Find A PhysicianHome  |  Library  |  myDownstate  |  Newsroom  |  A-Z Guide  |  E-mail  |  Contact Us  |  Directions

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology

Physiology Courses for the
School of Health Professions


Physiology 3110/5110: Principles of Human Physiology and Biochemistry

Course Director: Alan P. Rudell, PhD

Faculty: Drs. Carty (Biochemistry), Altura, Bianchi, Erlij, Fox, Orman, Perkins, Rudell, Smith, Stelzer, Stewart, Williams, Wong, and Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows.

Students: Physical Therapy and Physician’s Assistant

Physiology is the science that deals with the functions of the body. It logically follows that a sound, comprehensive knowledge of human physiology should occupy a significant part of the academic training of personnel in Medicine and related fields. It is essential, if they are to understand and carry out effectively their designated responsibilities in their respective professions.

In this particular course the emphasis will be on normal functions, but to some extent we will consider the consequences of disease and injury, and deal with the body's potential for recovery and for compensation. Behavioral responses to environmental conditions will be considered, but in this area our chief concern will be with the regulation and control of fundamental reflexes or neuroendocrine mechanisms.

Course Description: A study of basic physiological and biochemical principles governing the properties of living tissue and their participation in the coordinated function and control of various organ systems of the body with emphasis on the underlying unity of biological processes in response and adjustment to environmental change.

General Objectives: The student will be required to understand the fundamental mechanisms of physiology and biochemistry with emphasis on normal function, although, to some extent, knowledge of the consequences of disease and injury is expected.

Specific Objectives: The student should understand:

  1. Basic principles of cellular chemistry (including carbohydrates, proteins and lipids) and function such as molecular control mechanisms, cellular metabolism and membrane transport.
  2. Membrane excitability; nerve and muscle function (including electrical events, neurotransmitters and receptors).
  3. The major organ systems: i.e., Cardiovascular (including cellular and electrical events of the cardiac cycle; hemodynamics of the circulation and control during rest and exercise). Respiratory (including pulmonary function and control of cellular respiration); Gastrointestinal (including digestion, secretion, absorption and motility); Renal (including function and physiology of each section of the kidney, regulation of extra- and intracellular electrolytes, pH and volume); Endocrine (including hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pancreas, and male and female reproduction).


Physiology 3212: Neurophysiology of Motor Control (24 hours in Spring)

Course Director: Steven E. Fox, PhD

Faculty: Drs. Bianchi, Fox, Kubie, Orman, Martinez-Conde, Penington, Stewart, Wong

Students: Physical Therapy

Course Objectives:

At the conclusion of this course the student will:

  1. Know the range of basic mechanisms for communication in the nervous system.
  2. Know how potential differences are produced across biological membranes.
  3. Understand the conductance changes underlying initiation and propagation of action potentials in neurons and muscle fibers.
  4. Know the mechanisms underlying conduction failure in the various peripheral neuropathies.
  5. Be able to predict qualitative and quantitative changes in nerve and muscle membrane excitability due to changes in extracellular constituents.
  6. Describe the mechanisms of sensory transduction and the properties of the sensory receptors contributing to position sense.
  7. Understand the basic mechanisms underlying the physiological properties of muscle.
  8. Know the similarities and differences between chemical transmission at central synapses and at the skeletal neuromuscular junction.
  9. Understand the mechanisms underlying twitch vs. tetanic force generation and normal smooth movements by skeletal muscle.
  10. Know the circuits for spinal reflexes, long loop reflexes and how they are affected by spinal transection.
  11. Describe the components of eye movements, their activities in optokinetic nystagmus and the vestibulo-ocular reflex, and the associated neural circuits.
  12. Understand the spinal cord and brainstem mechanisms involved in simple movements.
  13. Understand the mechanisms underlying the control of posture.
  14. Know the roles of the various motor areas of the cerebral cortex in voluntary movement.
  15. Describe the effects of lesions of the motor areas of the cerebral cortex and the basal ganglia.
  16. Understand the role of the cerebellar circuitry in motor control.
  17. Know some of the recent technological developments for replacing lost function and understanding motor control in humans and non-human primates.