Today, physiology is in a unique position to bridge the gap between basic science and clinical medicine. Some have estimated that approximately 70% of the practice of clinical medicine deals with physiology gone awry. Much of the progress in the science of physiology has come from investigators studying disease processes. Conversely, some of the most exciting insights in physiological research come as investigators stress physiological systems in ways that mimics disease processes.
Not surprisingly, much of the work in our Department involves researching and studying disease. Some of the diseases we study relate directly to one organ system, such as cardiac arrhythmias and the cardiovascular system. Others diseases can relate to more than one, such as acid-base disturbances and the renal and respiratory systems. Still others, such as inflammation are of such general importance that they impact many organ systems, and can be thought of as part of general medical science. A unique aspect of our Department is our integrative approach to problems, from the level of the atom to the level of the whole organism. To learn more about this integration, see Disciplines.