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.

Current Physiology Graduate Student Information

Student Name

Faculty Mentor (PI) and Lab Location Research Interests

Stephanie Lynn Christianson

Dr. Zsolt Bagi, CA3132A

My research interests include endothelial activation in coronary microvascular dysfunction in aging and T2D populations. My work examines the mechanosensing properties of tight junction protein complexes in response to wall sheer stress. Additionally, my research includes the assessment of superoxide production and quantitation in the endothelium using HPLC methodologies.

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.

Marissa Seamon

Dr. Harris, CA-1054A

My research focuses on the mechanism of leptin in the brain and its affects on energy balance. I'm interested in further specifying the roles of various regions in the brain that contain leptin receptors such as the ventromedial hypothalamus. We predict areas in the brain that contain receptors, both in the hypothalamus and brain stem, to be working through neural connections to maintain energy balance.


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