Course Descriptions


This course is intended for Life Science majors or those with a strong background in the Biological Sciences.

This course may be used to fulfill the elective and laboratory requirements of the Biological Sciences major.


Fall, Spring




Prerequisite: 119:117 or 119:102   Pre- or Corequisite: Systems Physiology 146:356

At the end of the registration period, the 146:357 roster will be checked to make sure that all students meet the pre/corequisite of 146:356. Any student not meeting this requirement will be immediately dropped from the roster.

Course Description

Physiology is an experimental, analytical, quantitative science. "The study of physiology is only half accomplished if you never enter the laboratory. It is one thing to hear a concept explained in lecture, but quite another to see the concept unfold before your eyes in a laboratory experiment." (Gerald D. Tharp, University of Nebraska). Systems Physiology Laboratory was designed by Gary F. Merrill to teach students basic, experimental organ systems physiology. Laboratory experiments are performed in isolated organ preparations (e.g. skeletal muscle), in whole animals that are anesthetized/euthanized (in situ experimentation), and in student subjects. Our laboratory classes meet once a week and the focus of each week's activity is on an experiment that has its roots in classic experimental physiology.

Learning goals of this course include:

  • Educating students in the basics of research in organ systems physiology
  • Increasing the student's basic laboratory skills
  • Exposing students to the use of "state-of-the-art" data acquisition equipment
  • Conducting experiments that demonstrate fundamental physiological principles (including the use of physiological transducers)
  • Teaching students the proper techniques of scientific writing/reporting

Other Experiments Include:

  • Introduction to Data Acquisition and Lab
  • Chart Software Lab Experimental Design
  • Striated Skeletal Muscle and Nerve-muscle Experiments
  • Function of Human Muscle
  • Regulation of Blood Pressure
  • ECG in Humans and Other Vertebrates
  • Respiration and Spirometry
  • Osmolarity and Water Balance (Kidneys)
  • Blood Glucose and Insulin
  • Gastrointestinal Function

Course Syllabus

 Lab Syllabus Spring 2021

Course URL


Course Satisfies Learning Goals

The above and related learning goals are consistent with those set by the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, as well as the Division of Life Sciences at Rutgers University.

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

Grades for this one credit laboratory course are determined by written partial and complete laboratory reports, in-class quizzes and TA evaluations.

Course Materials

There is no laboratory manual for this course. All materials will be present online (see Canvas URL above) by TAs at the beginning of each laboratory period (mini-lectures on the experiment of the week), and during experimentation. Each student should bring a notebook and pen/pencil to lab (laptop computers) and should take notes throughout the laboratory period. As mentioned above, there are no lab meetings the first week of class in either academic semester. See  Canvas for other important information.

Course Closed?

If this course is closed, please use the following link to add your name to the wait list: Wait List Sign Up for Spring 2023 Courses .  If you have any questions, please contact the Division of Life Sciences - Office of Undergraduate Instruction at 848-445-2075 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Course Director:

Dr. Gary F. Merrill
Nelson Biological Labs B-222
phone: 848-445-2320
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

** All information is subject to change at the discretion of the course coordinator.