Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

*IMPORTANT Note About the Doctor of Philosophy in Physiology Degree*
This program is no longer accepting students at this time as this field of study is now a discipline within the new Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) Program. All information in this section of the Catalog is for the current Physiology students only.

Physiology is the study of the structure, and function, and integration of the human body.  In the pioneering days, research efforts were primarily directed at tissues and organs.  This research continues to this day and has resulted in a comprehensive picture of the function of the human body.  As molecular and genetic methods have come of age, physiologists have implemented these techniques to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that underlie physiological function.  It is now clear that in order to develop a complete understanding of the normal and dysfunctional human body, we must ask questions at all levels, from the molecular to the cellular, to the organ, to the whole organism.

Graduate studies leading to a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the basic biomedical sciences are offered.

Physiology Degree Requirements

A minimum of 72 credit hours and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 is required for the Ph.D. degree. In addition, all doctoral candidates must register for PHYL 7099 Dissertation for at least two semesters in order to graduate. The student is required to demonstrate intellectual command of the subject area of the graduate program and capability to carry out independent and original investigation in the area. The student must successfully defend a dissertation and be recommended by their program COGS for approval of their degree to the Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Physiology Track

First Year
FallCredit Hours
IBMS 5000Fundamentals Of Biomedical Sciences 8
IBMS 5008Lab Rotations 2
 Total Credit Hours: 10.0
First Year
SpringCredit Hours
IBMS 5008Lab Rotations 2
PHYL 5041Excitable Membranes 1
PHYL 5042Cardiovascular Physiology 1
PHYL 5043Respiratory & Renal Physiology 1
PHYL 5044Metabolism/Hormones/GI System 1
 Total Credit Hours: 6.0
Second Year
FallCredit Hours
PHYL 6091Selected Topics Of Physiology 2
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 6097Research 1-12
PATH 5021 or CSBL 5095  
 Total Credit Hours: 4.0-15.0
Second Year
SpringCredit Hours
INTD 6002Ethics In Research 0.5
PHYL 6091Selected Topics Of Physiology 2
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 6097Research 1-12
Qualifying Exam (QE) proposal due prior to May 1st.  
 Total Credit Hours: 4.5-15.5
Third Year
FallCredit Hours
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 7099Dissertation 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 2.0-13.0
Third Year
SpringCredit Hours
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 7099Dissertation 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 2.0-13.0
Fourth Year
FallCredit Hours
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 7099Dissertation 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 2.0-13.0
Fourth Year
SpringCredit Hours
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 7099Dissertation 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 2.0-13.0
Fifth Year
FallCredit Hours
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 7099Dissertation 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 2.0-13.0
Fifth Year
SpringCredit Hours
PHYL 6090Seminar 1
PHYL 7099Dissertation 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 2.0-13.0
1

Students may take the full course but are only required to take three out of the four modules (PHYL 5041 Excitable Membranes, PHYL 5042 Cardiovascular Physiology, PHYL 5043 Respiratory & Renal Physiology, PHYL 5044 Metabolism/Hormones/GI System).

Other courses -- Selected Topics in Physiology or coursework as desired by mentor.

All students are required to submit a dissertation research proposal the Spring semester following passing the Qualifying Exam.  Dissertation research proposal is to be presented during the PHYL 6090 Seminar Spring Student Seminar course.

Students are required to attend Monday Physiology Department Seminars/Special Seminars followed by student roundtable luncheon.

Note: MD/PhD students must meet the same requirements as all other students in the Physiology Track, with the exception of Fall I courses.

PHYL 6091 Selected Topics in Physiology

At least two courses selected from among the offerings in: 1
PHYL 6091-01: Cardiovascular
PHYL 6091-03: Cell Biology in Neural Science
PHYL 6091-04: Endocrine and Metabolism
PHYL 6091-05: Molecular Physiology
PHYL 6091-07: Ion Channels in Disease
Coures that may be substituted for one of these selections:
Fundamentals Of Neuroscience1: Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Neuroscience
Fundamentals Of Neuroscience 2: Systems Neuroscience
Topics In Cardiovascular Research
Neurobiology Of Learning And Memory
Neurobiology Of Aging
Development
Genomics
Stem Cell Biology
1

Not all selected topics are offered each semester, please discuss with Track Leader/Academic Coordinator for more details.  Substituted courses will require approval from Track Leader/COGS.

Physiology Objectives/Program Outcomes

  1. The student will be able to critically review and interpret research literature.
  2. The student will be able to demonstrate proficient understanding of core physiological principles.
  3. The student will be able to communicate effectively in verbal presentations.
  4. The student will be able to demonstrate the ability to conduct independent research.
  5. The student will be able to effectively communicate in writing.

CSBL 5095. Experimental Design And Data Analysis. 3 Credit Hours.

The purpose of the course is to provide an introduction to experimental design and statistical analysis. The emphasis of the course will be on the selection and application of proper tests of statistical significance. Practical experience will be provided in the use of both parametric and nonparametric methods of statistical evaluation. Among the topics to be covered are: data reduction, types of distributions, hypothesis testing, scales of measurement, chi square analysis, the special case of the comparison of two groups; analysis of variance; a posteriori multiple comparisons tests, tests of the assumptions of parametric analyses, advanced forms of the analysis of variance, linear regression, and correlation analysis. This course involves the use of statistical software; therefore, access to a laptop or a computer with web access for classes and examinations is required.

IBMS 5000. Fundamentals Of Biomedical Sciences. 8 Credit Hours.

This core course covers the fundamentals of biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, organismal and systems biology, and microbiology and immunology. The course is designed for first-year graduate students matriculating into the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program (IBMS).

IBMS 5008. Lab Rotations. 1-3 Credit Hours.

This course provides an opportunity for students to participate in research activities in the laboratories of faculty members in different disciplines to learn laboratory skills and to gain an introduction to the research fields of faculty members.

INTD 6002. Ethics In Research. 0.5 Credit Hours.

This course covers topics relevant to ethics in scientific research. The course is taught on a case-study basis, dealing with real and hypothetical situations relevant to the conduct of scientific research. Topics discussed will include, but will not be limited to: data management, peer review, recognizing scientific misconduct, authorship, and The University of Texas regulations relevant to human and animal research. This course is required of all doctoral graduate students.

PHYL 5041. Excitable Membranes. 1 Credit Hour.

This course addresses fundamental mechanisms of cell excitability in neurons and other excitable tissues. The format is a combination of lectures, readings, discussions, a laboratory demonstration, and online simulations (where available). Examples of the latter include activities to simulate the resting membrane potential and action potentials. The module will emphasize contemporary issues in the scientific literature as well as translational science where dysfunction in ion channels underlie common disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease, Myasthenia Gravis, Cystic Fibrosis, Long QT Syndrome, and Epilepsy to name just a few. PHYL 5041 is a co-requisite for Fundamentals of Neuroscience I as it is the first module of that course, but it also can be taken as a standalone one-hour course.

PHYL 5042. Cardiovascular Physiology. 1 Credit Hour.

This course explores the physiological mechanisms by which the cardiovascular system carries out its principle function. Mechanisms that produce and regulate cardiac pumping, organ blood flow, capillary fluid and solute exchange, and arterial blood pressure are examined. The nature and importance of various local, neural, and hormonal mechanisms are emphasized. Integrated control of cardiovascular function in situations requiring cardiovascular adjustments (e.g., exercise, blood pressure alterations) are also covered. Students may take the full series but are only required to take three out of the four courses (PHYL 5041, 5042, 5043, and 5044).

PHYL 5043. Respiratory & Renal Physiology. 1 Credit Hour.

This course covers the physiology of respiratory and renal function in the human body. Our focus is on basic mechanisms of function, role in body homeostasis, as well as dysfunction of both systems associated with pulmonary and renal disease. Two sessions are set aside for discussion around significant advances in each field. One or more recently published articles will serve as the focus for each of these discussions sessions. Students may take the full series but are only required to take three out of the four courses (PHYL 5041, 5042, 5043, and 5044).

PHYL 5044. Metabolism/Hormones/GI System. 1 Credit Hour.

The course serves to expose students to the current state of knowledge in the field of endocrinology and metabolism, including reproductive physiology, and the related topics of the physiology of the digestive tract. Three sessions are assigned to advanced topics. In these three sessions students will engage in a discussion format centered around one recent important publication. The lecturer will lead the discussion with the aim of showing how the topics the students have been exposed to integrate one with another, providing the context for present-day discoveries.

PHYL 6090. Seminar. 1 Credit Hour.

The course is comprised of research presentations by Physiology graduate students. This course is required of all students each semester.

PHYL 6091. Selected Topics Of Physiology. 2 Credit Hours.

Students must take a least two courses selected from among the offerings in:(1) Cardiovascular; (2) Cell Biology in Neural Science; (3) Endocrine and Metabolism; (4) Molecular Physiology; and (5) Ion Channels in Disease. Courses that may be substituted for one of these selections: (1) INTD 5040 - Fundamentals of Neuroscience I: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Neuroscience; (2) INTD 5043 - Fundamentals of Neuroscience II: Systems Neuroscience; (3) CSBL 6048 - Biology of Aging; and (4) CSBL 6058 - Neurobiology of Aging. Not all selected topics are offered each semester. Please discuss this with the Academic Coordinator for more details. Substituted courses in conflict with Physiology course schedule will require approval from COGS.

PHYL 6097. Research. 1-12 Credit Hours.

If a track chooses to give a seminar course, the specific course requirements will be determined by the track. The sub-designations for each track are: (1)Biology of Aging; (2) Cancer Biology; (3) Cell & Molecular Biology; (4) Genetics, Genomics & Development; (5) Membrane Biology & Cell Signaling; (6) Metabolism & Metabolic Disorders; (7) Microbiology & Immunology; (8)Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry; (9) Molecular, Cellular, & Integrative Physiology; (10) Neuroscience; and (11) Pharmacology.

PHYL 7099. Dissertation. 1-12 Credit Hours.

Registration for at least two terms is required of Ph.D. candidates. Prerequisites: admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.