Course Descriptions



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

This course is designed for Honors Students with an interest in the subject. For students who are not in the SAS Honors program, please contact the Division of Life Sciences - Office of Undergraduate Instruction at 848-445-2075 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Fall and Spring





Course Description

This course will focus on the cardiovascular function and its response to stress, exercise and gender. Initially we will discuss the body's ability to adjust and adapt to internal and external environmental challenges. We will examine when the body was first analyzed as a whole system; a system that interacts and maintains its functional integrity even when it is submitted to disturbances. We will consider the body view of the early 1900's as well our present day understanding and the remarkable contributions of eminent scientists. The cardiovascular system plays an important role in providing oxygen and nutrients for the human body (and mammals in general). Under physiological conditions, the heart beats without fatiguing throughout life. When there is a need, the heart speeds up accordingly to keep up with oxygen and nutrients body demands. However, during calm conditions the heart slows down to economize energy. Intricate physiological mechanisms underlie these conditions. We will consider the gender differences in the cardiovascular responses to exercise and stress.  Physical and mental stressors induce both short- term adjustments and long- term body adaptations.  The interrelation between exercising, relaxation and cardiovascular health will be examined. Finally, significant findings on the mindfulness meditation and its effects on the cardiovascular health and stress will be reviewed.

Course URL

On Sakai Rutgers portal and it will be available on the first day of classes.

 Course Satisfies Learning Goals

The goal of this course is to develop the student's knowledge and understanding of how the heart and vasculature respond to stress and exercise. The students should understand the body as a whole integrative system. Students should be able to identify the physiological mechanisms of cardiovascular adjustments (short-term) and adaptation (long-term). It is expected that students will  understand the unique role of heart and vasculature in maintaining homeostasis under an increase of internal body inputs and environmental demands. It is expected that students will recognize and will acquire some understanding about current and historical views of cardiovascular physiology and functional adaptation of the body. Gender differences in cardiovascular physiology, exercise and stress responses will be discussed. Students should comprehend the scientific basis of interventions (exercise, physical training, meditation) to improve cardiovascular health and minimize stressful conditions.

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

Course grade will be based on classroom participation (20%), reading assignments (30%);preparation of a review paper on a specific subject selected by students and course instructor (20--25 pages) (30%), followed by an oral presentation of their project (20%). Total 100%.

Course Materials

Lovallo, W.R. Stress and Health: Biological and Psychological Interactions, 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA:

Sage Publications: 2016. 329 p.  ISBN:978-1-4833-4744-8.

Articles, book chapters, and videos will be announced in class.

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 2019 Courses . If you have any questions, please contact the Division of Life Sciences - Office of Undergraduate Instruction at 848-445-2075 or visit our office at Nelson Biological Laboratories B112, Busch Campus.


Dr. Roseli Golfetti
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.