The Department of Physiology is dedicated to biomedical graduate education. We train students with diverse backgrounds who are interested in the principles of molecular, cellular, and organ physiology. Physiology faculty are at the forefront of their fields and receive over $19,000,000 in research funding. State-of-the-art facilities, resources, and equipment are available for graduate training and scientific discovery.
The intellectual and collegial environment of the department is ideal for student education. Seminars, journal clubs, lab meetings, and informal departmental gatherings provide students with opportunities to participate in research discussions and to establish the collaborations necessary for interdisciplinary training.
All Physiology graduate students are administered through the office of Biomedical Graduate Studies. The majority of our students belong to one of the following three graduate groups:
Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
The Graduate Group in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics is devoted to the education and training of a new generation of scientists ready to apply quantitative, mechanistic and molecular approaches to advance the frontiers of biomedical research.
Grounded on a strong relationship with the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, BMB offers truly interdisciplinary training that is coordinated by a fluid and diverse faculty representing many departments and schools of the University.
The more than 75 research laboratories affiliated with BMB share common interests to understand biological phenomena at the fundamental molecular level, exploiting an ever-increasing battery of biochemical and biophysical techniques. Physiology faculty mentor students and sponsor courses through this graduate program.
Cell and Molecular Biology
The Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group (CAMB) is an interdisciplinary graduate program, providing rigorous training in modern cell and molecular biology. Within this integrated program are six discipline areas: Cell Biology and Physiology, Cancer Biology, Developmental Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Gene Therapy and Vaccines, Genetics and Gene Regulation, and Microbiology Virology and Parasitology. Program faculty include 312 scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine, the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Wistar Institute and Fox Chase Cancer Center. Physiology faculty play a leading role in the organization and development of CAMB graduate courses and sponsor students through the Cell Biology and Physiology program. The research efforts of these extraordinary scientists are diverse in their focus, experimental system, methodology, and represent the leading edge of basic and translational biomedical science.
Currently, 359 graduate students from colleges and universities around the nation and the world are enrolled in the program. Students select one discipline area based on their scientific interests, yet have access to the full breadth of curricular and research opportunities provided by this large and diverse program. Students participate in core courses in cell and molecular biology, specialized coursework in one or more discipline areas, and original hypothesis-driven thesis research. Upon completion of the PhD, they pursue successful research careers at top academic institutions, in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, and in other biomedicine-related career paths.
The Neuroscience Graduate Group (NGG) at the University of Pennsylvania is a collaborative and interdisciplinary Ph.D. program that provides training for careers in neuroscience research and teaching. Founded in 1984, the NGG is part of the Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS) program. They bring together over 100 faculty from 32 academic departments in the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, and the associated Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Physiology faculty teach in the core curriculum courses and serve as supervisors for dissertation research in Cell and Molecular Neuroscience.
The training program is designed to provide a strong foundation of neuroscience knowledge while at the same time taking into account each student's strengths, needs, and career goals. In the first two years, students take core and elective courses and participate in laboratory rotations that provide practical experience in different techniques and approaches to the study of the nervous system. At the end of the second year, students prepare and defend a research proposal and then enter their dissertation laboratory to carry out an original research project. Throughout their training, students participate in seminars, retreats, and other programmatic activities. More information can be found in our Student Handbook.
NGG is closely affiliated with the Mahoney Institute for Neurosciences (MINS), which organizes a weekly seminar series, an annual retreat, and other events attended by students. The NGG and MINS also work closely together on several outreach efforts to promote neuroscience throughout the community.
The unique Graduate-Led Initiatives and Activities (GLIA) student committee organizes many of the events that provide professional development, community building, outreach, and public relations. NGG is proud of their students' dedication to these programs and of their other awards and honors, which are recognized internally and at the annual Flexner Lecture and Dinner, held in October.