Medical Student Education

When you train with our faculty, we’ll augment your understanding of physiology and biophysics, providing you with essential knowledge that you’ll tap throughout your career.

Elective Courses

Our electives let you pursue clinical and research experiences tailored to your interests.

BPH 505 Biophysical Basics: Processes, 4 credits

First semester of a two-semester sequence. This course is concerned with the fundamental physical and physicochemical treatment of various kinetic processes underlying the normal function of biological systems.

Topics include: Non-equilibrium processes, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, osmotic and hydrostatic forces, membrane permeation and potentials, the mechanisms of excitability and particularly the topics of membrane transport pertaining to various membrane proteins, including ion channel proteins.

Spring semester. Dual-listed as BPH-405. Shinpei Ohki, PhD, and staff.

Number of students: 15.

BPH 510 Modeling and Systems Theory Biophysics, 3 credits

Second semester of a two-semester sequence. This course is concerned with the more complex, occasionally larger-scale, examples of processes in biology.

Topics include: Fourier analysis as a descriptive tool, control theory in biology, fluctuations and noise analysis, the interaction of photons with biological systems, spectroscopy and imaging in biomedicine.

Spring semester. Feng Qin, PhD, and staff.

Number of students: 20.

BPH 600 Independent Study, 1-3 credits

This course is tutorial in nature and is designed to meet the needs of the students. Thus, the goals, objectives and expectations vary depending on the students.

Fall and spring semesters. Staff.

BPH 601/602 Biophysics Seminar, 1 credit

This course is intended to enhance graduate student appreciation of the scope of the biophysical sciences. A weekly seminar series is held on topics of current interest in a diversity of areas of biophysics. Seminars are presented by University at Buffalo faculty and prominent scientists from throughout the nation.

The student is expected to become familiar with the experimental protocols and current issues in biophysics.

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

Fall and spring semesters. Vaidhyanathan, Srikrishnan and staff.

Number of students: 15-30.

PGY 503 Advanced Topics: Physiology of Aging, 3 credits

This lecture format graduate course will meet twice per week for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Three written exams (two hourly and a final) will be given for a total of 100% of the final grade.

The objectives of this course are to discuss the changes in the biological processes of various organ systems with the passage of time that result in an organism’s (i.e., humans) decreased ability to adapt to the environment. Although no text is required for the course, selected readings from current literature for each area will be assigned.

Topics include theories of aging, metabolism and body composition, cardiovascular function, respiratory function, muscle function, central and peripheral nervous system, sleep, bone, endocrine function, immune function, kidney function/pharmacokinetics, thermal regulation, gastrointestinal function, exercise and fitness and reproduction.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate courses in anatomy and physiology, or consent of instructor. 

Spring semester. Offered alternate years. Cross-listed as ES 555. Course coordinators: Krasney or Gosselin and staff.

Number of students: 50.

PGY 505 Cell and Membrane Physiology, 4 credits

Basic principles underlying cell and membrane physiology. Emphasis will be placed on membrane excitability, ion channels and their modulation by cell signaling pathways.

This course addresses contemporary issues of biophysical principles underlying membrane physiology and membrane excitability and their modulation by cell signaling pathways. A corollary goal will be to understand experimental methods used in molecular physiology and biophysics. More specifically, students will be expected to understand the structure and function of different voltage-gated ion channels, different cell signaling cascades and how these different pathways modulate the properties of the different ion channels.  Students will also be expected to understand the different approaches used to elucidate channel function, including biophysics, molecular biology, mutagenesis and genetics. 

Prerequisites: Calculus, cell biology (BIO201, BIO205) or consent of instructor.  

Spring semester. Cross-listed as PGY-405. Course coordinator: Strauss and staff.

Number of students: 8.

PGY 514 Vision, 4 credits

This course is aimed at presenting a broad, interdisciplinary description of current topics in the visual sciences.

This is an introductory, wide-ranging course on vision, encompassing the anatomy, biochemistry, biophysics and physiology of visual pathways in the retina and brain; the psychological analysis of perception; psychophysics; computer modeling of visual processes; and the engineering concepts underlying machine vision. Each topic is presented by a faculty member with research interests in that area.

Upon completion of this course, the student is expected to be familiar with the basic principles and areas of current interest in many fields of vision and be able to relate observations in one field to information obtained in other disciplines.

Prerequisite: Permission of the course director.  

Spring semester. Malcolm M. Slaughter, PhD.

Number of students: 10.

PGY 520/521 Application of Computers to Physiological Problems, 4 credits

The course is designed to give the students experience in data acquisition and analysis.

The students will have hands-on experience writing data acquisition programs using Hewlett-Packard VEE software as well as Excel macros using the Visual Basic language.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Fall and spring semesters. Olszowka.

Number of students: 30.

PGY 605/606 Advanced Topics in Cardiovascular Physiology, 2 credits

The purpose of this course is to provide an opportunity to analyze physiological regulatory processes in selected cardiovascular disease states. Topics for consideration include coronary artery disease, hypertension, congestive heart failure, valvular disorders and congenital heart disease. The use of exercise as a physiologic stress and as a rehabilitation tool will be discussed.

The course format will involve informal lecture/discussion periods focusing on selected examples of cardiovascular pathophysiology through analysis of basic and clinical hemodynamic data.

At the conclusion of the course, the student should have acquired a broad understanding of cardiovascular mechanisms in health and in disease which will be valuable for an informed approach to cardiovascular medicine and research.

Prerequisites: PGY-502, 551/552 or equivalent, and consent of instructor. 

Fall and spring semesters. Krasney and staff.

Number of students: 20.

PGY 699 Independent Study, 1-6 credits (variable)

The objective of this course is to give students an opportunity to acquire advanced experience in a specific area of research in physiology, either through original research or library projects.

Students will be exposed to methods of research and data analysis and interpretation in a specific area of physiology.

Students should gain advanced knowledge of a particular are in physiology, learn to analyze and interpret experimental results and read the scientific literature critically.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

By arrangement. Staff.

Number of students: 20.