Who we are
Welcome to the Department of Physiology at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine.
Our department is devoted to outstanding research and committed to excellence in education. Our faculty participate in teaching medical and graduate students and are proud of their contribution to this important enterprise.
It is our expectation that the discoveries made here will have far reaching implications for the understanding and treatment of psychomotor disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, epilepsy and drug abuse.
These are exciting times for our department. Our facilities in the Morton and Ward buildings are undergoing extensive renovation, creating new space for staff offices, labs and core facilities.
We are also beginning a dramatic faculty expansion in the area of cellular and molecular physiology. Over the next four years, eight new faculty members will be recruited. Special emphasis will be placed on the recruitment of individuals using cutting-edge optical, electrophysiological and molecular techniques to unlock the mysteries of synaptic transmission, dendritic integration and neuromodulation. This expansion will complement the efforts of our internationally recognized faculty in systems neuroscience and serve to link the Department of Physiology with the growing basic science and clinical communities at Northwestern University.
About our research
Research in the Department of Physiology emphasizes quantitative studies of the regulatory and control systems of the body. Two areas of particular strength are central nervous system (CNS) mechanisms controlling body function and molecular mechanisms mediating hormone and neurotransmitter action.
In the first area, faculty members study the control of blood pressure, respiration, sexual function, and movement (voluntary limb movements, coordinated eye/head movements that constitute gaze, postural control, and spinal reflexes regulating individual muscles).
Related efforts include studies of the biophysics and pharmacology of neural synaptic transmission and adaptive plasticity and investigation of computer models of CNS function. In the area of hormone and neurotransmitter action, we have faculty members studying peptides, excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters, and catecholomines in testicular, kidney, endometrial, and ovarian cells and in brain slices and brain cell cultures.
About our research programs
Our work on neural control is supported by a program project grant in the thematic area. Our work on neuronal populations and behavior is supported by a center grant. Members of the department also participate in many interdepartmental activities.
Eleven of us are members of a University-wide Institute for Neuroscience in which more than 80 faculty members from 10 departments collaborate to pursue interdisciplinary research and train graduate students in an interdepartmental PhD program.
We also participate in the Integrated Graduate Program in the Life Sciences, as well as the graduate training program, Dynamics of Complex Systems in Science and Engineering (IGERT), both of which provide the base for ties with departments in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering. Additionally, several faculty members have joint appointments and collaborative research programs in clinical departments or centers including Anesthesiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), Surgery, and Urology.