Physiology seeks to understand biological function spanning the range from molecular mechanisms to medical problems. No other field has such an important task or is as cross-disciplinary in nature. The Department of Physiology is an internationally recognized research center in which this broad perspective is collaboratively embraced by the entire faculty.

Areas of systems level investigation include the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine, immune and central nervous systems. We also explore cellular processes such as synaptic transmission, the immune response and muscle excitation-contraction coupling as well as molecular mechanisms of ion channels and transporters. At the level of disease, efforts are focused on spinocerebellar ataxia, epilepsy, blindness, cardiac hypertrophy and failure, diabetes, immune deficiencies, muscular dystrophy, channelopathies, transport deficiencies and others.

Research approaches are multidisciplinary, including electrophysiology and biophysics, molecular, cellular and whole-animal imaging, proteomics and X-ray crystallography Moreover, the Department has a strong track record of being at the forefront of emerging new approaches.

There are active collaborative ties with clinical departments and institutes throughout the David Geffen School of Medicine, including the Cardiovascular Research Laboratory and the Departments of Medicine, Pharmacology, Neurology and Anesthesiology.

Recent Publications of Physiology Faculty

A study by the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Wright lab has identified a new mechanism that delivers a key substance that fuels the growth of pancreatic and prostate cancer cells, a finding that offers new hope in the fight against two of the deadliest forms of the disease:

  • Claudio Scafoglio, Bruce A. Hirayama, Vladimir Kepe, Jie Liu, Chiara Ghezzi, Nagichettiar Satyamurthy, Neda A. Moatamed, Jiaoti Huang, Hermann Koepsell, Jorge R. Barrio, and Ernest M. Wright (2015)
    Functional expression of sodium-glucose transporters in cancer PNAS 2015; published ahead of print July 13, 2015, doi:10.1073/pnas.1511698112

  • A study from the Khakh lab published in Nature Neuroscience shows that signaling-dependent Ca2+ fluctuations persist in astrocyte processes, despite a lack of IP3 receptors.
    This finding implies the lack of a behavioral phenotype for IP3-null mice does not exclude a vital role for Ca2+ signaling in astrocytes:

    Srinivasan R, Huang BS, Venugopal S, Johnston AD, Chai H, Zeng H, Golshani P & Khakh BS. (2015)
    Ca2+ signaling in astrocytes from Ip3r2-/- mice in brain slices and during startle responses in vivo. Nature Neuroscience, 18: 708, 2015

    UCLA Physiology Department Open Positions

    Assistant Project Scientist

    Tenure Track Faculty Position (Cardiovascular Science)

    Tenure Track Faculty Position (Neuroscience)

    The Department's doctoral research students come from various UCLA PhD programs including the Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology Interdepartmental PhD Program (MCIP), the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP MD-PhD), ACCESS and the Neuroscience Interdepartmental PhD Program, collectively contributing to an exciting state of the art training experience.

    Physiology Seminars Presents:

    Sun Lab May 15th 2015 at 4pm, 5th floor lecture hall 53-105 CHS
    Abramson Lab June 19th 2015 at 4pm, 5th floor lecture hall 53-105 CHS

    The objective of the UCLA Physiology Outreach Program is to provide high school-aged students in Los Angeles with the opportunity to experience scientific research first hand in UCLA laboratories.


    Stephen C. Cannon, M.D., Ph.D. has been appointed as Chair of the Department of Physiology in the David Geffen School of Medicine, beginning February 1, 2015. Dr. Cannon is a highly accomplished scientist and educator who was chosen through an intensive national search.

    PDF of the announcement.
     Faculty Focus  


    Peipei Ping, Ph.D delivered the Robert M. Berne Distinguished Lecture at the American Physiological Society Experimental Biology 2015 meeting in Boston. Her talk on March 31 was entitled Understanding pathogenesis of human heart failure: from molecular pathways to phenotype characterizations