Graduate Program

Graduate Program

The Department of Physiology trains graduate students under the auspices of the Medical College of Georgia College of Graduate Studies leading to a PhD degree in Biomedical Science. Through the emphasis on 3 core areas (Cardiovascular, Endocrine, Neuroscience), the department houses several faculty with complementary interests and successful collaborations.

We emphasize an integrative approach to physiology, with expertise in molecular, cellular, and organismal research methods. Our students attain a solid education in the facts, concepts and trends of their field, acquire excellent training in state-of-the-art scientific methods and learn to use sophisticated scientific instrumentation. Students participate in an active journal club and seminar program featuring prominent guest speakers. Students are encouraged to attend regional and national meetings where they present their research and interact with leading scientists in their field. In addition, students are encouraged to apply for extramural funding, and Physiology students have a high success rate in securing predoctoral grants.

Coursework includes Biomedical Core Curriculum in the first year and upper level courses subsequently. Courses include: Current Trends in Endocrinology I and II, Teaching Practicum in Medical Physiology I and II, Advanced Study of Physiology, Current Trends in Physiology, Advanced Renal Physiology, Medical Endocrine and Reproductive Physiology, Medical Cardiovascular Physiology, Medical Renal Physiology, and Investigation of a Problem and Research (this course culminates in the preparation of a PhD dissertation or MS thesis). Students may take upper level courses in Neuroscience, Cardiovascular Biology, Endocrinology or in other areas of interest within the School of Graduate Studies. The Department of Physiology also offers its own upper level courses. In addition, students must complete a course in Grant Writing, Research Misconduct, and attend the Physiology Seminar Series and Course.


Students in the Biomedical Science Program perform three 3-week mini-rotations in laboratories of their choice during the fall semester. In the spring semester students perform two 7-week rotations (in the same or different labs) culminating in presentation of a research project. Students joining laboratories of Physiology Faculty are admitted into the Physiology program.

Student Name

Faculty Mentor (PI) and Lab Location Research Interests

Mahmoud Abdelbary

Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, CB2210

The contribution of renal cell death in the control and development of hypertension in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats.

Casey Derella

Dr. Ryan Harris

My overall research interest is to better understand how various diseases impact the vascular health of humans and contribute to cardiovascular disease. My current work focuses on better understanding the factors contributing to microvascular and skeletal muscle dysfunction in people with type 1 diabetes.

Elinor Mannon

Dr. Paul O'Connor, CB2210

My research interests include inflammation and chronic disease, such as hypertension and type II diabetes. My current work focuses on understanding the immunologic and metabolic effects of sodium bicarbonate therapy, as well as elucidating the signaling mechanism of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway.

Yue Pan

Dr. Xiaoling Wang, HS1726

My research focus on determining whether specific circulating leukocyte subpopulations and their activation status could serve as markers of the chronic, low-grade inflammatory response to obesity status, and thereby, of obesity-associated CVD & T2D risk in Caucasians and African Americans. Current study is to explore whether ALPL, a gene encoding neutrophil alkaline phosphatase and showing significance changes in DNA methylation, gene expression and proteomics in response to obesity, may serve as a potential biomarker for neutrophil activation and mediate obesity's effect on CVD risk.

Lindsey Ramirez

Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, CB2210

I am interested in the impact that early life stressors have on long term cardiovascular, renal, and cognitive health. I am currently investigating the effect of low oxygen during the first week of life and how that insult can increase likelihood of hypertension in later life. My newest project is determining whether a maternal high fat diet will produce a pro-inflammatory profile in the offspring and increase likelihood of hypertension in later life. Soon, I would like to do some behavioral studies to determine the impact of these stressors on cognition.

Sarah Ray

Dr. Paul O'Connor, CB2210

My research interests include the pathophysiology of acute kidney injury (AKI) and the associated long-term sequelae. My current work focuses on better understanding the factors which contribute to the development of vascular congestion following ischemia-reperfusion in both males and females, as well as the potential role of vascular congestion in the development of hypertension and chronic kidney disease after AKI.


Department of Physiology
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
1120 15th Street, CA3126
Augusta, GA 30912


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Physiology Graduate Student Achievement

Former Physiology Graduate Students

Virendra B. Mahesh Lectureship

2018 Graduate Student Bary

“The Physiology Department is the best starting place I could ask for as a graduate student. The faculty are always there for each other and willing to help by all possible means, to hone the skills and advance the research  interests of all physiology trainees. The main goal of the  physiology program is to nurture a trustworthy and reliable future  physiologist, not just produce a degree holder. Trainees learn, not only  how to develop a good research project, but also how to survive a  highly competitive environment."

- Mahmoud Abdelbary
Physiology Graduate Student