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The Department of Physiology and Biophysics

The Department of Physiology and Biophysics focuses on integration of knowledge obtained from studies at the level of molecules, cells, and organs to understand functions of the body as a whole organism.

The main objective of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics is to understand basic mechanisms, and defects in these mechanisms, with the goal of translating this information into diagnoses, therapies and prevention of clinical disorders. The faculty members lead teams in translational research including drug discovery related to heart failure, hypertension, depression, cancer, and reproductive diseases.

The mission of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics

The mission of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics is to teach and create new knowledge with the theme of integrating the life sciences from molecules to organism. The department continues to approach this mission with vigorous and successful programs in teaching and research. Hallmarks of the department include productive interactions with clinical departments; willingness to serve the department, college and university; a committed and professional departmental staff and assistant to the head; and a congenial, interactive atmosphere. Exceptional educational programs funded by extra-mural grants provide innovative teaching of physiology and research to pre- and post-doctoral trainees including clinical scientists. Nationally recognized and well-funded research areas interact strongly with clinical departments in the following thematic centers and research programs: Neurosciences, Gastrointestinal Sciences, Women’s Health and Reproductive Sciences, and Cardiovascular Sciences.

Our departmental research spans the spectrum from atoms to organs, and thus we are positioned well to train a new generation of systems oriented biologists investigating molecular mechanisms and translating these mechanisms to the organ, organism, and patient.

Department of Physiology and Biophysics

NIH Training Program in Cellular Signaling in the Cardiovascular System

The program, which supports pre-and post-doctoral trainees in Cellular Signaling in the Cardiovascular System, is funded into its 25 year and has its major objective to provide an integrated and interactive environment for the generation of scientists with the ability to move through a continuum of investigations from molecular to cellular to tissue to organism level mechanisms relevant to disorders of the cardiovascular system. Individualized development plans form a core activity, which includes benchmarks for attaining goals. A theme of the program, which includes 38 trainers in10 departments, and 3 colleges is training in the understanding and application of modern approaches to this objective including genomics, proteomics and protein chemistry, structure, and molecular dynamics, cellular mechanics and electrophysiology, computational biology, systems physiology including an understanding of the dynamics and activity of the heart and blood vessels. The program emphasizes translation of findings to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Sites of training provide long standing interactions, which provides a unique and diverse training environment with a common thread of emphasis on integrated control mechanism and translational research.

The training faculty includes experienced and independent investigators, who function in programmatic environments vital to success in modern research. Focus areas include chemical, metabolic, and mechanical signaling, electro-chemical coupling, channels, transporters and receptors, chemo-mechanical coupling, structural biology, proteomics, bioinformatics, signal transduction, genomics, gene regulation, translation and assembly, and integration of signaling and systems biology. The program has a demonstrated history of providing an environment for trainees that includes multiple colloquia and seminars, and interactions and synergy among groups of trainers working with individuals or groups of trainees.

Pre-doctoral candidates enter the program after a successful year of graduate study in the core curriculum of the UIC Graduate Education in Medical Sciences (GEMS) Program. They continue training in specialized areas including Bioengineering, Physiology, Biophysics, Biological Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology, and Pharmacology. The pre-doctoral curriculum, which includes a concentration in Cardiovascular Sciences, is supplemented by required upper level graduate courses in areas of interest including Stem Cell Biology, Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics, Informatics, Control Theory, Systems and Computational Biology, and Techniques, Concepts, and Strategies of Scientific Enquiry, and Translational Medicine. These courses include opportunities for evaluation and training in writing and presentation skills. The training of post-doctoral trainees includes two to three year programs tailored to their career objectives, and specific course needs.

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