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Physiology (; ) is the
scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...

scientific
study of
functions Function or functionality may refer to: Computing * Function key A function key is a key on a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern comp ...
and mechanisms in a
living system
living system
. As a sub-discipline of
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
, physiology focuses on how
organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological ...

organism
s,
organ system An organ system is a biological system A biological system is a complex biological network, network which connects several biologically relevant entities. Biological organization spans several scales and are determined based different structure ...
s, individual
organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tissues can be broadly categorized as parenchyma Parenchyma () is the bulk of functional ...
,
cells Cell most often refers to: * Cell (biology), the functional basic unit of life Cell may also refer to: Closed spaces * Monastic cell, a small room, hut, or cave in which a monk or religious recluse lives * Prison cell, a room used to hold peopl ...
, and
biomolecule A biomolecule or biological molecule is a loosely used term for molecule A molecule is an electrically Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 3 ...
s carry out the
chemical A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atoms, which ...

chemical
and
physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physical" (Olivia Newton-John song) *Physical ( ...

physical
functions in a living system. According to the classes of
organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological ...

organism
s, the field can be divided into medical physiology,
animal physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific study of functions and mechanisms in a living system. As a sub-discipline of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, B ...
,
plant physiology Plant physiology is a subdiscipline of botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. ...

plant physiology
,
cell physiology Cell physiology is the biological study of the activities that take place in a cell Cell most often refers to: * Cell (biology), the functional basic unit of life Cell may also refer to: Closed spaces * Monastic cell, a small room, hut, or cav ...
, and
comparative physiology Comparative physiology is a subdiscipline of physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, s ...
. Central to physiological functioning are
biophysical uses protein domain dynamics on nanoscales to walk along a microtubule Microtubules are polymers of tubulin that form part of the cytoskeleton and provide structure and shape to Eukaryote, eukaryotic cells. Microtubules can grow as long as 50&n ...
and
biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical process In a scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and pr ...
processes,
homeostatic In biology, homeostasis is the state of steady internal, physics, physical, and chemistry, chemical conditions maintained by organism, living systems. This is the condition of optimal functioning for the organism and includes many variables, such ...
control mechanisms, and
communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...
between cells. ''Physiological state'' is the condition of normal function, while ''pathological state'' refers to abnormal conditions, including human
disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interactin ...
s. The
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded yearly by the Nobel Assembly , native_name_lang = , image = Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet.jpeg , size = , motto = , formation = 190113 March 1978(as a forma ...
is awarded by the
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences ( Swedish: ''Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien'') is one of the royal academies of Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic co ...
for exceptional scientific achievements in physiology related to the field of
medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...

medicine
.


Foundations


Cells

Although there are differences between
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells ...

animal
,
plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel ...

plant
, and microbial cells, the basic physiological functions of cells can be divided into the processes of
cell division Cell division is the process by which a parent cell (biology), cell divides into two or more daughter cells. Cell division usually occurs as part of a larger cell cycle. In eukaryotes, there are two distinct types of cell division; a vegetative ...

cell division
,
cell signaling In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms ...
,
cell growth Cell growth refers to an ''increase in the total mass Mass is both a property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said ...
, and
cell metabolism ''Cell Metabolism'', launched in January 2005, is one of the newer titles in the Cell Press Cell Press, an Imprint (trade name), imprint of Elsevier, is a publisher of biomedical journals, including ''Cell (journal), Cell'' and ''Neuron (journal) ...

cell metabolism
.


Plants

Plant physiology is a subdiscipline of
botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek wo ...

botany
concerned with the functioning of plants. Closely related fields include
plant morphology Phytomorphology is the study of the physical form and external structure of plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy ...

plant morphology
,
plant ecology ''Plant Ecology'' is a scientific journal on plant ecology, formerly known as ''Vegetatio'', a journal whose editors resigned in protest of high pricing. The journal publishes original scientific papers on the ecology of vascular plants and terrest ...
,
phytochemistry Phytochemistry is the study of phytochemical Phytochemicals are chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) composed of atoms from more than o ...
,
cell biology Cell biology (also cellular biology or cytology) is a branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biolog ...
,
genetics Genetics is a branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, ...

genetics
,
biophysics Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that applies approaches and methods traditionally used in physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), mot ...
, and
molecular biology Molecular biology is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, P ...
. Fundamental processes of
plant physiology Plant physiology is a subdiscipline of botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. ...

plant physiology
include
photosynthesis Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ' ...

photosynthesis
,
respiration Respiration may refer to: Biology * Cellular respiration, the process in which nutrients are converted into useful energy in a cell ** Anaerobic respiration, cellular respiration without oxygen ** Maintenance respiration, the amount of cellular ...
,
plant nutrition Plant nutrition is the study of the chemical elements and Chemical compound, compounds necessary for plant growth, plant metabolism and their external supply. In its absence the plant is unable to complete a normal life cycle, or that the element i ...
,
tropism A tropism () is a biological phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature') ...
s,
nastic movements Nastic movements are non-directional responses to stimuli (e.g. temperature Temperature is a physical quantity that expresses hot and cold. It is the manifestation of thermal energy, present in all matter, which is the source of the oc ...
,
photoperiodismPhotoperiodism is the physiological reaction of organisms to the length of night or a dark period. It occurs in plants and animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biologic ...
,
photomorphogenesisIn developmental biology Developmental biology is the study of the process by which animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exception ...
,
circadian rhythm A circadian rhythm (), or circadian cycle, is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. It can refer to any process that originates within an organism (i.e., endogenous Endogenous subst ...

circadian rhythm
s,
seed germination A seed is an embryonic plant Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energ ...

seed germination
,
dormancy Dormancy is a period in an organism's life cycle Life cycle, life-cycle, or lifecycle may refer to: Science and academia *Biological life cycle, the sequence of life stages that an organism undergoes from birth to reproduction ending with the pr ...
, and
stoma File:LeafUndersideWithStomata.jpg, The underside of a leaf. In this species (''Tradescantia zebrina'') the guard cells of the stomata are green because they contain chlorophyll while the epidermal cells are chlorophyll-free and contain red pigme ...

stoma
ta function and
transpiration Transpiration is the process of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Eart ...

transpiration
. Absorption of water by roots, production of food in the leaves, and growth of shoots towards light are examples of plant physiology.


Animals


Humans

Human physiology seeks to understand the mechanisms that work to keep the
human body The human body is the structure of a Human, human being. It is composed of many different types of Cell (biology), cells that together create Tissue (biology), tissues and subsequently organ systems. They ensure homeostasis and the life, viabi ...

human body
alive and functioning, through scientific enquiry into the nature of mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of humans, their organs, and the cells of which they are composed. The principal level of focus of physiology is at the level of organs and systems within systems. The endocrine and nervous systems play major roles in the reception and transmission of signals that integrate function in animals.
Homeostasis In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanis ...
is a major aspect with regard to such interactions within plants as well as animals. The biological basis of the study of physiology, integration refers to the overlap of many functions of the systems of the human body, as well as its accompanied form. It is achieved through communication that occurs in a variety of ways, both electrical and chemical. Changes in physiology can impact the mental functions of individuals. Examples of this would be the effects of certain medications or toxic levels of substances. Change in
behavior Behavior (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. Cur ...
as a result of these substances is often used to assess the health of individuals. Much of the foundation of knowledge in human physiology was provided by
animal experimentation Animal testing, also known as animal experimentation, animal research and ''in vivo'' testing, is the use of non-human animals in experiments that seek to control the variables that affect the behavior or biological system under study. This appr ...
. Due to the frequent connection between form and function, physiology and
anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts. Anatomy is a branch of natural science which deals with the structural organization of living things. It ...

anatomy
are intrinsically linked and are studied in tandem as part of a medical curriculum.


Comparative physiology

Involving
evolutionary physiology Evolutionary physiology is the study of the biological evolution Evolution is change in the Heredity, heritable Phenotypic trait, characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the Gene expre ...
and
environmental physiology Ecophysiology (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 mi ...
, comparative physiology considers the diversity of functional characteristics across organisms.


History


The classical era

The study of human physiology as a medical field originates in
classical Greece Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years (the 5th and 4th centuries BC) in Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dar ...
, at the time of
Hippocrates Hippocrates of Kos (; grc-gre, Ἱπποκράτης ὁ Κῷος, Hippokrátēs ho Kôios; ), also known as Hippocrates II, was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ε ...

Hippocrates
(late 5th century BC). Outside of Western tradition, early forms of physiology or anatomy can be reconstructed as having been present at around the same time in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
, India and elsewhere. Hippocrates incorporated the theory of
humorism Humorism, the humoral theory, or humoralism, was a system of medicine detailing a supposed makeup and workings of the human body, adopted by Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Mo ...

humorism
, which consisted of four basic substances: earth, water, air and fire. Each substance is known for having a corresponding humor: black bile, phlegm, blood, and yellow bile, respectively. Hippocrates also noted some emotional connections to the four humors, on which
Galen Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus ( el, Κλαύδιος Γαληνός; September 129 – c. AD 216), often Anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modi ...
would later expand. The critical thinking of
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
and his emphasis on the relationship between structure and function marked the beginning of physiology in
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
. Like
Hippocrates Hippocrates of Kos (; grc-gre, Ἱπποκράτης ὁ Κῷος, Hippokrátēs ho Kôios; ), also known as Hippocrates II, was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ε ...

Hippocrates
, Aristotle took to the humoral theory of disease, which also consisted of four primary qualities in life: hot, cold, wet and dry. Galen (c. 130–200 AD) was the first to use experiments to probe the functions of the body. Unlike Hippocrates, Galen argued that humoral imbalances can be located in specific organs, including the entire body. His modification of this theory better equipped doctors to make more precise diagnoses. Galen also played off of Hippocrates' idea that emotions were also tied to the humors, and added the notion of temperaments: sanguine corresponds with blood; phlegmatic is tied to phlegm; yellow bile is connected to choleric; and black bile corresponds with melancholy. Galen also saw the human body consisting of three connected systems: the brain and nerves, which are responsible for thoughts and sensations; the heart and arteries, which give life; and the liver and veins, which can be attributed to nutrition and growth. Galen was also the founder of experimental physiology. And for the next 1,400 years, Galenic physiology was a powerful and influential tool in
medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...

medicine
.


Early modern period

Jean Fernel Jean François Fernel (Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 193 ...

Jean Fernel
(1497–1558), a French physician, introduced the term "physiology". Galen,
Ibn al-Nafis Ala-al-Din abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Abi-Hazm al-Qarshi al-Dimashqi (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger ...

Ibn al-Nafis
,
Michael Servetus Michael Servetus (; es, Miguel Serveto as real name; french: Michel Servet; also known as ''Miguel Servet'', ''Miguel de Villanueva'', ''Revés'', or ''Michel de Villeneuve''; 29 September 1509 or 1511 – 27 October 1553) was a Spanish the ...

Michael Servetus
,
Realdo Colombo Matteo Realdo Colombo (c. 1515 – 1559) was an Italian professor of anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organism In biology, an organism (from Ancie ...
,
Amato Lusitano João Rodrigues de Castelo Branco, better known as Amato Lusitano and Amatus Lusitanus (1511–1568), was a notable Portuguese Jewish physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nation ...
and
William Harvey William Harvey (1 April 1578 – 3 June 1657) was an English physician who made influential contributions in anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organis ...

William Harvey
, are credited as making important discoveries in the
circulation of the blood The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular system or the vascular system, is an organ system that permits blood to circulate and transport nutrients (such as amino acids and electrolytes), oxygen Oxygen is the chemical e ...
.
Santorio Santorio Santorio Santorio (March 29, 1561 – February 22, 1636), also called Sanctorio Sanctorio, Santorio Santorii, Sanctorius of Padua, Sanctorio Sanctorius and various combinations of these names, was an Italian physiologist, physician A physic ...
in 1610s was the first to use a device to measure the
pulse In medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge) ...

pulse
rate (the ''pulsilogium''), and a
thermoscope A thermoscope is a device that shows changes in temperature. A typical design is a tube in which a liquid rises and falls as the temperature changes. The modern thermometer gradually evolved from it with the addition of a scale in the early 17th ce ...

thermoscope
to measure temperature. In 1791
Luigi Galvani Luigi Galvani (, also ; ; la, Aloysius Galvanus; 9 September 1737 – 4 December 1798) was an Italian physician, physicist, biologist and philosopher, who discovered animal electricity. He is recognized as the pioneer of bioelectromagnetics. In ...
described the role of electricity in nerves of dissected frogs. In 1811, César Julien Jean Legallois studied respiration in animal dissection and lesions and found the center of respiration in the
medulla oblongata The medulla oblongata or simply medulla is a long stem-like structure which makes up the lower part of the brainstem. It is anterior and partially inferior to the cerebellum. It is a cone-shaped neuronal mass responsible for autonomic nervous sy ...

medulla oblongata
. In the same year,
Charles Bell Sir Charles Bell (12 November 177428 April 1842) was a Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotla ...
finished work on what would later become known as the Bell-Magendie law, which compared functional differences between dorsal and ventral roots of the
spinal cord The spinal cord is a long, thin, tubular structure made up of nervous tissue, which extends from the medulla oblongata in the brainstem to the lumbar region of the vertebral column. It encloses the central canal of the spinal cord, which contain ...

spinal cord
. In 1824,
François Magendie __NOTOC__ François Magendie (6 October 1783 – 7 October 1855) was a French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, R ...

François Magendie
described the sensory roots and produced the first evidence of the cerebellum's role in equilibration to complete the Bell-Magendie law. In the 1820s, the French physiologist
Henri Milne-Edwards Henri Milne-Edwards (23 October 1800 – 29 July 1885) was an eminent French zoologist Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is usually regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the Animal, ...

Henri Milne-Edwards
introduced the notion of physiological division of labor, which allowed to "compare and study living things as if they were machines created by the industry of man." Inspired in the work of
Adam Smith Adam Smith ( 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and ...

Adam Smith
, Milne-Edwards wrote that the "body of all living beings, whether animal or plant, resembles a factory ... where the organs, comparable to workers, work incessantly to produce the phenomena that constitute the life of the individual." In more differentiated organisms, the functional labor could be apportioned between different instruments or
systems A system is a group of interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, structure and purpose and expres ...
(called by him as ''appareils'').R. M. Brain. ''The Pulse of Modernism: Physiological Aesthetics in Fin-de-Siècle Europe''. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015. 384 pp.

In 1858, Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, Joseph Lister studied the cause of blood coagulation and inflammation that resulted after previous injuries and surgical wounds. He later discovered and implemented
antiseptic Antiseptics (from Greek ἀντί ''anti'', "against" and σηπτικός ''sēptikos'', "putrefactive") are antimicrobial substances that are applied to living tissue Tissue may refer to: Biology * Tissue (biology), an ensemble of similar cel ...

antiseptic
s in the operating room, and as a result, decreased death rate from surgery by a substantial amount.
The Physiological Society The Physiological Society, founded in 1876, is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Com ...
was founded in London in 1876 as a dining club. The American Physiological Society (APS) is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1887. The Society is, "devoted to fostering education, scientific research, and dissemination of information in the physiological sciences." In 1891,
Ivan Pavlov Ivan Petrovich Pavlov ( rus, Ива́н Петро́вич Па́влов, , p=ɪˈvan pʲɪˈtrovʲɪtɕ ˈpavləf, a=Ru-Ivan_Petrovich_Pavlov.ogg; 27 February 1936) was a Russian physiologist Physiology (; ) is the scientific Scienc ...

Ivan Pavlov
performed research on "conditional responses" that involved dogs' saliva production in response to a bell and visual stimuli. In the 19th century, physiological knowledge began to accumulate at a rapid rate, in particular with the 1838 appearance of the
Cell theory In biology, cell theory is a scientific theory first formulated in the mid-nineteenth century, that living organisms are made up of Cell (biology), cells, that they are the basic structural/organizational unit of all organisms, and that all cells ...
of
Matthias Schleiden Matthias Jakob Schleiden (; 1804–1881) was a German botanist Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific m ...

Matthias Schleiden
and
Theodor Schwann Theodor Schwann (; 7 December 181011 January 1882) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see ...
. It radically stated that organisms are made up of units called cells.
Claude Bernard Claude Bernard (; 12 July 1813 – 10 February 1878) was a French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République fra ...

Claude Bernard
's (1813–1878) further discoveries ultimately led to his concept of ''
milieu interieur The social environment, social context, sociocultural context or milieu refers to the immediate physical and social setting in which people A people is a plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain ...
'' (internal environment), which would later be taken up and championed as "
homeostasis In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanis ...
" by American physiologist Walter B. Cannon in 1929. By homeostasis, Cannon meant "the maintenance of steady states in the body and the physiological processes through which they are regulated." In other words, the body's ability to regulate its internal environment. William Beaumont was the first American to utilize the practical application of physiology. Nineteenth-century physiologists such as Michael Foster, , and
Alfred Binet Alfred Binet (; 8 July 1857 – 18 October 1911), born Alfredo Binetti, was a French psychologist who invented the first practical IQ test, the Binet–Simon test. In 1904, the French Ministry of Education asked psychologist Alfred Binet to de ...

Alfred Binet
, based on
Haeckel Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (; 16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German zoologist Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is usually regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studie ...
's ideas, elaborated what came to be called "general physiology", a unified science of life based on the cell actions, later renamed in the 20th century as
cell biology Cell biology (also cellular biology or cytology) is a branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biolog ...
.


Late modern period

In the 20th century, biologists became interested in how organisms other than human beings function, eventually spawning the fields of
comparative physiology Comparative physiology is a subdiscipline of physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, s ...
and
ecophysiology Ecophysiology (from Greek , ''oikos'', "house(hold)"; , ''physis'', "nature, origin"; and , '' -logia''), environmental physiology or physiological ecology is a biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of s ...
. Major figures in these fields include
Knut Schmidt-NielsenKnut Schmidt-Nielsen (September 24, 1915 – January 25, 2007) was a prominent figure in the field of comparative physiology and Professor of Physiology Emeritus at Duke University Duke University is a Private university, private research univer ...
and George Bartholomew. Most recently,
evolutionary physiology Evolutionary physiology is the study of the biological evolution Evolution is change in the Heredity, heritable Phenotypic trait, characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the Gene expre ...
has become a distinct subdiscipline. In 1920,
August Krogh Schack August Steenberg Krogh (15 November 1874 – 13 September 1949) was a Danish professor at the department of zoophysiology at the University of Copenhagen from 1916 to 1945. He contributed a number of fundamental discoveries within severa ...
won the Nobel Prize for discovering how, in capillaries, blood flow is regulated. In 1954,
Andrew Huxley Sir Andrew Fielding Huxley (22 November 191730 May 2012) was an English physiologist Physiology (; ) is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awar ...
and Hugh Huxley, alongside their research team, discovered the sliding filaments in
skeletal muscle Skeletal muscles (commonly referred to as muscles) are Organ (biology), organs of the vertebrate muscular system that are mostly attached by tendons to bones of the skeleton. The muscle cells of skeletal muscles are much longer than in the other ...

skeletal muscle
, known today as the sliding filament theory. Recently, there have been intense debates about the vitality of physiology as a discipline (Is it dead or alive?). If physiology is perhaps less visible nowadays than during the golden age of the 19th century, it is in large part because the field has given birth to some of the most active domains of today's biological sciences, such as
neuroscience Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system In biology, the classical doctrine of the nervous system determines that it is a Complex system, highly complex part of an animal that coordinates its Behavior, actions and Sens ...

neuroscience
,
endocrinology Endocrinology (from ''endocrine The endocrine system is a messenger system comprising feedback loops of the hormone A hormone (from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδ ...
, and
immunology Immunology is a branch of biology and Medicine that covers the study of immune systems in all organisms. Immunology charts, measures, and contextualizes the Physiology, physiological functioning of the immune system in states of both health and ...
. Furthermore, physiology is still often seen as an integrative discipline, which can put together into a coherent framework data coming from various different domains.


Notable physiologists


Women in physiology

Initially, women were largely excluded from official involvement in any physiological society. The
American Physiological Society The American Physiological Society is a non-profit professional association, professional society for physiology, physiologists. It has nearly 10,000 members, most of whom hold doctoral degrees in medicine, physiology or other health professions. I ...
, for example, was founded in 1887 and included only men in its ranks. In 1902, the American Physiological Society elected Ida Hyde as the first female member of the society. Hyde, a representative of the
American Association of University Women The American Association of University Women (AAUW), officially founded in 1881, is a non-profit organization that advances equity for women A woman is an adult female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organ ...
and a global advocate for gender equality in education, attempted to promote gender equality in every aspect of science and medicine. Soon thereafter, in 1913, J.S. Haldane proposed that women be allowed to formally join
The Physiological Society The Physiological Society, founded in 1876, is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Com ...
, which had been founded in 1876. On 3 July 1915, six women were officially admitted: Florence Buchanan,
Winifred Cullis Winifred Cullis CBE (2 June 1875 – 13 November 1956) was a physician and academic, and the first woman to hold a professorial chair at a medical school. Early life and education Born in Gloucester, Winifred was the youngest daughter of the ...
, Ruth C. Skelton, Sarah C. M. Sowton, Constance Leetham Terry, and Enid M. Tribe. The centenary of the election of women was celebrated in 2015 with the publication of the book "Women Physiologists: Centenary Celebrations And Beyond For The Physiological Society." () Prominent women physiologists include: * Bodil Schmidt-Nielsen, the first woman president of the
American Physiological Society The American Physiological Society is a non-profit professional association, professional society for physiology, physiologists. It has nearly 10,000 members, most of whom hold doctoral degrees in medicine, physiology or other health professions. I ...
in 1975. * Gerty Cori, along with husband Carl Cori, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947 for their discovery of the phosphate-containing form of glucose known as glycogen, as well as its function within Eukaryote, eukaryotic Metabolism, metabolic mechanisms for energy production. Moreover, they discovered the Cori cycle, also known as the Lactic acid cycle, which describes how muscle tissue converts glycogen into lactic acid via lactic acid fermentation. * Barbara McClintock was rewarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of transposition (horizontal gene transfer), genetic transposition. McClintock is the only female recipient who has won an unshared Nobel Prize. * Gertrude Elion, along with George Hitchings and James Black (pharmacologist), Sir James Black, received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1988 for their development of drugs employed in the treatment of several major diseases, such as leukemia, some autoimmune disorders, gout, malaria, and herpes, viral herpes. * Linda B. Buck, along with Richard Axel, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2004 for their discovery of Olfactory receptor, odorant receptors and the complex organization of the olfactory system. * Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, along with Luc Montagnier, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008 for their work on the identification of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the cause of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). * Elizabeth Blackburn, along with Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak, was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the genetic composition and function of telomeres and the enzyme called telomerase.


Subdisciplines

There are many ways to categorize the subdisciplines of physiology:Moyes, C.D., Schulte, P.M. Principles of Animal Physiology, second edition. Pearson/Benjamin Cummings. Boston, MA, 2008. * based on the taxon, taxa studied: human physiology, animal physiology,
plant physiology Plant physiology is a subdiscipline of botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. ...

plant physiology
, microbial physiology, viral physiology * based on the Biological organisation, level of organization:
cell physiology Cell physiology is the biological study of the activities that take place in a cell Cell most often refers to: * Cell (biology), the functional basic unit of life Cell may also refer to: Closed spaces * Monastic cell, a small room, hut, or cav ...
, molecular physiology,
systems A system is a group of interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, structure and purpose and expres ...
physiology, organismal physiology, ecological physiology, integrative physiology * based on the process that causes physiological variation: Developmental biology, developmental physiology,
environmental physiology Ecophysiology (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 mi ...
,
evolutionary physiology Evolutionary physiology is the study of the biological evolution Evolution is change in the Heredity, heritable Phenotypic trait, characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the Gene expre ...
* based on the ultimate goals of the research: applied physiology (e.g., medical physiology), Fundamental science, non-applied (e.g.,
comparative physiology Comparative physiology is a subdiscipline of physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, s ...
)


Physiological societies

Transnational physiological societies include: *
American Physiological Society The American Physiological Society is a non-profit professional association, professional society for physiology, physiologists. It has nearly 10,000 members, most of whom hold doctoral degrees in medicine, physiology or other health professions. I ...
*International Union of Physiological Sciences *
The Physiological Society The Physiological Society, founded in 1876, is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Com ...
National physiological societies include: *Brazilian Society of Physiology


See also

* Outline of physiology * Biochemistry * Biophysics * Cytoarchitecture * Defense physiology * Ecophysiology * Exercise physiology * Fish physiology * Insect physiology * Human body * Molecular biology * Metabolome * Neurophysiology * Pathophysiology * Pharmacology * Physiome


References


Bibliography

Human physiology * * Widmaier, E.P., Raff, H., Strang, K.T. ''Vander's Human Physiology''. 11th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2009. * Marieb, E.N. Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology. 10th Edition, Benjamin Cummings, 2012. Animal physiology * Hill, R.W., Wyse, G.A., Anderson, M. ''Animal Physiology'', 3rd ed. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, 2012. * Moyes, C.D., Patricia Schulte, Schulte, P.M. ''Principles of Animal Physiology'', second edition. Pearson/Benjamin Cummings. Boston, MA, 2008. * Randall, D., Burggren, W., and French, K. ''Eckert Animal Physiology: Mechanism and Adaptation'', 5th Edition. W.H. Freeman and Company, 2002. * Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, Schmidt-Nielsen, K. ''Animal Physiology: Adaptation and Environment''. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. * Withers, P.C. ''Comparative animal physiology''. Saunders College Publishing, New York, 1992. Plant physiology * Larcher, W. ''Physiological plant ecology'' (4th ed.). Springer, 2001. * Salisbury, F.B, Ross, C.W. ''Plant physiology''. Brooks/Cole Pub Co., 1992 * Taiz, L., Zieger, E. ''Plant Physiology'' (5th ed.), Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer, 2010. Fungal physiology * Griffin, D.H. ''Fungal Physiology'', Second Edition. Wiley-Liss, New York, 1994. Protistan physiology * Levandowsky, M. Physiological Adaptations of Protists. In: ''Cell physiology sourcebook: essentials of membrane biophysics''. Amsterdam; Boston: Elsevier/AP, 2012. * Levandowski, M., Hutner, S.H. (eds). ''Biochemistry and physiology of protozoa''. Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Academic Press: New York, NY, 1979; 2nd ed. * Laybourn-Parry J. ''A Functional Biology of Free-Living Protozoa''. Berkeley, California: University of California Press; 1984. Algal physiology * Lobban, C.S., Harrison, P.J. ''Seaweed ecology and physiology''. Cambridge University Press, 1997. * Stewart, W. D. P. (ed.). ''Algal Physiology and Biochemistry''. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, 1974. Bacterial physiology * El-Sharoud, W. (ed.). ''Bacterial Physiology: A Molecular Approach''. Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, 2008. * Kim, B.H., Gadd, M.G. ''Bacterial Physiology and Metabolism''. Cambridge, 2008. * Moat, A.G., Foster, J.W., Spector, M.P. ''Microbial Physiology'', 4th ed. Wiley-Liss, Inc. New York, NY, 2002.


External links


physiologyINFO.org
public information site sponsored by The American Physiological Society {{Authority control Physiology, Branches of biology