PHPH D621: Medical Physiology


Over 2000 years ago, “Physiology” represented a term for questioning the functional aspects of man’s own nature and that surrounding him as revealed by the Greek derivation (physio = nature; logy = logic) and the similar Chinese meaning (physiology = logic of life). As scientific techniques and methodology progressed, the meaning of “Physiology” transformed into the present-day usage, which is simply “the study of function.” Thus, Medical Physiology is a course designed to examine and understand function, specifically the function of the human body. This course is for medical students so particular attention is given to understanding human physiology as it pertains to the future physician. Physiology encompasses many layers, from cellular function to organ function to whole-body regulation. All aspects are covered in this course, but particular emphasis is placed on integrating each layer as it applies to the whole body.


All the major organ systems are covered in the course, which include the following: acid-base balance, body fluids, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, renal, reproduction, and respiratory. The material is given in lecture format, laboratory exercises, small group discussions, clinical correlations, and self-study modules. Case studies are included in these formats as is a brief discussion of many disease/pathologic conditions. The syllabus and other information specifically related to this course can be found at the Blackboard website.


Each instructor will provide a handout for his/her section.The recommended textbook for the course is: Medical Physiology, A Systems Approach, Raff & Levitzky, McGraw-Hill.  The following monographs may also be useful: Cell Physiology, D. Landowne, McGraw-Hill.  Endocrine Physiology, PE Molina, 3rd Edition, McGraw-Hill. Cardiovascular Physiology, Mohrman & Heller, 7th Edition, McGraw-Hill.  Vander’s Renal Physiology, Eaton & Pooler, 7th Edition, McGraw-Hill.  Gastrointestinal Physiology, LR Johnson, 7th Edition, Mosby. Pulmonary Physiology,  MG Levitzky, 7th Edition,  McGraw-Hill.


Classes meet in the Spring semester on Monday 1-3 PM, Wednesday 8-10 AM, Thursday 10-noon & 1-2 PM, and Friday 8-10 AM. Small groups and laboratories also meet on certain Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.


L. Britt Wilson, Ph.D.
Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience
SOM Campus, Building 1, Room D-35
Phone: 803 216-3520


Registered students in this course may receive more detailed class information by accessing the following link: