Undergraduate Student and Other Research Opportunities

Dr. Ming Li, Director of Graduate Studies

The Department of Physiology and the Hypertension and Renal Center of Excellence offer research opportunities for undergraduate students. The overall goal of this program is to provide interdisciplinary training to students in a variety of research areas. Emphasis is placed on the pathophysiologic mechanisms involved in various disorders including diabetes, renal, vascular, cardiac and transport biology, cellular and molecular analysis of genomic processes involved in hypertension, clinical and translational studies of mechanisms and treatment of hypertension, and neurophysiological and neuroanatomical studies of mechanisms involved in blood pressure regulation.

med and undergrad students1 We have assembled a group of talented investigators who are experienced in state-of-the-art techniques. This multifaceted setting is utilized to provide undergraduate students with a positive research experience in an area that sparks their interest. Specifically, our undergraduate students have opportunities to investigate the central nervous system control of glucose homeostasis, the neurophysiology of hypertension, humoral and paracrine mechanisms responsible for vascular control in different organ systems, endothelial interactions influencing vascular regulatory processes, mechanisms responsible for regulation of blood flow in single arterioles and capillaries, cellular mechanisms responsible for activation of calcium entry pathways and mobilization of intracellular calcium stores, and analysis of genomic processes responsible for tissue injury in hypertension.

Taking part in this program allows students to gain a better understanding of specific research fields in which they have chosen to study. The students will assist in the execution of specific experimentation, collection, collation, and interpretation of data. In essence, students are taught all aspects involved in carrying out a research project from start to finish. In addition, the student trainees are expected to attend departmental seminars, hypertension conferences, and research meetings in their individual laboratories. At the completion of the research opportunity, undergraduate student trainees will give an oral presentation of their research project.

Undergraduate students interested in having a research experience in the Department of Physiology should go to the Physiology website at in order to determine which research programs of our faculty are of interest to them. The student then contacts the appropriate faculty member directly to explore possible specific research opportunities. Once a research opportunity has been established, the student will prepare a brief statement (approximately one page in length) describing the research project. This project description should be cosigned by the student and the faculty mentor. Once this is done, students should submit the signed project and an updated resume to Dr. Ming Li at


Other Research Opportunities

APS teacherResearch opportunities are also available for elementary, middle and high school science teachers. This type of program allows research teachers to participate in a 7-8 week program that is designed to assist in the development of new curriculum materials that they can use in their own classrooms.

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