Physiology examines life processes, from the molecular and cellular level, to tissues and organs, and explains how these interact together, with the environment, to produce beneficial effects on function.

Under conditions of disease, normal processes become disrupted and promote dysfunction in patients, the study of which is referred to as 'pathophysiology'.

We are ranked in the world's top 20:

Physiology research in the school has five broad areas:

Cardiovascular electrophysiology

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in Australia. The Cardiovascular Electrophysiology Laboratory specializes in original research into the mechanisms that lead to sudden cardiac death in the young due to genetic mutations in the heart muscle and coronary artery disease that leads to heart attack.

We are also designing and testing therapy to reduce this significant burden.

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Neonatal physiology

Preterm birth is a serious neonatal disorder that causes death and also long term ill-health for surviving infants. Due to immaturity of the respiratory system, artificial resuscitation is required including mechanical ventilation and supplemental oxygen which contributes to abnormal respiratory organ development. Numerous other biological systems are affected including the brain, heart, diaphragm and intestinal organs.

This multidisciplinary research program strives to understand and reduce the morbidity associated with preterm birth.

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Respiratory physiology

The tracheobronchial tree is a physiological pipping system that supplies the alveoli where gas exchange occurs with the pulmonary circulation. Airway passages are susceptible to disease processes which present early (e.g. asthma) and later in life (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

This research program examines the underlying mechanisms of these common obstructive airway diseases that reduce both the quality of life and life expectancy.

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Skeletal muscle physiology

Skeletal muscles are essential for all aspects of movement as well as heat generation and metabolism. Our research deals with the physiology of skeletal muscle under healthy, aged and diseased conditions.

We are particularly interested in the molecular processes underlying muscle contraction, the mechanisms of contractile dysfunction associated with injury and ageing and the evaluation of medical treatments for sarcopenia and muscular diseases, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

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Thermal and comparative physiology

The Thermal and Comparative Physiology Laboratory specialises in original research into the mechanisms and ecological consequences of temperature regulation and the physiological adaptation of birds and mammals, including humans, to different environments.

Our research has implications for native animal conservation, production animal systems, and the ability of humans to maintain active lifestyles.

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