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Find out more about our Physiological Society funded Head of Department Seminar Series, the opportunities available to those who join the Society, and DPAG's own Dr Mark Richards’ experiences as a Physiological Society member.

The Physiological Society promotes and supports Physiology Friday around the UK and Ireland. This coincides with our Head of Department Seminar Series, which I am pleased to report the Society is now actively sponsoring. - DPAG Head of Department and President-Elect of The Physiological Society, Professor David Paterson

Every October, The Physiological Society celebrates Physiology Friday, a special day on the last Friday of Biology Week dedicated to showcasing the amazing world of human and animal bodies, which this year falls today, Friday 11 October, a week before our Head of Department Seminar Series commences showcasing top speakers within the diverse discipline of physiology.

The Physiological Society is now funding this termly seminar series. The department has received the maximum award as part of the Society's Departmental Seminar Scheme, which is facilitating an exciting programme of lectures for Michaelmas Term 2019.

Our speakers will be Professor Amparo Acker-Palmer (Institute of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Goethe-University Frankfurt), Professor Dame Pamela Shaw (Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health, University of Sheffield) who will be delivering The Physiological Society's GL Brown Prize Lecture, Professor Peter Scambler (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health), Dr Kristian Franze (Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge), Prof. Dr. Christian Rosenmund (Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Department of Neurophysiology, NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence), Dr Tristan Rodriguez (National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London) and Professor Guillermina López-Bendito (Instituto de Neurosciencias de Alicante, UMH-CSIC).

 

The main benefits of being a member of Physoc are the availability of resources that benefit Physiologists at all stages of their career. There is the access to cutting-edge physiology research articles via their three journals and in person via prize lectures from world-class physiologists. Through the Physoc-organised conferences, the Society also provide valuable networking opportunities with leading physiologists. - Dr Mark Richards, DPAG Physiological Society Representative

There are many streams of funding available through The Physiological Society membership; from travel grants and seed-funding grants facilitating individuals’ research, undergraduate placement and teaching awards to recognise teaching of future physiologists, to outreach grants that bring physiology to a wider audience through public engagement projects.

The Society is arranged around seven Themes focusing on different areas of physiology research, and within these there are 23 overlapping specialities. This allows members to forge new collaborations in like-minded networks and attend closely relevant symposia.

Cardiac & Vascular Physiology encompasses all aspects of a vast field of research aimed at understanding the function cardiovascular system, how pathological changes can occur and exploring new therapeutic targets. The theme closely aligns to the department's Cardiac Sciences theme, the mission of which is to innovate and develop avenues of basic research using multi-scale experimental and computational techniques (from molecule to myocardium). Many groups within the Development & Cell Biology and Cell Physiology themes will also find their research closely aligned to this theme.

The Neuroscience Theme brings together scientists who study the nervous system at all levels, from ion channels to single cells and whole brain areas. DPAG's Neuroscience theme combines three strands of research which simultaneously study the brain at a cellular level, its higher-level neural processing, and the possibilities for translating basic science into treatments for disease. The specialities in The Physiological Society theme also allows for crossover within DPAG's Cardiac Sciences, Cell Physiology, Development & Cell Biology, Metabolism & Endocrinology and Functional Genomics themes. 

The other Physiological Society Themes are Epithelia & Membrane Transport, Human, Environmental & Exercise Physiology, Endocrinology, Metabolic Physiology and Education & Teaching. The latter is specifically designed to promote innovative physiology teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels through the sharing of best practice. The Society's Specialities Matrix provides an idea of how flexible these themes are, particularly in allowing scientists to align their abstracts or presentation to both a theme and a speciality.

DPAG's Physiological Society Representative, Postdoctoral Research Scientist Dr Mark Richards, has been a member of the Society for more than 10 years, first presenting a poster at the Life Sciences 2007 meeting in Glasgow. His research is concerned with the regulation and movement of ions in cardiac physiology. He is interested in how cardiac myocytes regulate pH, by removal of protons from the cells, and control of calcium handling, two processes that are hugely important for normal heart function. He is part of the Cardiac & Vascular Physiology theme and his specialities are Cellular signalling and Heart and cardiac muscle. He first joined in order to present his work at meetings and network with the leaders of his field. "As I was doing a PhD investigating the physiological role of ion channels in smooth muscle at the time, I decided on The Physiological Society as it seemed like the best fit forum for my PhD work to be presented at and it boasts the largest network of physiologist in Europe." (Dr Richards).

Mark's membership has enabled him to present at an extensive range of meetings, both UK national meetings, such as the annual ‘Physiology’ conference, and international meetings in Europe and the United States, such as Experimental Biology in Boston, organised by sister society, The American Physiological Society. Almost every meeting he has attended has been supported by the Society in the form of travel grants, which for a full member is up to £700, and has allowed him to present his work to an international audience in both Europe and the United States.

 

The best opportunity I've had as a member has been to meet and obtain feedback from world leading physiologists by attending Physiology conferences that draw delegates from across the globe. These conversations have provided valuable advice and influenced the direction of my research. - Dr Mark Richards

Mark's current project involves examining how the processes that regulate pH in cardiac myocytes, namely the proton transporters NHE and NBC, contribute to the development of cardiac pathophysiology in models of cardiac hypertrophy.

 

More information on becoming a Physiological Society member is available here.

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