The proposition to create the Department of Physiology emerged from an initiative by researchers linked to the division called “General and Animal Physiology” of the Department of Zoology, in the former School of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters, still in the mid 1950s. Among them, the renowned researchers Paulo Sawaya and Erasmo Garcia Mendes would later found the Graduate School in General Physiology in the early 1970s. In 1994, the Graduate School became independent from the Graduate School in Physiology and Biophysics of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. The Graduate School has greatly contributed to the establishment of new research groups in Animal Physiology in Brazil.
The Department of Physiology aims at producing independent-minded professionals who are well-prepared for teaching, developing scientific research, and who have a thorough understanding of the scientific method. Guided by this vision, the goals of the Department include training students for: (i) critical reading, (ii) raising questions and hypotheses, (iii) understanding the most relevant methods used in subareas of physiology, and (iv) understanding how scientific knowledge is produced.
Research performed at the Department of Physiology is focused on interdisciplinary questions to develop original approaches in terms of concepts and methods. Some ongoing projects involve disciplinary convergences of Physiology with Math, Ecology, Pharmacology, Evolution, Conservation Biology, Animal Behavior, Education, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Parasitology.
The Department owns two animal facilities: one exclusively dedicated to laboratory rodents and the other suitable for the maintenance of non-traditional experimental models, especially amphibians, reptiles, fish, and arthropods. Together, the laboratories offer the necessary infrastructure to support high-quality research. In addition to basic equipment, the Department also provides large multi-user equipment, such as liquid scintillation spectrometer, confocal microscope, High-Performance Liquid Chromatography system (HPLC), Gas Chromatography system (GC), and microplate spectrophotometer (ELISA). The participation of the professors in large-scale projects has been fundamental to obtain high-tech equipment, with an important contribution of individual research grants and other projects based at the department. Finally, the laboratories benefit from the infrastructure provided by the Institute of Biosciences (IB): auditorium, computer support, videoconference, access to the CAPES Portal of Scientific Journals, vehicles (for excursions and fieldwork), and a mobile laboratory.
Currently, the major research lines of the Department of Physiology include:
- Cellular Biology of Marine Invertebrates
- Science of Cognition
- Ecophysiology and Evolutionary Physiology
- Teaching of Cognitive Physiology
- Comparative Cellular Physiology
- Cellular Physiology of Plasmodium
- Physiology of Pigmentation
- Physiology of Trypanosomatids
- Molecular Physiology of the Digestive Tract
- Respiratory Physiology and Energetic Metabolism
- Theoretical Physiology
- Metabolism and Reproduction of Aquatic Organisms
- Neurosciences and Behavior
- Neurotransmission and Neural Modulation of Arterial Pressure
- Behavior and Evolutionary Physiology
Visit the Website of the Department of Physiology: http://www.ib.usp.br/fisiologia/posfisiologia/en/