Physiologists study the mechanisms by which the body functions from molecular- and cellular-level through progressive differentiation to tissues, organs, and systems. Knowledge is applied in research investigations of healthy and pathological life processes.
The Department of Physiology is logistically situated on three campuses namely the Prinshof Campus, LC de Villiers Sports Campus, as well as the Hatfield Campus of the University of Pretoria (UP) and manages approximately 3 000 students per annum. We are involved in the education of students in 66 undergraduate- and postgraduate modules thereby training health professionals and postgraduates specializing in Neuroendocrinology, Sport and Exercise Physiology, Cellular and Molecular Biology.
Specialized Physiology modules form part of the training of students who study medicine, dentistry, nursing, dietetics, communication pathology, food science, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, radiography in the Faculty of Health Sciences and some consumer science courses (interfaculty student training). Human Physiology is also a major for two study programs in Biological Sciences (Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences): BSc Human Physiology and BSc Human Physiology, Genetics and Psychology.
Students awarded a BSc (Hons) in Physiology are encouraged to pursue their research career by completing an MSc or PhD degree in Physiology in areas of specialisation. Basic- and clinical research in Physiology varies between molecular, cellular, structural and diagnostic investigations. Our Department currently has 37 PhD-, 74 MSc- and 18 Hons students.
In 2014, the Division of Biokinetics and Sports Science was incorporated into the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences. The Division consists of staff members registered as Biokineticists with the Health Professional Council of South Africa. The new Bachelor of Sport Science (BSportSci), new Higher Certificate in Sports Science, as well as the postgraduate programmes associated with these degrees reside in the Department of Physiology.
Our Department is honored to contribute to teaching and research that augment the health of the community of South Africa, as well as internationally. We educate students via a multidisciplinary approach with interdepartmental and interfaculty collaboration in research using cross-cutting technologies to prepare them for the working environment. We aim to address the high burden of disease in South Africa that includes non-communicable and communicable diseases contributing to South Africa’s health focus on medical/health practice (eg. nutrition, exercise and well-being, human immunodeficiency virus- and tuberculosis co-morbidities, cancer, and prevention medicine).
Ultimately, my sincere thanks and appreciation to my dedicated, professional and committed colleagues for their loyal contributions and collective endeavor in strengthening the Department’s standing and to all our students for their enthusiasm and the key role they play in our Department.
‘In an academic environment, it is not about maintaining status quo, but it is about accelerating progress’.