Our mission is to advance the frontiers of physiological sciences through excellence in research, training of students and fellows, and application of this knowledge to promote advances in our understanding, diagnosis, and management of human disease. We are excited about the new insights and discoveries that come from our work, and we are passionate about communicating these advances to scientific peers, clinicians, and the public. 

Founded in 1952, we are a basic science department at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. We focus on physiology, the study of how living systems function. We take a comprehensive approach that builds upon fundamental principles of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics.

We strive to understand the processes by which molecules, cells, and organs interact to maintain vitality and good health.

Headshot of Stephen Cannon, M.D., Ph.D.

Stephen C. Cannon, MD, PhD

The Department has a rich history of landmark discoveries in membrane transport, ion channel biophysics, membrane receptors, contractility, and the electrophysiology of nerve, muscle, and heart. In recent years, our faculty members have expanded upon this foundation to develop a diverse portfolio of research programs:

  • Atomic-level structure of membrane proteins
  • Molecular basis of learning and memory
  • Non-traditional signaling systems for the support cells of the brain
  • Modulation of the immune system by calcium signaling
  • Sugar transporters in the management of diabetes and development of new PET ligands to detect cancer
  • Excitation-contraction coupling in skeletal muscle
  • Animal models of ion channelopathies affecting muscle, heart, and brain
  • Discovery of novel receptors that regulate vascular proliferation and tumor growth
  • Large-data bioinformatics and proteomics to accelerate discovery in cardiovascular disease. 

Stephen C. Cannon, MD, PhD

Chair, Department of Physiology