Founded in 1966, the Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology is one of five basic science departments in the UC Davis School of Medicine.

Our tripartite mission is to conduct innovative, cutting edge research, engage in high-level service and provide excellent educational opportunities and mentoring to students, postdoctoral fellows, and residents in the discipline of physiology. Our aim is to create new knowledge to advance understanding of biological processes and benefit society by facilitating more precise diagnosis, and effective disease treatment.

In the post molecular and post genome eras, Physiology is uniquely posed at the nexus to employ these new tools to gain a more detailed understanding of function at the molecular level or to investigate the functional consequences of alterations in gene products at the cellular, organ and organismal levels. Scientifically we are determined to access and exploit these unprecedented opportunities!

Undergraduate course on the 'Physiology of Cannabis' offered this spring at UC Davis

A new undergraduate course on “Physiology of Cannabis” (HPH 115) will be offered at UC Davis this spring to raise awareness and understanding of how cannabis and cannabinoids affect the body.

Designed for students in the biological sciences, the three-unit course will cover the biology of cannabis and cannabinoids as well as their physiological effects in multiple systems, underlying mechanisms and therapeutic values. It also will survey the history of cannabis use, cover the endocannabinoid system and discuss potential medical targets for cannabis and their relative effectiveness.

“This course is one of the few taught on an American college campus with a dedicated theme on the biology, physiology and medicinal effects of cannabis and cannabinoids,” said Yu-Fung Lin, Ph.D., departmental faculty member who is teaching the course.

“It is also the first course offered on the UC Davis campus, and likely within the entire UC system,” she said.

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for a variety of medical uses, and eight of those states plus the district have also legalized it for recreational use. California voters legalized medical marijuana in 1996 and recreational marijuana for persons aged 21 years or older in 2016.

“The timing could not be better to give students the opportunity to have a profound understanding about the physiology and medical implications of cannabis use,” said Luis Fernando Santana, Ph.D., departmental chair and faculty member.

Lin, who also has a joint appointment in the Department Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, is preparing a similar course specifically for UC Davis medical students. Lin and Santana also hope the courses will be a blueprint for educating the general public about cannabis as well.

The Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology is one of five basic science departments at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Department faculty aim to create new knowledge to advance understanding of biological processes and benefit society by facilitating more precise diagnosis and effective disease treatment. They conduct innovative, leading-edge research and provide excellent educational opportunities and mentoring to students, postdoctoral fellows and residents.

Read more on UC Davis News page and The Davis Enterprise.

 

 

For more department news see: Department News »

Sue Bodine, Ph.D. Keith Baar, Ph.D.

The National Institutes of Health announced a six-year, $170 million nationwide project to dig deep into the molecular changes that come from physical activity, and how they influence health. Departmental faculty members, Sue Bodine, Ph.D. and Keith Baar, Ph.D., are taking part in the effort.

Read more on UC Davis News page and SacBee.

 

Keith Baar, Ph.D. A new study suggests that consuming a gelatin supplement, plus a burst of intensive exercise, can help build ligaments, tendons and bones.

The study, from departmental faculty member Keith Baar, Ph.D. and his Functional Molecular Biology Laboratory, is published in the January issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Read more about the article here.

 

Sue Bodine, Ph.D. The American Physiological Society announced that departmental faculty member Sue Bodine, Ph.D., will be the next Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Applied Physiology. Her term begins July 1, 2017.

 

Aldrin Gomes, Ph.D. Departmental faculty member Aldrin Gomes, Ph.D., has been selected as 2016-2017 Chancellor's Fellow. The Chancellor's Fellows Program was established in 2000 to honor the achievements of outstanding faculty members for the quality and significance of their research and teaching.

 

Luis Fernando Santana, Ph.D. Voltage-gated calcium channels open in unison, rather than independently, to allow calcium ions into and activate excitable cells such as neurons and muscle cells, departmental chair and faculty member Luis Fernando Santana, Ph.D., along with researchers from his lab and the researchers from the University of Washington have found.

The research defies earlier electrophysiology canon and undermines the previously held belief that calcium channels function independently. The study is published online in the journal eLIFE.

Read more about the article here.

 

capsaicin-molecule Humans love Sriracha sauce, and the pleasurable, painful sensation that makes us want to slather tacos, rice and barbecue with it and other spicy condiments comes down to one molecule: capsaicin. Departmental faculty members Jie Zheng, Ph.D. and Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy, Ph.D., in collaboration with researchers in China, recently got an unprecedented, close-up view of this molecule, as well as what happens inside our bodies when we eat the spicy foods that contain it. Read more about this article here.

 

 

For more department news see: Department News »