PhD program.