The central theme of physiology is homeostasis. Homeostasis is the control of the internal environment balance in a living organism. It is keeping a regulated variable at its sent point or within its set range. Since everyone is genetically different everyone’s physiology is also different. The set points and ranges reported are usually an average for an organism’s population and often an individual’s set points and ranges will fall within the average range for the population. However, an individual’s set points and ranges may be outside of the average range for their population. The goal of this project is to allow each student to explore his/her physiology and to track the homeostatic variables in order to better understand and maybe even improve her/his personal homeostasis.
Undergraduate Research is listed as a High Impact Practice (HIP) by the American Association of Colleges and Universities. HIPs have been “widely tested and have been shown to be beneficial for college students from many backgrounds” (https://www.aacu.org/leap/hips). Research is the cornerstone of scientific inquiry and is essential to understand and master for those choosing scientific careers (which include basics science as well as applied science fields such as health science). In order to really explore your personal physiology you will need to plan, create, carry out and analyze a research project.
The POPS Project of Biology 2425 will require that you create a small research project that is based on sound physiological principles. You will be asked to create a plan and methods to carry out experiments, collect and analyze the data and to create figures to explain how your data does or does not support your hypotheses. You will then be asked to present your work on the last day of lab in order to share any insights and significance that were found in your research project
In consideration of time and expense and also of the fact that group learning is also a HIP, you will be asked to choose one of 7 categories for your research project in this laboratory course. You will work in a group of no more than 5 people on the same research project this entire semester so please consider your interests and who you would like to work with for the next 16 weeks. Each category has a minimal description in order to leave the specifics up to you, your group, and your physiology lab instructor. Please note: Each week in lab all Biology 2425 students will be asked to measure and record various parameters on themselves. This combined data will be made available to you and your group for use in your research project (if you so choose) and can be found on your course’s Canvas site (as it is compiled). You must sign a waiver in order to share your information (without your name attached) among the physiology lab courses.
POPS Project Categories:
1) Circadian Rhythm: There are so many facets to human circadian rhythm. Sleep/wake cycle is the obvious choice here but sleepiness/wakefulness, hunger/satiety, growth/repair. A helpful website to get you thinking:
2) Cardiovascular: How healthy is your heart? What does it do when you’re exercising? What does it do when you’re binge watching Netflix? Can you see a change in your cardiovascular health with changing some variables in your life? A helpful website to get you thinking:
3) Muscles and Exercise: How is the health of your muscles? Is your core strong? What about your extremities? What type(s) of muscles are you training for (glycolytic/oxidative)? What variables can you change to explore and maybe even improve your muscle health? A helpful website to get you thinking:
4) Nervous System: Your nervous system shapes your world. What are your sensory systems like? Vison, hearing, touch, taste, smell? Do you experience depression and/or anxiety? Is there any variable that you can change to improve your mental health? A helpful website to get you thinking:
5) Biomolecules and Energetics: you must eat to provide the building blocks and fuel for your body. What is your diet like? What variables would you like to explore to improve your energetic health? A helpful website to get you thinking:
6) Breathing and Respiratory System: How many times a day do you breathe? What factors affect the health of your respiratory system? Do you have asthma or another breathing concern? What variables can you measure to assess and even improve your respiratory health? A helpful website to get you thinking:
7) Fluid Homeostasis and Renal System: How much should you drink each day for optimum health? What should you drink? Why do you pee? Is there a volume that you should pee each day? What variables would you like to explore to assess and even improve your fluid homeostasis? A helpful website to get you thinking:
You and your group will formulate a scientific question under one of these categories and use the scientific method in order to explore a question. Each week in lab (and some weeks outside of lab) all of the participating students in all of the sections of Biology 2425 (human physiology lab) will be measuring various variables for themselves and upload their results to a Microsoft Form (see the QR code on the poster in lab each week). This data will be anonymized and then posted for you to have access to. You can use any of this data in your research project and you and your group can gather other data outside of lab for your research project. You will create a written work detailing your research as well as orally present this research to your lab section on the last day of lab. The process of science writing as well as peer reviewed presentations are invaluable skills for anyone entering a field of science. Therefore, not only the process of scientific enquiry but also the processes of scientific communication will be major learning and skill opportunities in this course.
This Project has many aspects and considerations to be aware of, please read the additional POPS project documents (and Rubrics on your Lab Canvas site) to aid you in your work this semester.