Physiology is a unique discipline in the life sciences in that it seeks to understand biological function from the level of atomic scale mechanisms all the way to whole organisms. There is no other discipline in biology that sets for itself such an important task, nor one that is as cross-disciplinary in nature. Our vision for the Department is to strengthen our already outstanding basic science research programs in membrane biophysics and cellular/molecular physiology by encouraging collaborations with clinicians and industry. The translation of basic science to medical applications and commercialization is an area in which a number of our faculty are already engaged, and it should be expanded in the future.

Looking forward, we aim to increase private support to ensure continued excellence in research and education in hopes of achieving our vision, but we need help from friends of the Department of Physiology to meet our goals as follows:
  • Seed funding for collaborative research proposals that have either health-related or commercialization applications.
  • Fellowship support for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows; our trainees are our most important assets, and they should have consistent funding through the completion of their training.
  • Endowed chairs for our most outstanding mid-career and senior faculty to allow them the freedom to explore novel areas of research.
Our newest initiative is the Ernest Wright Fund. We have a goal of raising $500,000 in three years to create a term chair in his honor. This endowment will support deserving junior faculty members' research programs, and it will be awarded to an individual for up to five years, after which another chair holder will be selected. If the goal is not reached, the accumulated funds will be used to support deserving faculty members’ research programs at the discretion of the Department Chair.

If you have any questions about this donation or the above giving opportunities, please contact the Health Sciences Development office at (844) 474-4387 or

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