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Neurobiology and Physiology

Physiology is the study of the functions of living organisms and of the organ and tissue systems of which they are composed. The goal of physiology is to understand, in terms of physical and chemical principles, the mechanisms that operate in living organisms from the subcellular level to the level of the whole animal, with an emphasis on how these mechanisms are integrated to produce a viable organism.

Neurobiology is the study of the structure, function, and development of the nervous system, and originated, in part, as a subdiscipline of physiology. In recent years, neurobiology has become one of the most rapidly changing and exciting areas of biology. A neurobiology and physiology major is excellent preparation for careers in education, research, industry, medicine, veterinary medicine, and other professions.

Faculty Spotlight: R. Claudio Aguilar

profile image of R. Claudio Aguilar
Anthrax may be the next tool in the fight against bladder cancer

Anthrax may soon help more people win the fight against bladder cancer, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says strikes about 72,000 Americans each year and kills about 16,000, and is one of the most expensive cancers to treat.

The current treatments for bladder cancer are invasive for patients – who often must sit for hours at a time with a bladder full of an agent designed to kill cancer cells and tumors. Bladder cancer also is one of the most recurring for people diagnosed with the disease.

Now, researchers at Purdue University have come up with a way to combine the anthrax toxin with a growth factor to kill bladder cancer cells and tumors. The research is published in the Oct. 4 edition of the International Journal of Cancer.

“We have effectively come up with a promising method to kill the cancer cells without harming the normal cells in the bladder,” said R. Claudio Aguilar, an associate professor and the assistant head of biological sciences in Purdue’s College of Science. “It is basically like creating a special solution that targets cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.”

Aguilar said the bladder has its own protective layer, which saves the good cells from the anthrax mixture but offers no protection for the cancer cells and tumors. He said the Purdue system works within minutes – instead of the usual hours for bladder cancer treatment – to target the cancer cells in the bladder.

“We have seen outstanding results with our treatment,” said Aguilar, who works as part of a team focused on cell identity and signaling at the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. “It is fast and effective, both of which are critical for people dealing with this devastating disease.”

Aguilar and his group worked with the Purdue teams led by Timothy Ratliff, a distinguished professor of comparative pathobiology and the Robert Wallace Miller Director of Purdue University Center for Cancer Research; and Deborah Knapp, the Dolores L. McCall Professor of Comparative Oncology and director of the Purdue Comparative Oncology Program, to test their solution in dogs with bladder cancer who had run out of other treatment options. They found this new agent decreased the tumor size without causing any other side effects in the animals...

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Plan of Study

Neurobiology and Physiology Webpage

Transfer to Neurobiology and Physiology

Purdue admits to individual majors. Transfer students must meet Purdue's overall transfer criteria, as well as any major-specific requirements. Before you apply, check the closed programs page to confirm this major is open to transfer students. If it is, refer to the information below for major-specific transfer criteria.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Additional Requirements: Completion of at least one semester of college-level calculus with a grade of C or higher.


Contact Information

Director of Recruiting, College of Science
(765) 494-1771
sciencerecruiting@purdue.edu

College of Science
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Careers in Neurobiology and Physiology

Approximately 25% of biology students proceed directly to graduate school in biology or biology-related fields.  

About 45% go on to schools of medicine, veterinary medicine, or dentistry. 

Still others go directly to work in a broad variety of fields. These include research or applied science positions in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries.

Some become high school teachers, go into sales, or work for governmental regulatory agencies, zoos, or parks.


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