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Department of Biological Science

at Florida State University

Cellular and Organismal Physiology

  • P. Bryant Chase
    Biomechanics of cardiac and skeletal muscle.

  • Hongchang Cui
    Cell fate specification and reprogramming in plants; evolutionary and developmental biology; plant-environment interaction; genomics and epigenomics; proteomics; molecular genetics.

  • Wu-Min Deng
    Intercellular communication in Drosophila egg chambers, growth and proliferation control and cancer models, cell competition.

  • W. Ross Ellington
    Cellular energy metabolism.

  • Debra Fadool
    Olfactory signal transduction; ion channel structure-function; neuromodulation.

  • Peter Fajer
    Muscle contraction; structure-function of proteins; cellular physiology.

  • Betty Jean Gaffney
    Magnetic resonance of proteins, lipid mediator mechanisms, metal ion regulation.

  • Thomas A. Houpt
    Molecular neurobiology of learning and memory in food intake; conditioned taste aversion.

  • Thomas C.S. Keller III
    Cell and molecular biology of the cytoskeleton; cytoskeleton regulation and energetics.

  • Steven Lenhert
    Biological membranes; cell-substrate interactions; bionanotechnology.

  • Michael Meredith
    Sensory physiology; chemical communication; computer modeling.

  • Paul Q. Trombley
    Olfaction; synaptic physiology and plasticity; ion channel modulation.



Cellular and organismal physiology focuses on the normal vital processes of organisms. Research is directed at identifying biochemical, biophysical, molecular, genetic, and behavioral correlates of normal functioning at the subcellular, cellular, or whole-organism level. Examples of research by this group include the study of muscle and nonmuscle motility systems (e.g. muscle energetics, structure/function of cytoskeletal proteins), cellular enzymatic processes (e.g. cellular energy metabolism, selective enzymatic oxidation of fatty acids), membrane protein trafficking, and stomatal-aperture regulation. Clarification of such processes provides insight into both normal physiology and host mechanisms that protect against pathologic states. For example, cell motility plays an important role in the defense against tumor metastasis, and cellular enzymatic processes include compensatory mechanisms for responding to oxygen deprivation. Other research is directed at clarifying means by which cells communicate. Examples include research on ion channels, signal transduction, synaptic transmission, and the regulation of hormone secretion. Several investigators are investigating aspects of sensory systems, including neural encoding and integration of chemoreception, synaptic transmission in the olfactory bulb, and molecular, genetic, and behavioral correlates of taste aversion.