In this post-genomic era, physiology is uniquely poised at the nexus between molecular function and whole animal integration with the goal of understanding how the functions of thousands of encoded proteins serve to bring about the highly coordinated behavior of cells and tissues underlying physiological functions in animals and how their dysfunction may lead to disease. Research and graduate training in the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology is focused on understanding the regulation and function of gene products at multiple levels of biological organization, from molecules and macromolecular complexes to cells, tissues, and whole organisms. With the tools of molecular genetics and modern systems biology, physiologists are at the forefront of dramatic advances currently occurring in life and biomedical sciences. Advanced training in molecular and integrative physiology will provide the necessary foundation to prepare for a career in this exciting area of functional biology.
In response to seizures, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), a network of flattened tubes in the cell that packages and transports proteins, triggers a stress response that reduces brain activity and seizure severity. The new findings, reported by Nien-Pei Tsai (Assistant Professor in Molecular and Integrative Physiology) on 26th September in PLOS Genetics, may have important implications for the development of new epilepsy therapies.
Molecular and integrative physiology professor Hee Jung Chung (left), her postdoctoral fellow Eung Chang Kim (middle), Psychology professor Justin Rhodes (right), and their colleagues discovered that heterozygous loss of KCNQ2 potassium channel gene induces autism-associated behaviors in mice including social avoidance, repetitive behaviors, and obsessive and compulsive-like behaviors.
From weakly electric fish to a robotic cockroach to a novel approach to using wireless networks for emergency response, Mark E. Nelson’s research career exemplifies the success of an interdisciplinary approach through his work in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and the Beckman Institute.
Our fall issue of the MCB magazine focuses on the diverse ways in which microbes affect our health.