The Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics participates in interdisciplinary graduate programs, including the Medical Scientist Training Program, a combined M.D./Ph.D. program offered by the Graduate College and the Carver College of Medicine, and it provides instruction in molecular physiology and biophysics for M.D., D.D.S., and other health professions students. The department also conducts a co-op exchange, a vigorous training program that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to develop as independent researchers in preparation for graduate studies.
The department's principal research areas include cell biology, genetics, endocrinology, neuroscience, and membrane physiology and biophysics. The unifying theme is the understanding of signal transduction mechanisms involved in regulating function at the cellular and molecular levels.
Faculty research interests in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics encompass molecular and cellular endocrinology, cellular and developmental neurophysiology, and membrane structure and function. Within these, there are multiple areas of interest, including hormone receptors, reproductive endocrinology, signal transduction, regulation of gene expression, synaptic transmission, neuronal differentiation, membrane ion channels, regulation of excitability, and cardiovascular electrophysiology and regulation. Experimental models currently being investigated include rodents, yeast, Drosophila, and cultured cell lines from a variety of species.
Graduate Programs of Study
- Master of Science in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
- Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Students interested in doctoral studies in molecular physiology and biophysics should apply under the umbrella program in Biomedical Science (select molecular physiology and biophysics subprogram). Direct applications to the M.S. and Ph.D. in molecular physiology and biophysics are not currently being considered.
Two floors of the Bowen Science Building are devoted to research and teaching in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. Department faculty members also occupy laboratory facilities in the Medical Education Research Facility, Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building, and the Carver Biomedical Research Building. In addition to specialized equipment in faculty research laboratories, the department provides equipment for fluorescence microscopy, isotope analysis, cell culture, and molecular biology. It also has access to the University network and the multimedia education facilities. Additional resources are available at the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.
Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Courses
MPB:4199 Research, Independent Study arr.
Recommendations: closed to molecular physiology and biophysics graduate students.
MPB:5153 Graduate Physiology 4 s.h.
MPB:5200 Medical Physiology Online 5 s.h.
Fundamental principles of cellular membranes, muscle, sensory organs, motor neurological systems, autonomic nervous systems, cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and reproductive systems; interdependence of organ systems to maintain a normal physiological state using clinical correlates as applied to humans; basic physiological principles that establish a solid foundation for future pathophysiological and pharmacological concepts. Recommendations: medical, dental, physician assistant, nurse anesthesia, physical therapy, or graduate standing.
MPB:5201 Advanced Physiology Online 3 s.h.
Examination of cellular and organ systems of medical physiology; fundamental principles of cellular membranes including muscle, sensory organs, motor neurological systems, autonomic nervous system, cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and reproductive physiology; emphasis on interdependence of organ systems to maintain a normal physiological state (homeostasis) using clinical correlates as applied to humans; basic physiological principles that establish a solid foundation for future pathophysiological and pharmacological concepts.
MPB:5241 Neuromuscular Diseases: Case-Based Seminar 1 s.h.
MPB:6209 Steroid Receptor Signaling 1 s.h.
Structure-function relationship and genomic and nongenomic actions of the steroid hormone receptor family; basis for actions of novel new ligands on these receptors. Offered spring semesters of even years. Same as NSCI:6209, PCOL:6209.
MPB:6220 Mechanisms of Cellular Organization 3 s.h.
Current understanding of basic cell biological processes; key experiments that led to guiding insights; mechanisms that cells use for compartmentalization and how those mechanisms are regulated; biogenesis of major organelles (e.g., mitochondria, peroxisomes, nucleus, secretory/endocytic membrane system); functions of cytoskeleton in cell motility, organelle motility, and cell division. Prerequisites: BIOC:3130. Same as ACB:6220, MMED:6220.
MPB:6225 Growth Factor Receptor Signaling 1 s.h.
Mechanisms of signaling by growth factors; cytokines and related molecules that regulate cell proliferation, development, differentiation, and survival; emphasis on molecular mechanisms of signaling, relevance of these signaling processes to various human diseases. Same as ACB:6225, MMED:6225.
MPB:6226 Cell Cycle Control 1 s.h.
MPB:6227 Cell Fate Decisions 1 s.h.
Cellular fate decisions including signal integration, terminal differentiation in development, mechanisms of embryonic stem cell gene regulation/cellular reprogramming, cell death paradigms, and cell death in development and cancer. Same as ACB:6227, MMED:6227.
MPB:6265 Neuroscience Seminar 0-1 s.h.
MPB:6302 Research Physiology and Biophysics arr.
Requirements: molecular physiology and biophysics graduate standing.
MPB:7402 Thesis arr.
Requirements: molecular physiology and biophysics Ph.D. candidacy.