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For Students

Physiology explores functional relationships within cells, between cells and their environments to form tissues, between tissues to form organs, communications among organs to form body systems, and the mechanisms involved in coordinating and regulating the multiple systems needed to sustain viable organisms. Understanding the details of these processes allows us to seek insight into the dysregulation of these systems system so we can develop therapeutics for treating human diseases.

Faculty members in the Department of Physiology are involved in cutting-edge research on diverse topics including cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, respiratory, and neurodegenerative diseases. Our faculty conduct investigations on specific topics such as signal transduction, cell adhesion, cell division and death, cell migration and tumor metastasis, animal models, cerebral circulation, gene therapy, ion channels, and wound healing.

If you are interested in becoming part of our Physiology "family," please contact Dr. Kaushik Parthasarathi (

Program Resources


Students in the Molecular and Translational Physiology track are required complete the core course curriculum listed below (10 credit hours), and take elective courses equivalent to a minimum of 6 credit hours, including a selected unit from Advanced Physiology course. Elective courses are generally chosen in consultation with student's research advisor based on student's research interest. Students will also take a seminar course by attending the physiology seminar series and presenting two seminars in this platform during the course of their dissertation. Additionally, students are expected to participate in journal clubs and will have the opportunity to present their research work in national meetings.

Core Curriculum

  • Systems Physiology (4)
  • Cell Biology (3)
  • Molecular Biology (3)


  • Cellular signaling (3)
  • Cell Biology Techniques (2)
  • Bioinformatics I (2)
  • Bioinformatics II (1)
  • Essentials of Animal Experimentation (2)
  • Advanced Physiology (2)
  • Biostatistics (3)
  • Ethics

Laboratory Rotations

Students will have three 6-week laboratory rotations starting in January of first year. Students may choose a mentor after their second rotation and begin their dissertation research.

Admission-to-Candidacy Exam

Toward the end of second year students will complete admission-to-candidacy, which involves writing a grant proposal in NIH F31 format and successfully defend the proposal to their advisory committee. This should be completed by May 15 of second year.

Sample curriculum

Year 1

Fall Semester

  • Cell Biology (3)
  • Molecular Biology (3)
  • Biostatistics (3)

Spring Semester

  • Systems physiology (4)
  • Cellular Signaling (3)
  • Integrity in the Conduct of Scientific Research
  • Assemble faculty committee

Year 2

Fall Semester

  • Advanced Physiology (2) Offered once in two years. Therefore, this course is available during Fall Semester of 2nd or 3rd year. Although this is a part of the elective requirement, this course is a requirement for CBP track students. However, students can elect to take one of the 7 units to fulfill 2-credit hour course. The 7 units are: 1) Gastrointestinal Epithelium, 2) Respiratory physiology, 3) Vascular biology, 4) Heart, 5) Ion channels and Electrophysiology, 6) Developmental biology-Animal models, and 7) Lipids in cell signaling.
  • Doctoral Dissertation and Research

Spring Semester

  • Cellular and Molecular techniques (2)
  • Doctoral Dissertation and Research
  • Take admission-to-candidacy exam (place where appropriate)

Year 3

Fall Semester

  • Advanced Physiology (2) as described above (if not taken during second year)
  • Doctoral Dissertation and Research

Year 4 and Beyond

  • Students will defend their dissertation before their faculty committee
How to Apply

Most students apply before December, and those applying before January 15 will be given priority status. The final application deadline is March 1. Applications are reviewed as received, and our top domestic candidates are supported for travel to campus for interviews beginning in February.

It is important that you complete the application and send all required materials as soon as possible. You can apply online, and it is free and easy. Use the link under Future Students to access the online application, and choose Option 2. Most of the options on the Application Checklist are self-explanatory, but under Planned Course of Study, choose the Integrated Biomedical Sciences-PhD option. Then, select up to three tracks of interest using the drop down menus associated with the Concentration options. We will assume that the first concentration you select is your preferred research track.

General requirements are a bachelor's degree with a grade-point average of at least 3.0 from an accredited college or university, a combined score (verbal and quantitative) of at least 1000/300 on the old/revised Graduate Record Examination, a score of at least 213/79 on the computer-based/Internet-based TOEFL or 6.5 on the IELTS or evidence of proficiency in English for students whose native language is not English, and three letters of recommendation.

US Applicants

For US applicants, official transcripts and official test scores should be sent directly from the contributing source and not by the student. Three recommendation letters are required. Names and contact information of three referees will be entered on the application and the system will contact them with instruction on how to submit their recommendation.

Non-US Applicants

For non-US applicants, official test scores should be sent directly from the contributing source and not by the student. Official transcripts and three recommendation letters are required.

Transcripts from any non-US institution must be verified and certified to generate a grade point average (GPA) based on a 4.0 scale. Verification must be completed before matriculation. Service agencies include, but are not limited to, Educational Credit Evaluation (ECE) and World Education Services (WES). A document-by-document certification is not acceptable. These agencies charge a fee for their service.


Sep 2, 2022