Physiology is the study of the way in which the body functions normally, and in dysfunction and disease. It is a core discipline of the biomedical, medical and life sciences. Physiology provides the answers to questions on how the body works, on what happens when we are born and develop, on how our body systems adapt when challenged by stresses such as exercise or environmental extremes, and on how body functions change in disease states. From nerves to muscles, from the brain to hormones, physiologists are concerned with functions at all levels. This spans from the molecular and cellular to the organ and body systems levels, to ultimately provide understanding of the integrated function of the whole body.
We are a leading Department of Physiology, both nationally and internationally. The department has produced six fellows of the Australian Academy of Sciences. Our research is focused around areas that address modern day issues of health and disease. These include:
- obesity and diabetes
- cardiovascular and kidney physiology
- cognitive neurosciences
- integrative neurosciences, including the peripheral nervous system
- neuroendocrinology, in relation to reproduction, stress and homeostasis.
In all units, emphasis will be on human body function. There will be study of both normal function as well as of common examples of adaptation to unusual environments (e.g. high altitude) and of dysfunction (e.g. heart disease, infertility, ageing) as appropriate to the unit and level of study. The aim is to provide students with greater insight into body function and an understanding of the basis of many common dysfunctions.
A program of study in physiology prepares you for a wide range of careers. You can apply your knowledge of physiology directly, choosing a career in the biomedical sphere. This may involve research or further studies in medical or allied health areas (e.g. audiology, health informatics). Physiology graduates can also use the general skills and knowledge they have acquired to pursue a career in a wide variety of workplaces, including education and the public service.
Physiology is listed in S2000 Bachelor of Science, S3001 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Global Challenges (Honours) and S3002 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Research (Honours) at Clayton as a major, or minor.
The physiology minor and major is not available in the double degree course S2007 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Biomedical Science.
In addition to achieving the broad outcomes of their course, students successfully completing this major will be able to:
- demonstrate a broad knowledge of the mechanisms that make up normal healthy body functions, at the levels of body systems and the cells, tissues and organs involved
- develop abilities to generate and integrate knowledge, from the molecular level through to the whole body, and have gained an appreciation for the value and limitations of physiological genomics in understanding living organisms
- demonstrate an understanding of the effects of disturbances of living organisms that lead to malfunction and disease.