Physiological Systems (PSYS)

Image courtesy of the Carr Lab

Image courtesy of the Carr Lab

The Physiological Systems concentration area (PSYS) focuses on the fundamental principles that guide physiological processes, ranging from cellular to systems level analyses. With faculty strengths in neuroscience, plant and animal physiology, and computational biology—amongst others—the PSYS concentration area provides broad training to graduate students interested in a functional and mechanistic understanding of biological processes.

Advantages for students in the PSYS concentration area include both the personalized training that they receive based on their unique educational and research backgrounds and the flexible curriculum. This flexibility allows PSYS graduate students, with their mentor's guidance, to choose  graduate courses that complement and strengthen the expertise acquired through experimental work in the lab of a PSYS faculty member.

 
 

Areas of Research Available to PSYS Students

Students that choose the Physiological Systems Concentration Area pursue research that reaches across the fields listed here:

  • Biophysics
  • Biomechanics
  • Computational Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Plant Physiology
Image courtesy of the Speer Lab

Image courtesy of the Speer Lab


PSYS News

Finding the Rhythm of Life with CHUKNORRIS

Top: A time-lapse visualization shows a pollen tube's growth in a span of ten minutes. Redder colors correspond to higher concentrations of calcium ions, which regulate cell growth. Bottom: CHUKNORRIS tracks the pollen tube's growth (green), calcium ions (orange) and protons (purple), which also help regulate pollen tube growth. All three measurements follow the same rhythmic "beat" as the pollen tube grows.

Top: A time-lapse visualization shows a pollen tube's growth in a span of ten minutes. Redder colors correspond to higher concentrations of calcium ions, which regulate cell growth.

Bottom: CHUKNORRIS tracks the pollen tube's growth (green), calcium ions (orange) and protons (purple), which also help regulate pollen tube growth. All three measurements follow the same rhythmic "beat" as the pollen tube grows.

Pollen tubes--the male parts of flowering plants--grow in rhythmic pulses, both physically and biochemically. A group led by Jose Feijo of the Department of Cellular Biology & Moleculer Genetics has developed an open-source software package, CHUKNORRIS (Computational Heuristics for Understanding Kymographs and aNalysis of Oscillations Relying on Regression and Improved Statistics), to visualize and quantify these microscopic "beats" of life.

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (MCB 1616437/2016). The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.

The research paper, “Oscillatory signatures underlie growth regimes in Arabidopsis pollen tubes: computational methods to estimate tip location, periodicity, and synchronization in growing cells,” Daniel Damineli, Maria Portes and José Feijó was published in the Journal of Experimental Botany on March 28, 2017.

Media Relations Contact: Irene Ying, 301-405-5204, zying@umd.edu


Exciting work from the Feijo lab (bottom, left) and the Roy lab (bottom, right)

A paper by Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics' José Feijó suggests that a family of signal receptors used by human neurons is also essential for reproduction in the moss Physcomitrella patens.

At left, a wild-type (normal) P. patens sperm cell (red circle) swims toward—and eventually enters—the archegonia, which contains the moss' eggs. On the right, a mutant sperm cell without the receptors (green circle) swims but does not approach the archegonia. 

Video: Carlos Ortiz-Ramírez, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência.

Synaptic communication portals (green dots) between Drosophila larval trachea (red, a model for vertebrate lung) with the underlying wing disc tissue (unmarked). Wing-disc cells express FGF signal, which is needed for the tracheal branching growth and remodeling. The synaptic communication portals, which exchange FGF at the point of contact of signaling filopodia named cytonemes, are lighted up by synaptobrevin-GFP reconstitution technique.

Video courtesy of the Roy lab