About Us

Welcome from the Chair, Dr. Greg Funk

Thank you for visiting the Department of Physiology website.

Physiology is the integrative study of cellular and whole-body function; it is the pivotal discipline linking other basic biomedical sciences on the one hand with experimental and clinical medicine on the other.

The Department of Physiology was established in 1914 and is the longest-standing department in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry (FoMD). We are an internationally renowned teaching- and research-intensive department ranked 21st amongst Physiology Departments worldwide (QS World University Research Rankings 2022). We are proud of our international reputation and the diverse, collegial environment we have established. The department currently comprises 15 faculty members (9 women, 6 men), 9 adjunct faculty, 3 research Associates, 7 postdoctoral fellows, 49 graduate students, and 6 staff. Research programs span a broad range of topics that feature world-class expertise in specific sub-disciplines of physiology including: 

  • membrane transport and biophysics
  • cellular and systems neurophysiology (with concentrated expertise in motor and respiratory control),
  • lipid physiology
  • fetal/neonatal physiology
  • cardiovascular physiology

 The Department runs a large undergraduate program with more than 2500 students from diverse programs registered in the 28 courses we offer in the 2nd, the 3rd, and 4th year. We also run an Undergraduate Honors Program that has enjoyed almost 300% growth in the last five years, reaching 199 students in 2021/22. Growth of the program reflects in part increased understanding that it offers an important portal for medical school admissions and that the research-intensive experience required in 4th year teaches professional life skills (critical thinking, proposal development, project management, technical competency, advanced communication) that foster career success, inside and outside academia.

Our Graduate program offers thesis-based MSc and PhD degrees and has grown ~20% in the last five years. Enrolment currently stands at 48 students; 18 MSc; 20 PhD (42% are international). The external committee responsible for the recent (2022) Quality Assurance Review of our graduate program reported that The Dept. of Physiology has well-established laboratories and state-of-the-art programs, which provide an ideal training environment for graduate students.” Our faculty members understand that effective training requires not only the provision of technical competencies but also mentorship and professional development tailored to the needs and career aspirations of individuals. Recent graduates enjoy success in diverse careers around the world, including faculty positions, industrial research, research support (government, universities, funding agencies, facilities management), venture capitalism, clinical trials coordination, public policy, and law. 

I invite you to continue exploring our website to learn more about our research and training/career opportunities. I also encourage you to contact our staff with any questions that arise, including questions about how Departmental programs might help you achieve personal goals.

Enjoy your virtual visit to Physiology at the UofA.

Dr. Gregory Funk, Professor and Chair,
Department of Physiology