Biology as Poetry: Physiology

Bacteriophage Ecology Group


The study of the functioning of living things, especially including above the level of individual biochemical pathways or, for multicellular organisms, including above the level of the functioning of individual cells.

That is, including above the level as considered by biochemistry as well as above the level considered by cell biology. Meiosis or mitosis, at the level of individual cells, would certainly be considered as an aspect of physiology, though as they occur within multicellular organisms more of a concern for cell biologists. What bodily functions control cellular proliferation within a multicellular organism, such as ourselves, by contrast is unquestionably be an aspect of an organism's biology which would be studied by physiologists.

The lines between the various disciplines are unquestionably not absolute. Nevertheless, with disciplines differences are often defined in terms of what lower or even upper levels of organisation are viewed more or less as black boxes versus which are not. We thus can view the following as the context within which the science of physiology falls:

Cell biology
Physiology (which includes, for example, Immunology)

Note that as a matter of strategy, re: Biology as Poetry, I am intentionally avoiding dealing with physiology for now but instead am focusing on introductory biology and microbiology, both of which are courses that I have taught far longer than physiology…

Nonetheless, here is a very limited number of terms that are predominately physiological:

Amniotic eggBiochemical testCell fate determinationCell-to-cell communicationChemical signalingCyclic AMPCytolysisCytoplasmic determinantsCompartmentalizationDevelopmentDigestionDigestive enzymeEctothermicEthambutolFeedback inhibitionGameteGerm lineHomeostasisHormoneKeratinized skinLocal regulationMorphogenesisParacrine signalingPhysiologyReceptor proteinSaturationShockSignal inductionSodium-potassium pumpSomaSteroid

Radio (The physiology of climbing Mount Everest, and other great stuff)

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