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  • UC Riverside
  • College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Physiology Track of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology Graduate Program

Physiology deals with how organisms work: the functions and integrated activities of entire organisms, organs, tissues or cells.  Depending on the level at which the physical, chemical, and biological phenomena involved are studied, animal physiologists apply a vast array of different methods.  These range from molecular and cellular techniques to quantitative genetics to laboratory studies of organismal performance to behavioral tests and ecological and evolutionary analysis of physiological traits in natural habitats. Hence, the physiology group has strong ties with other areas of graduate research specialization, including Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology (CMDB), Neuroscience, Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics (GGB), Biomedical Sciences, and the Evolutionary Biology and Ecology tracks of the EEOB graduate program.

To prepare for a graduate specialization in Physiology, rigorous undergraduate preparation is recommended in Vertebrate Zoology and/or Invertebrate Zoology, Genetics, Embryology, Cell or General Physiology, Animal Physiology, and Statistics.  Depending on the interests of the student, additional course work in Biochemistry, Physical Chemistry, Biophysics, Neurophysiology, Animal Behavior, Population Genetics, Ecology or Evolution may be desirable.

The basic requirements for a graduate (M.S. or Ph.D.) degree with emphasis in Physiology involve course work in a subset of Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Gross and Microscopic Anatomy, Cytology-Histology, Comparative and Human Physiology, Cellular and Systems Neuroscience, Comparative/Ecological/Evolutionary Physiology, and/or Immunology.  The specific coursework depends on the student's interests, but will often include both cell physiology and organ-system physiology (some of these requirements will probably have been met at entrance).  Students in Physiology differ in their career goals and the emphasis and immediate application of their research.  Accordingly, considerable flexibility is allowed in the courses chosen to cover basic requirements.  Beyond this basic preparation, students will take additional courses emphasizing Comparative/Ecological/Evolutionary Physiology, Neurobiology or Regulatory (Mammalian) Physiology.

A diversity of research interests in physiology are currently represented by our faculty:

Behavioral Endocrinology
Biomechanics
Comparative Physiology (how different kinds of organisms "work" or are "designed" [but not intelligently!])
Developmental Physiology
Evolutionary Physiology (how physiological traits evolve in concert with behavior, morphology, etc.)
Exercise Physiology
Neurobiology (organismal, cellular, and behavioral neuroscience)
Regulatory Physiology (especially mechanisms of water balance and thermoregulation)
Phenotypic Plasticity
Physiological Ecology (also termed ecophysiology: physiological adaptations of animals to their environments)

The proximity of Riverside to a multitude of natural habitats, plus the availability of the extensive UC Natural Reserve System, facilitates the study of a wide variety of organisms.

Faculty in the Physiology track:

More information, including representative publications and electronic mail address, is available on each faculty member. Prospective graduate students should contact faculty members with interests similar to their own early in the application process. Admission is unlikely without identification of, and prior communication with, a faculty member participating in the EEOB graduate program who can act as a prospective major advisor.
Cardullo, Richard, Professor of Biology
Chappell, Mark, Professor of Biology
Clark, Christopher, Assistant Professor of Biology (arrives July 2013)
Garland, Theodore, Jr., Professor of Biology
Hammond, Kimberly, Associate Professor of Biology
Higham, Timothy E., Assistant Professor of Biology
Hayashi, Cheryl, Professor of Biology
Platzer, Edward, Professor Emeritus of Nematology (joint appointment with Biology)
Razak, Khaleel A., Assistant Professor of Psychology
Reznick, David, Professor of Biology
Carde, Ring T., Professor of Entomology
Saltzman, Wendy, Associate Professor of Biology
Santiago, Louis F., Assistant Professor of Botany & Plant Sciences


Last updated 19 March 2013 by TG