A central question to life is how particular phenotypic states are generated and maintained in cells that have the exact same DNA, and how biochemical reactions are intricately organized both spatially and temporally to regulate cellular physiology. Much of this activity happens in the cell nucleus. In addition to DNA sequence, the physical and mechanical properties of the nucleus are critical: for example, changes in nuclear mechanical stability and morphology are implicated in disease, differentiation, and aging.
The Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology (formerly the Department of Physiological Science) is dedicated to explaining the function of complex biological systems, in cells, organs, and individuals. The recent rapid advances in molecular and cell biology and genetics, including the sequencing of numerous genomes, has provided an unprecedented opportunity to use this new information to understand how the genes interact to produce emergent phenotypes in complex systems. The research of our faculty spans many levels. We use approaches that range from RNA interference to ion channel electrophysiology to genetic intervention in behavior to mathematical modeling to robotics, all to make sense of sensory, motor, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems.
At the undergraduate level, the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology offers the B.S. degree in Physiological Science, and contributes strongly to the
Interdepartmental Undergraduate Program in
Neuroscience. The Department also offers a 2-year research-oriented M.S. program in Physiological Science. Ph.D. students in the Department come from a variety of interdepartmental programs, including, the Ph.D. Program in Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology, and the Interdepartment Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience.