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The Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics (MPB) is a basic science department in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The department has been consistently ranked in the top three physiology departments in the nation based on funding from the National Institutes of Health, as well NRC ranking of related graduate programs. Faculty in the department use diverse cutting edge techniques to address important research questions that span the spectrum of biomedical sciences.

A proud tradition of research!

The Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics (MPB) has a proud tradition of pioneering research discoveries. Dr. Charles R. (Rollo) Park put the Department of Physiology on the research map over half a century ago as a mecca for cutting edge basic research related to endocrinology and diabetes, with a special focus on signal transduction mechanisms. Dr. Park was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Dr. Earl Sutherland while he was a faculty member at Vanderbilt for establishing the concept of second messenger signaling though his pioneering research on cyclic AMP (and cyclic GMP). Studies by Dr. John Exton, a long-time HHMI Investigator and another elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, provided novel molecular insights into the regulation of phospholipid metabolism and calcium signaling by hormones and neurotransmitters. The HHMI also supported the work of Drs. Jackie Corbin and Sharron Francis on cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, providing the foundation for the development of highly successful drugs to treat erectile dysfunction. You can find out more about the work of these and all the other distinguished alumni of the department here. More recently, this tradition was continued by Dr. Roger Cone, the recently departed chair of the department and another elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, who uncovered novel modes of signal transduction mediated by the melanocortin receptors in the CNS that play a key role in the regulation of feeding and obesity.

The appointment of Dr. Daryl Granner as Dr. Park’s successor in the 1980s, sparked a diversification of research interests and a change of name to the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics.

Read about the many alumni of the Department here.

MPB Graduate Program

We seek to prepare students for successful careers by training them to critically evaluate new scientific information, develop and execute creative research proposals that address important issues, and effectively organize and convey scientific information.  We are very proud of our students!

Learn more about our graduate program here.


Team Corporate Teamwork Collaboration Assistance Concept

At Vanderbilt University, we hold the sincere belief that fostering the advancement of and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion of all students, faculty, and staff benefits all members of our community. To bring to life our vision of inclusive excellence, we are intentional about recruiting, retaining, and supporting diverse and underrepresented groups of students. We encourage individuals from all populations to apply to our graduate programs. The university does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, socio-economic background, or disability.

Learn more about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the MPB here.