During their first two years, the students take advanced courses in membrane physiology and biophysics, cellular physiology, neurophysiology and systemic physiology, as well as a core course in cell molecular biology and interdisciplinary biomedical sciences.

During the first year, the students choose several laboratories in which to do brief, introductory research projects (rotations). After the student's selection of a faculty mentor the main emphasis of training shifts to the design and proposal of a dissertation research project, and, with its approval, laboratory research. Students report periodically on their research in discussions with other students and the faculty.

Since the Department aims to prepare its graduates for careers in research and teaching, all students in the Department are expected to participate in teaching; these teaching activities typically require no more than 1-2 weeks per year.

Curriculum Requirements

Biomedical Science Core
PIB 700Journal Club2
PIB 701Introduction to Biomedical Sciences5
PIB 702Scientific Reasoning3
PIB 705Biostatistics for the Biosciences3
PIB 731Laboratory Research2
PIB 780Research Ethics1
PIB 782Professional Development: Skills for Success I1
PIB 783Professional Development: Skills for Success II1
PIB 785PIBS Bioinformatics Workshop1
PIB 830Doctoral Dissertation1
Physiology Required Courses
PHS 610Cell Physiology Biophysics2
PHS 611Neurophysiology2
PHS 612Systemic Physiology4
PHS 700Research Seminar in Membrane Biophysics and Neurobiology4
PHS 741Principles of Membrane Physiology and Biophysics I2
PHS 742Principles of Membrane Physiology and Biophysics II2
Research Credits26
PHS 830Doctoral Dissertation-
PHS 840Doctoral Dissertation- Post Candidacy-
Total Credit Hours62

Program Plan

The Department of Cellular Physiology and Molecular Biophysics’ PhD program trains highly qualified students for successful careers in research, teaching and industry. A high faculty to student ratio assures that each student receives individualized help from the faculty together with access to the latest scientific instrumentation.

Student training is enhanced by research seminars and student-oriented discussions presented by world-renowned visiting scientists, as well as by participation in research seminars and research discussion groups. We seek to provide a congenial and supportive environment in which each student develops to the fullest thier abilities to reason critically, design and conduct incisive experiments, and communicate research results effectively in both written and oral formats. Our faculty’s wide collective experience as successful researchers, teachers, journal editors, and peer reviewers is available to help graduates prepare for and attain research and teaching positions in academia and industry.

Please note that the following is only a sample curriculum plan. Current students must discuss their plan with their program director to make adjustments as needed. It is the student's responsibility to contact the program to verify the information.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredit Hours
PIB 701 Introduction to Biomedical Sciences 5
PIB 702 Scientific Reasoning 3
PIB 731 Laboratory Research 1-2
PIB 700 Journal Club 1
PIB 780 Research Ethics 1
PIB 782 Professional Development: Skills for Success I 1
 Credit Hours12-13
Spring
PIB 700 Journal Club 1
PIB 731 Laboratory Research 1-2
PIB 783 Professional Development: Skills for Success II 1
PHS 610 Cell Physiology Biophysics 2
PHS 611 Neurophysiology 2
PHS 612 Systemic Physiology 4
PHS 741 Principles of Membrane Physiology and Biophysics I 2
PHS 742 Principles of Membrane Physiology and Biophysics II 2
PIB 705 Biostatistics for the Biosciences 3
 Credit Hours18-19
Summer
PIB 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1-12
 Credit Hours1-12
Year Two
Fall
PHS 700 Research Seminar in Membrane Biophysics and Neurobiology 1
PHS 830 Doctoral Dissertation 3
 Credit Hours4
Spring
PHS 700 Research Seminar in Membrane Biophysics and Neurobiology 1
PHS 830 Doctoral Dissertation 3
 Credit Hours4
Summer
PIB 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
 Credit Hours1
Year Three
Fall
PHS 700 Research Seminar in Membrane Biophysics and Neurobiology 1
PHS 840 Doctoral Dissertation- Post Candidacy 3
 Credit Hours4
Spring
PHS 700 Research Seminar in Membrane Biophysics and Neurobiology 1
PHS 840 Doctoral Dissertation- Post Candidacy 3
 Credit Hours4
Summer
PHS 840 Doctoral Dissertation- Post Candidacy 1
 Credit Hours1
Year Four
Fall
PHS 840 Doctoral Dissertation- Post Candidacy 3
 Credit Hours3
Spring
PHS 840 Doctoral Dissertation- Post Candidacy 3
 Credit Hours3
Summer
PHS 840 Doctoral Dissertation- Post Candidacy 1
 Credit Hours1
Year Five
Fall
PHS 840 Doctoral Dissertation- Post Candidacy 3
 Credit Hours3
Spring
PHS 840 Doctoral Dissertation- Post Candidacy 3
 Credit Hours3
Summer
PHS 840 Doctoral Dissertation- Post Candidacy 1
 Credit Hours1
 Total Credit Hours63-76

PIB 700. Journal Club. 1 Credit Hour.

All PIBS students are required to attend one journal club or seminar each week.
Components: SEM.
Grading: SUS.
Typically Offered: Fall & Spring.

PIB 701. Introduction to Biomedical Sciences. 5 Credit Hours.

This course surveys fundamentals of molecular and cellular biology that underly all modern biomedical research. Lectures are organized into modules that cover Proteins and DNA, Gene Expression, Signaling and Membranes, Cells, and Development. A final module covers immunology, organ systems, and genetics. Experimental techniques are emphasized throughout, with the first week of the course devoted to a bootcamp on common biomedical methods.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

PIB 702. Scientific Reasoning. 3 Credit Hours.

This course teaches scientific reasoning by critical reading of primary research papers in a small-group setting. Multiple small groups are offered every week and students can choose from different topics related to lectures in the companion PIB 701 course. Research papers are discussed in two 1-hour sessions each week.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

PIB 705. Biostatistics for the Biosciences. 3 Credit Hours.

This is an introductory course that will cover the basics of applied statistics. The course will emphasize a practical understanding of statistical concepts: the goal is to prepare you to be able to properly analyze and interpret data from your research, not to turn you into a statistician. As such, the structure of the course is designed to give you lots of hands-on experience with data and statistical software, and to teach you how to proceed when you encounter novel problems in the future (e.g., data that you're not quite sure how to analyze). An overall goal of the course is to prepare you to be able to intelligently assess the statistics commonly encountered in journal articles within your field and provide you with the fundamental skills required for more advanced statistical methods when you late encounter the need.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

PIB 706. Bioinformatics for the Biomedical Sciences. 2-4 Credit Hours.

PIBS 706 introduces graduate students to Bioinformatics in two parts. The first half of the course (7 weeks) covers introductory python programming for the bioscientist with hands-on coding and a programming project. The second half of the course covers analysis of biological data from primary sequences (1D), secondary and tertiary structures (2D/3D), and transcriptomic, functional and pathway analysis (4D). The course will be case-based and students will be graded on assignments rather than exams.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

PIB 731. Laboratory Research. 1-6 Credit Hours.

Laboratory rotations familiarize students with a variety of modern techniques in biomedicine and potential mentors for their dissertation projects. One credit is awarded per rotation.
Components: LAB.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

PIB 780. Research Ethics. 1 Credit Hour.

The NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts stipulates that Institutions receiving support for National Research Service Award Training Grants are required to develop a program in the principles of scientific integrity. This program should be an integral part of the proposed training effort.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

PIB 782. Professional Development: Skills for Success I. 1 Credit Hour.

This workshop will teach students the basics on how to: manage your career, choose a rotation lab / mentor, read a scientific paper, write a lab report and present in the journal club and lab meetings.
Components: LEC.
Grading: SUS.
Typically Offered: Fall.

PIB 783. Professional Development: Skills for Success II. 1 Credit Hour.

This workshop will teach students the basics on how to: write a fellowship and scientific paper as well as the proper and ethical handling of research data.
Components: LEC.
Grading: SUS.
Typically Offered: Spring.

PIB 784. Practical Graduate Teaching. 1 Credit Hour.


Prerequisite: PIB 701.
Components: FLD.
Grading: SUS.
Typically Offered: Fall & Spring.

PIB 785. PIBS Bioinformatics Workshop. 1 Credit Hour.

The aim of this workshop is to introduce graduate students to basic bioinformatics data retrieval and analysis as relevant to bio-medical research. The sessions will include discussion on focused topics and hands-on, project-based exercises. Only publicly available databases and web-tools will be used, no programming will be taught.
Components: WKS.
Grading: SUS.
Typically Offered: Summer.

PIB 830. Doctoral Dissertation. 1-12 Credit Hours.

Required for all PhD candidates. First-year students generally take one credit of doctoral dissertation in their first summer semester then continue in program specific dissertation credit through graduation.
Components: THI.
Grading: SUS.
Typically Offered: Summer.

PHS 610. Cell Physiology Biophysics. 2 Credit Hours.


Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

PHS 611. Neurophysiology. 2 Credit Hours.

Physiology of the mammalian nervous system. Course is intensive, adapted to the schedule of the medical curriculum and comprising roughly five hours of lecture and four hours of conference weekly for five to six weeks. A lecture course coordinated with neuroanatomy.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

PHS 612. Systemic Physiology. 4 Credit Hours.

Physiology of the mammalian cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, digestive, endocrine, and reproductive systems. Course is intensive and adapted to the schedule of the medical curriculum, occupying the equivalent of about two days a week for most of semester. Lecture and laboratory are included.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

PHS 620. Neurophysiology. 3 Credit Hours.

Physiology of the mammalian nervous system. The course will consist of both didactic lectures and discussions of current research literature.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

PHS 669. Nerve and Synapse. 2 Credit Hours.

An advanced seminar course in the basic mechanisms underlying the propagated nerve impulse and synaptic transmission.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

PHS 700. Research Seminar in Membrane Biophysics and Neurobiology. 1 Credit Hour.

The student may be required to present a short talk on a research area of interest. All students in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics are required to register for this seminar. For other students, permission of the Departmental Graduate Studies Committee is required.
Components: SEM.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

PHS 709. Research. 1-5 Credit Hours.

Students work with individual members of the department on research problems. Orientation to the areas of research in the field and the techniques used is included.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

PHS 720. Research in Residence. 0 Credit Hours.

Used to establish research in residence for the thesis for the master's degree after the student has enrolled for the permissible cumulative total in PHS 710 (usually six credits). Credit not granted. May be regarded as full time residence.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Offered by Announcement Only.

PHS 731. Special Work. 1-5 Credit Hours.

Special work, lecture, laboratory, reading, seminar, or a combination of these as determined by advisor in accordance with student's interest.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

PHS 741. Principles of Membrane Physiology and Biophysics I. 2 Credit Hours.

Course discusses chemical and physical structure of membranes, model systems, permeability and transport, membrane potential, ionic channels, excitability in nerve and muscle, ionophores, active transport, and membrane receptors. Identical with MCP 641.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

PHS 742. Principles of Membrane Physiology and Biophysics II. 2 Credit Hours.

Course topics include osmosis and cell volume, tracer analysis of permeability and compartmentation, theory of channels and carriers, cable properties, Hodgkin-Huxley formalism, Na, K, and Ca ion channels, regulation of cellular Na, Ca activities, single-channel analysis, chemical synapses, membrane receptors, cell junctions, excitation and E-C coupling in muscle. Identical with MCP 642.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

PHS 810. Master's Thesis. 1-6 Credit Hours.

The student working on his/her master's thesis enrolls for credit, in most departments not to exceed six, as determined by his/her advisor. Credit is not awarded until the thesis has been accepted.
Components: THI.
Grading: SUS.
Typically Offered: Offered by Announcement Only.

PHS 830. Doctoral Dissertation. 1-12 Credit Hours.

Required of all candidates for the Ph.D. The student will enroll for credit as determined by his/her advisor but not for less than a total of 24. Not more than 12 hours of PHS 730 may be taken in a regular semester, nor more than six in a summer session. Where a student has passed his/her (a) qualifying examinations, and (b) is engaged in an assistantship, he/she may still take the maximum allowable credit stated above.
Components: THI.
Grading: SUS.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

PHS 840. Doctoral Dissertation- Post Candidacy. 1-12 Credit Hours.


Components: THI.
Grading: SUS.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

PHS 850. Research in Residence. 1 Credit Hour.

Used to establish research in residence for the Ph.D., after the student has been enrolled for the permissible cumulative total in appropriate doctoral research. Credit not granted. May be regarded as full-time residence as determined by the Dean of the Graduate School.
Components: THI.
Grading: SUS.
Typically Offered: Offered by Announcement Only.