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Animal Physiology

The Animal Physiology concentration provides a solid foundation in basic physiological mechanisms in the first year of study, and offers a wide selection of specialty interests in the second year of study. Two lecture courses, Cellular Physiology and Animal Physiology, form the foundation. Seven additional credit hours selected from a wide choice of physiology courses (of which 4 credit hours must be a laboratory) fulfill the requirements of the concentration. Most of our graduates go on to medical or veterinary schools. Many decide to spend a life in research and go on to pursue Ph.D. degrees.

Animal physiology is housed in the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine because of the obvious connections between physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, pathology, medicine, surgery and the creation of new knowledge through biomedical research. The facilities for student laboratories are excellent.

In addition to formal course work, there are many opportunities for undergraduates to become active researchers through campus-wide programs, among them the Honors Program in Biology and Independent Studies in Physiology. It is not uncommon for undergraduates to spend one summer or more in Ithaca participating in research full-time. And it is not unusual for undergraduate physiology students to present their research at scientific meetings and to share (or lead) authorship in the professional literature.

The research interests and activity of more than 30 members of the faculty can be broadly grouped into Anatomy, Behavioral Physiology, Cell and Molecular Physiology, Cancer Biology, Stem Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Genomics, Organ and System Physiology, Pathology, and Zoology. Students may do research in virtually every field of biomedical investigation, from isolating and cloning new membrane transport proteins to searching for new hormones, to tracing the molecular cables of communication within and between cells, to investigating the mechanisms of irregular heartbeats, to determining blood flow to specific tissues during situations of rest and exercise, to tracking the development of neural connections, to learning how fish see in water and in the dark, to discovering how the immune system recognizes foreign but not native proteins, and to unraveling the complexities of reproduction and the development of the fetus. Most research is done at cellular and subcellular levels.

Career plans take our graduates to medical, veterinary, and other professional schools. Some graduates of the Animal Physiology concentration pursue advanced degrees in fields such as anatomy, animal science, biophysics, molecular and cell biology, neurobiology, physiology, pharmacology, and zoology. Our graduates have also found employment in museums, pharmaceutical companies, public-relations firms, publishing houses, artificial insemination services, feed companies, and in research laboratories in private, university, state, and federal institutions. The 21st century has been designated the Century of Biology in anticipation of heretofore unimaginable vistas promised by the merging of biology and technology.

 

Animal Physiology Requirements