Sunday, 19th May 2019


Physiology is the general term given to the study of the human organism – the cells and organs of which the human form is comprised and the many functions it performs.

Physiological scientists form a large part of hospital clinical science teams. The role is not specific, in that physiological scientists can specialise in one or more areas of healthcare, meaning that two physiological scientists may have very different working duties.

Specialist branches of physiology include:

  • Audiology – the study of the inner ear, its associated functions, including hearing and balance, and the disorders that can affect it
  • Cardiology – the study of the heart and its associated vessels
  • Gastroenterology – the function of and disorders that can affect the digestive system, from the oesophagus, through the stomach, to the back end via any affiliated organs
  • Neurophysiology – the study of the activity of the nervous system in the brain, spinal column and throughout the limbs, and related disorders, such as strokes, epilepsy, motor neurone disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Immunology – the study of the immune system, its functions and defects
  • Dermatology – the skin, nails and hair and the disorders which can affect them
  • Osteology and orthopaedics – the study of bones and the skeletal system, including ligaments and tendons etc

Regardless of their particular area of specialism, physiological scientists will often work in multidisciplinary teams and will work closely with other healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses and scientists. Much of the work is directly with patients, whether in the diagnosis of complaints or in treatment and rehabilitation.

Experienced physiological scientists may choose to undertake further training in order to specialise in different branches. Some also teach in higher education institutions and train entrants into the profession.