Themes

The Society is organised around seven Themes. Six of these are scientific sub-disciplines of physiology, and the seventh is Education and Teaching.

Cardiac & Respiratory Physiology
Epithelia & Membrane Transport
Human & Exercise Physiology
Metabolism & Endocrinology

Neuroscience
Vascular & Smooth Muscle Physiology
Education & Teaching

The Themes create networks to discuss the latest findings and forge new collaborations. They are represented at our Main MeetingTopic Meetings and H3 symposia. Each theme’s convenor and deputy act as the focal point for Members. Theme convenors and Members are also active in public outreach activities.

Read more about each theme below. You can also look up events relating to your theme(s) of interest. Read more about each theme below. If you have any questions or would like more information on any of our Themes, please get in touch at themes@physoc.org or log-in and update your profile to receive tailored Theme content via email.

Cardiac & Respiratory Physiology

Convenors: Andy James (University of Bristol, UK) and Sarah Calaghan (University of Leeds, UK).

Cardiovascular disease accounts for 160,000 deaths every year in the UK. Understanding the normal function of the cardiorespiratory system provides the basis for understanding pathological changes and exploring new avenues for treatment. This Theme encompasses all aspects of this vast research field from cellular to organ level and the integration of functions to produce appropriate cardiorespiratory responses.

Back to top

Epithelia & Membrane Transport

Convenors: James Garnett (Newcastle University, UK/Boehringer Ingelheim, Germany) and Morag Mansley (University of Edinburgh, UK).

Epithelia are sheets of cells that line ducts and tubes, such as the intestines and air passageways in the lungs. This Theme covers all aspects of epithelial physiology research, as well as research about  membrane transport. Transport is a fundamental function of epithelial tissues; problems with transport cause numerous diseases such as high blood pressure and cystic fibrosis. Understanding normal function of transport proteins and potential errors is vitally important for developing new treatments. 

Back to top

Human & Exercise Physiology

Convenors: Gladys Onambele-Pearson (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK) and Kostas Tsintzas (University of Nottingham, UK).

Members of this Theme are interested in research on the metabolic responses to exercise and nutrition in both health and disease, from molecular mechanisms to ‘whole body’ studies. For instance, research into why muscles weaken and shrink as we age, aims to help people maintain their vitality throughout life. Studying how the body responds to environmental changes, on the other hand, is relevant to life in different climates, or even in space.

Back to top

Metabolism & Endocrinology

Convenor: Paul Le Tissier (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Glands of the endocrine system produce hormones that regulate the body’s growth, sexual development and function, and metabolism – how we break down nutrients and make new compounds. The Metabolism & Endocrinology Theme is a forum for those interested in these systems and how they affect the body's growth and function in health and disease. Such studies are important to try and understand many conditions such as thyroid disease, diabetes, menopause, cholesterol disorders, infertility, certain cancers, and obesity.

Back to top

Neuroscience

Convenors: Mark Dallas (University of Reading, UK) and Andy Randall (University of Exeter, UK).

The Neuroscience Theme brings together scientists who study the nervous system at all levels, from ion channels to single cells and whole brain areas. It spans a wide range of interests including brain development, motor control, and sensory functions. This Theme promotes research into the healthy nervous system as well as various neurological conditions such as dementia, epilepsy, and stroke.

Back to top

Vascular & Smooth Muscle Physiology

Convenors: Michael Taggart (Newcastle University, UK) and Tim Curtis (Queen's University Belfast, UK).

Smooth muscle cells surround all hollow organs in the body, including blood vessels. Studying their function helps us understand crucial phenomena like bladder voiding and uterine contraction during menstruation and labour, as well as blood flow control mechanisms and vascular regeneration. The malleability of smooth muscle cells contributes to major diseases, so this Theme also considers work about the mechanisms of diseases including tumorigenesis, coronary vascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome and preterm labour.

Back to top

Education & Teaching

Convenors: Sheila Amici-Dargan (Cardiff University, UK), Nick Freestone (Kingston University, UK) and Derek Scott (University of Aberdeen, UK)

Excellence in physiology teaching and the development of a positive teaching environment are priorities of The Physiological Society. The Education & Teaching theme promotes innovative physiology teaching at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels through the sharing of best practice. Teaching fellows and lecturers are eligible for full membership and can benefit from the support of this Theme.

The Theme hosts regular workshops and symposia to facilitate discussion and highlight areas of concern; this feeds back to our Committees and has a key influence on Society policy and future activities. 

Back to top