Cell Biology and Physiology Curriculum

Students in the Cell Biology and Physiology track are required complete the core course curriculum listed below (10 credit hours), and take elective courses equivalent to a minimum of 6 credit hours, including a selected unit from Advanced Physiology course. Elective courses are generally chosen in consultation with student’s research advisor based on student’s research interest. Students will also take a seminar course by attending the physiology seminar series and presenting two seminars in this platform during the course of their dissertation. Additionally, students are expected to participate in journal clubs and will have the opportunity to present their research work in national meetings.

Core Curriculum

  • Systems Physiology (4)
  • Cell Biology (3)
  • Molecular Biology (3)


  • Cellular signaling (3)
  • Cell Biology Techniques (2)
  • Bioinformatics I (2)
  • Bioinformatics II (1)
  • Essentials of Animal Experimentation (2)
  • Advanced Physiology (2)
  • Biostatistics (3)
  • Ethics

Laboratory Rotations

Students will have three 6-week laboratory rotations starting in January of first year. Students may choose a mentor after their second rotation and begin their dissertation research.

Admission-to-Candidacy Exam

Toward the end of second year students will complete admission-to-candidacy, which involves writing a grant proposal in NIH F31 format and successfully defend the proposal to their advisory committee. This should be completed by May 15 of second year.

Sample curriculum

Year 1

Fall Semester

  • Cell Biology (3)
  • Molecular Biology (3)
  • Biostatistics (3)

Spring Semester

  • Systems physiology (4)
  • Cellular Signaling (3)
  • Integrity in the Conduct of Scientific Research
  • Assemble faculty committee

Year 2

Fall Semester

  • • Advanced Physiology (2)– Offered once in two years. Therefore, this course is available during Fall Semester of 2nd or 3rd year. Although this is a part of the elective requirement, this course is a requirement for CBP track students. However, students can elect to take one of the 7 units to fulfill 2-credit hour course. The 7 units are: 1) Gastrointestinal Epithelium, 2) Respiratory physiology, 3) Vascular biology, 4) Heart, 5) Ion channels and Electrophysiology, 6) Developmental biology-Animal models, and 7) Lipids in cell signaling.
  • Doctoral Dissertation and Research

Spring Semester

  • Cellular and Molecular techniques (2)
  • Doctoral Dissertation and Research
  • Take admission-to-candidacy exam (place where appropriate)

Year 3

Fall Semester

  • Advanced Physiology (2)– as described above (if not taken during second year)
  • Doctoral Dissertation and Research

Year 4 and Beyond

  • Students will defend their dissertation before their faculty committee

Contact Us

Cell Biology and Physiology

Track Director: Dr. Kristen M.S. O'Connell
Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Nash Research Building,
Room 401
894 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: 901-448-2648
Email: koconne3@uthsc.edu

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