Physiology is the study of the functions of the body systems. Developmental biology is the study of how specific genes govern differentiation of cells, tissues, and organs with unique structure and functions. Both disciplines require a firm foundation of mathematics, chemistry, physics, and cellular biology.
The related area of biophysics uses the methods of physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology to investigate the physical basis of life. Upper division courses require synthesis and integration of information from many areas of science to allow understanding of such remarkable processes of how the heart pumps blood, how neurons communicate with one another, how insulin regulates blood sugar, or how specific gene products determine the morphology and functional capacity of the nervous system. Knowledge in these areas is expanding rapidly due to application of new techniques in molecular biology. Hence, significant exposure to concepts and techniques of molecular biology is an important component of the major.