Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Integrative Biology and Physiology Ph.D.

Integrative Biology and Physiology
Medical School
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, Jackson Hall 6-125, 321 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-625-5902; fax: 612-301-1543)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2018
  • Length of program in credits: 60
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
Physiology may be defined as the application of mathematics, physics, and chemistry to the study of structure and function in living systems. As such, physiology is a "hybrid" field in which expertise from many other disciplines is ordinarily required and combined. The program emphasizes a quantitative approach to understanding the functions of cells, organs, and systems in living animals. PhD students take a core concentration that provides a broad background in the physiology of membranes, cells, transport, and organ systems. Individualized programs are structured to build on the student's strengths and to fill in gaps that would otherwise be an impediment to specific problem solving. Teaching experience is also available to all students. The graduate program in the Twin Cities has a cardiovascular emphasis, although many other areas of specialization are represented. Students can enter the PhD program from the Twin Cities or Duluth campus. Highly qualified individuals with solid quantitative backgrounds are encouraged to apply. In the Twin Cities, prospective students also include people with previous medical training who are already at the University of Minnesota or are considering the University of Minnesota Medical School for residency or fellowship training. Entering PhD students are expected to take a series of laboratory rotations to familiarize themselves with active areas of research within the degree program. The program includes faculty and corresponding research laboratories from the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology and also the Departments of Medicine; Surgery; Neuroscience; Neurosurgery; Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics; Pharmacology; Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Kinesiology; and Animal Science.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.50.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
An undergraduate degree with at least one year (three quarters or two semesters) of calculus, one year of physics, one year of biology, and two years of chemistry is required. For the minor, a background in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology acceptable to the graduate faculty is required.
Special Application Requirements:
For the Ph.D., applicants must take either the General Test of the GRE or the Medical College Admission Test. In addition, all applicants need three letters of recommendation. Admission to the program begins in the Fall semester.
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
  • TOEFL
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
  • IELTS
    • Total Score: 6.5
  • MELAB
    • Final score: 80
Key to test abbreviations (TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
24 credits are required in the major.
12 credits are required outside the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 4 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
The PhD program requires courses in cellular physiology and medical physiology. Coursework is tailored to the student's interests with input from the director of graduate studies and the student's advisor. During the first year, students rotate through three laboratories, attend weekly seminars, choose an advisor, and begin a research project. A preliminary written exam in physiology is given after the first year and examines the ability of the student to apply concepts learned in core courses. By the end of the second year, students have completed their coursework including a grant-writing class, and selected a laboratory for their thesis research. A preliminary oral exam is given at the end of the second year and tests the student's ability to apply principles of both physiology and the minor or supporting program to a proposed research-based thesis. A minimum of 12 credits must be completed in the minor field or supporting program.
Required Coursework
Take all of the coursework from the following list. Take 2 to 8 credits of PHSL 8294 (Lab Rotation), and 2 to 8 credits of PHSL 5096 (Seminar). Take PHSL 8232 (Journal Club) in conjunction with PHSL 5101.
ANSC 5700 - Cell Physiology (4.0 cr)
PHSL 8294 - Research in Physiology (1.0-18.0 cr)
PHSL 5096 - Integrative Biology and Physiology Research Advances (1.0 cr)
PHSL 5101 - Human Physiology (5.0 cr)
PHSL 8232 - Critical Reading of Journal Articles in Physiology (2.0 cr)
BIOC 8401 - Ethics, Public Policy, and Careers in Molecular and Cellular Biology (1.0 cr)
PHSL 8242 - Professional Skills Development For Biomedical Scientists (1.0 cr)
PHSL 5701 - Physiology Laboratory (1.0-2.0 cr)
Molecular Biology/Genetics Options
Take at least 3 credits of molecular biology/genetics coursework, chosen in consultation with the advisor.
BIOL 4003 - Genetics (3.0 cr)
or BIOL 4004 - Cell Biology (3.0 cr)
or BIOC 4331 - Biochemistry I: Structure, Catalysis, and Metabolism in Biological Systems (4.0 cr)
or BIOC 4332 - Biochemistry II: Molecular Mechanisms of Signal Transduction and Gene Expression (4.0 cr)
or BIOC 6021 - Biochemistry (3.0 cr)
Biostatistics Options
Take at least 3 credits of biostatistics coursework, chosen in consultation with the advisor.
STAT 5021 - Statistical Analysis (4.0 cr)
or PUBH 6450 - Biostatistics I (4.0 cr)
or PUBH 6451 - Biostatistics II (4.0 cr)
Outside Coursework
Take at least 12 credits of coursework outside the major, in consultation with the advisor.
BMEN 5001 - Advanced Biomaterials (3.0 cr)
or BMEN 5041 - Tissue Engineering (3.0 cr)
or BMEN 5101 - Advanced Bioelectricity and Instrumentation (3.0 cr)
or BMEN 5351 - Cell Engineering (3.0 cr)
or CMB 8344 - Mechanisms of Hormone Action (2.0 cr)
or GCD 4134 - Endocrinology (3.0 cr)
or NSC 5540 - Survey of Biomedical Neuroscience (2.0 cr)
or PHSL 4021 - Advanced Physiology and Bioengineering: Bionic Human (3.0 cr)
or PHSL 5095 - Problems in Physiology (1.0-5.0 cr)
or PHSL 5197 - Stress Physiology (1.0 cr)
or PHSL 5444 - Muscle (3.0 cr)
or PHSL 5510 - Advanced Cardiac Physiology and Anatomy (2.0-3.0 cr)
or PHSL 5525 - Anatomy and Physiology of the Pelvis and Urinary System (1.0-2.0 cr)
or PHSL 8222 - Central Regulation of Autonomic Function (3.0 cr)
Thesis Credits
Take 24 credits of doctoral thesis credits.
PHSL 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
 
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ANSC 5700 - Cell Physiology
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Control mechanisms in maintaining homeostasis with respect to critical cell functions. Regulation of pH, volume, nutrient transport, intracellular electrolyte composition, membrane potential. Aspects of intercellular communication. prereq: [Two semesters of physics/chemistry, calculus, one semester of systems-level physiology] or instr consent
PHSL 8294 - Research in Physiology
Credits: 1.0 -18.0 [max 18.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Directed laboratory research. prereq: Grad cellular and integrative Phsl major, instr consent
PHSL 5096 - Integrative Biology and Physiology Research Advances
Credits: 1.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Attend/participate in IBP Fall/Spring seminar series. Seminars given by faculty, invited speakers, students. Exposure to key topics. How to present seminars. prereq: instr consent
PHSL 5101 - Human Physiology
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01821
Typically offered: Every Spring
Survey of human physiology: Cardiovascular, muscle, respiratory, gastrointestinal, nutrition, renal physiology. Integrative, systems approach. Emphasizes normal function. prereq: Grad student
PHSL 8232 - Critical Reading of Journal Articles in Physiology
Credits: 2.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Integrative physiology, critical reading of current scientific literature related to lecture topics in the Human Physiology course. prereq: concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in PHSL 5101, instr consent
BIOC 8401 - Ethics, Public Policy, and Careers in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Credits: 1.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Ethics of scientific investigation from viewpoint of western scientific enterprise. Relationship between science, culture, and public policies. Careers in molecular/cellular biology. Nontraditional career tracks. Invited speakers, case studies, small-group discussions, lectures. prereq: Grad student in [BMBB or MCDBconcurrent registration is required (or allowed) in G]
PHSL 8242 - Professional Skills Development For Biomedical Scientists
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Strategies/mechanics of writing grant proposal. NIH study section of grant review. Scientific presentations, dissecting scientific literature, PubMed/NIHreporter tools. prereq: instr consent
PHSL 5701 - Physiology Laboratory
Credits: 1.0 -2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Experiments in physiology. Emphasizes quantitative aspects, including analysis of organ systems. prereq: instr consent
BIOL 4003 - Genetics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00052 - Biol 4003/GCD 3022
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Genetic information, its transmission from parents to offspring, its expression in cells/organisms, and its course in populations. prereq: [[Biol 3020 or BioC 3021 or BioC 4331], [any CBS major or major in [animal science or applied plant science or BA biology or BA microbiology or nutrition or physiology or biology/society/environment or biomedical engineering] or Grad MBS major]] or instr consent
BIOL 4004 - Cell Biology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01965 - Biol 4004/GCD 4005W
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Processes fundamental to cells. Emphasizes eukaryotic cells. Assembly/function of membranes/organelles. Cell division, cell form/movement, intercellular communication, transport, secretion pathways. Cancer cells, differentiated cells. prereq: - [(CBS major or CSE major) and (BIOL 3020 or BIOL 4003)] or grad MSB
BIOC 4331 - Biochemistry I: Structure, Catalysis, and Metabolism in Biological Systems
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00467 - BioC 3021/BioC 3022/BioC 4331/
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Advanced survey of structure/catalysis, metabolism/bioenergetics. prereq: (BIOL 1009 or 2003 or equiv) AND (Chem 2302 or CHEM 2081/2085 or equiv)
BIOC 4332 - Biochemistry II: Molecular Mechanisms of Signal Transduction and Gene Expression
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Advanced survey of molecular biology. Mechanisms of gene action/biological regulation. prereq: 4331 or instr consent
BIOC 6021 - Biochemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00467 - BioC 3021/6021/Biol 3021
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Fundamentals of biochemistry. Structure/function of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates. Metabolism, regulation of metabolism. Quantitative treatments of chemical equilibria, enzyme catalysis, and bioenergetics. Chemical basis of genetic information flow. prereq: general biology, organic chemistry, instr consent; intended for MBS students
STAT 5021 - Statistical Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Intensive introduction to statistical methods for graduate students needing statistics as a research technique. prereq: Credit will not be granted if credit has been received for: : 3011; College algebra or instr consent; Stat course recommended
PUBH 6450 - Biostatistics I
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Descriptive statistics. Gaussian probability models, point/interval estimation for means/proportions. Hypothesis testing, including t, chi-square, and nonparametric tests. Simple regression/correlation. ANOVA. Health science applications using output from statistical packages. prereq: [College-level algebra, health sciences grad student] or instr consent
PUBH 6451 - Biostatistics II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Two-way ANOVA, interactions, repeated measures, general linear models. Logistic regression for cohort and case-control studies. Loglinear models, contingency tables, Poisson regression, survival data, Kaplan-Meier methods, proportional hazards models. prereq: [PubH 6450 with grade of at least B, health sciences grad student] or instr consent
BMEN 5001 - Advanced Biomaterials
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Commonly used biomaterials. Chemical/physical aspects. Practical examples from such areas as cardiovascular/orthopedic applications, drug delivery, and cell encapsulation. Methods used for chemical analysis and for physical characterization of biomaterials. Effect of additives, stabilizers, processing conditions, and sterilization methods. prereq: 3301 or MatS 3011 or grad student or instr consent
BMEN 5041 - Tissue Engineering
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Fundamentals of wound healing and tissue repair; characterization of cell-matrix interactions; case study of engineered tissues, including skin, bone marrow, liver, vessel, and cartilage; regulation of biomaterials and engineered tissues. prereq: CSE upper div or grad student or med student or instr consent
BMEN 5101 - Advanced Bioelectricity and Instrumentation
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Instrumentation, computer systems, and processing requirements for clinical physiological signals. Electrode characteristics, signal processing, and interpretation of physiological events by ECG, EEG, and EMG. Measurement of respiration and blood volume/flow. prereq: [CSE upper div, grad student] or instr consent
BMEN 5351 - Cell Engineering
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Engineering approaches to cell-related phenomena important to cell/tissue engineering. Receptor/ligand binding. Trafficking/signaling processes. Applications to cell proliferation, adhesion, and motility. Cell-matrix interactions. prereq: [2401, [2501 or concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in 5501], [MATH 2243 or MATH 2373]] or CSE upper div or grad student or instr consent
CMB 8344 - Mechanisms of Hormone Action
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Mechanisms of hormone/cytokine action. Focuses on major signal transduction/apoptosis. Topics incorporate pharmacology, biochemistry, and cell biology of hormone action in relevant physiological systems. Lectures on basic principles. Specialized lectures. Discussion of primary literature. prereq: Course in biochemistry or cell biology or instr consent
GCD 4134 - Endocrinology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Survey of structure and function of invertebrate and vertebrate endocrine systems. prereq: BIOL 3211 or BIOC 3021 or BIOC 3022 or BIOC 4331 or instr consent
NSC 5540 - Survey of Biomedical Neuroscience
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Summer
Current topics in biomedical neuroscience, accompanied by supporting, fundamental concepts. Intensive, one week course. prereq: instr consent, intended for members of biomedical community or students with advanced scientific backgrounds
PHSL 4021 - Advanced Physiology and Bioengineering: Bionic Human
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Is "Iron Man" technology just around the corner? This course will examine how, and if, biomedical devices can address the needs of humans suffering from various pathologies and/or disabilities, or enhance human performance. Advanced discussion of the physiology of organs/organ systems and relevant devices past, present, and future. Emphasis will be on an in-depth understanding of normal physiology including cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, liver, motor, sensory, and pancreatic physiology. Classes will involve review of the physiology of organ systems, design considerations for medical devices, and discussions of published papers about basic science and clinical trials. Classes will be a combination of content presentation and discussion.
PHSL 5095 - Problems in Physiology
Credits: 1.0 -5.0 [max 20.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Individualized study in physiology. Students address selected problem through library or lab research, supervised by physiology faculty. prereq: instr consent
PHSL 5197 - Stress Physiology
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Journal club format. Meets weekly to examine foundations of stress, historical progress, development of stress, modern stress physiology. Focus on stress-induced pathology with attention to cardiovascular, metabolic, neuroendocrine disorders. prereq: instr consent, grad student standing or physiology undergraduate major are recommended. Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to have taken 3061 or equivalent.
PHSL 5444 - Muscle
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: BioC/Phsl 5444
Typically offered: Every Spring
Muscle membranes: structures, mechanisms, and physiological roles of channels/pumps. Muscle contraction: force generation by actin/myosin. prereq: 3061 or 3071 or 5061 or BioC 3021 or BioC 4331 or instr consent
PHSL 5510 - Advanced Cardiac Physiology and Anatomy
Credits: 2.0 -3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Fundamental concepts, advanced topics related to clinical/biomedical cardiac physiology. Lectures, laboratories, workshops, anatomical dissections. Intense, one week course. prereq: instr consent
PHSL 5525 - Anatomy and Physiology of the Pelvis and Urinary System
Credits: 1.0 -2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01795
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Two-day intensive course. Pelvis, perineum, and urinary system with cadaveric dissection. Structure/function of pelvic and urinary organs, including common dysfunction and pathophysiology. Laboratory dissections, including kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, pelvic viscera and perineum (male or female), pelvic floor, vascular and nervous structures. Grand rounds section. prereq: One undergrad anatomy course, one undergrad physiology course, instr consent
PHSL 8222 - Central Regulation of Autonomic Function
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: NSc/Phsl 8222
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Neural/hormonal sensory pathways affecting central autonomic nuclei involved in maintenance of homeostasis. Current research on physiological control systems at cellular, organ, and integrative levels. Offered fall of odd-numbered years. prereq: NSC 5561 or instr consent
PHSL 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 24 cr required