Human Physiology Lab
The Human Physiology Laboratory (IPHY 3435) introduces students to laboratory techniques in the study of physiology and provides demonstrations of processes learned in the Human Physiology 1 and 2 lecture sequence. Laboratory exercises cover a wide range of topics from classic experiments in muscle, nerve, and cardiac physiology to human exercise and ventilation studies.
Each lab section of 16 students is taught by a graduate teaching assistant (or sometimes by a member of the faculty), often with the aid of an undergraduate teaching assistant.
Students work in teams of four to set up equipment, predict experimental outcomes, perform the experiment, and analyze the results. Written work focuses on how the observations reveal physiological principles. Within each team, students participate in a variety of roles -- as an experimental subject, working with the experimental setup, capturing data at the computer workstation, or in other ways -- and are encouraged to rotate through these roles on a weekly basis.
All laboratory exercises are integrated with PowerLab, a computer-based system for quantifying physiological variables. Students also apply statistical analyses to their data and develop skills in the design and interpretation of experiments.
Students who perform well in the course can subsequently apply for a position as an undergraduate teaching assistant. This provides valuable teaching and leadership experience and the opportunity to assist in preparing laboratory materials.
The hands-on application of physiological concepts in this course provides an important step for students going on to graduate study in physiology and the health sciences.