Department History

In 1903, Indiana University President William Lowe Bryan and the Board of Trustees established what would become Indiana University School of Medicine.

The Department of Anatomy was formed and headed by Dr. Burton D. Myers, who was recruited from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Myers turned physiology over to Dr. William J. Moenkhaus, a faculty member in zoology at the time. Thus, anatomy and physiology were two independent departments of IU School of Medicine along with the Department of Chemistry; and they became the nucleus of the newly established professional program in medicine at Indiana University. Both the Department of Anatomy and the Department of Physiology offered medical studies as well as graduate programs leading to PhD degrees.

Names and Places

The two departments were housed on the Bloomington campus until 1958, when they moved into the new Van Nuys Medical Sciences Building in Indianapolis, where the School of Medicine was based. In the mid-1990s, the anatomy department name was changed to Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology and, in the early 2000s, the physiology department name was changed from Department of Physiology and Biophysics to Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology.

Department Leadership

In January 2011, Kathryn J. Jones, PhD, a neuroscientist, classically trained anatomist and a VA senior research career scientist, was recruited to serve as chair of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. She brought goals to establish translational neuroscience initiatives in partnership with the Stark Neurosciences Research Center on the IU School of Medicine-Indianapolis campus and at the Indianapolis VA Hospital, located adjacent to the medical school campus.

Alignment of Function and Expertise

In 2019, the two departments merged into a single department with a new name—Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology and Physiology—to align the complementary educational missions and research foci of the previously separated departments.

Dr. Jones is the current chair of the newly combined department. New education-related goals are to integrate anatomy and physiology in medical school education and broaden the scope of the education-track PhD program to include anatomical and physiological sciences education scholarship.

Research expertise in the newly merged department includes neuroscience, renal biology, skeletal biology and cardiovascular disease. Expansion in neuromusculoskeletal research is a major goal for the new department. This merger strengthens department ties with the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health, Stark Neuroscience Research Institute, Cardiovascular Institute, and the Neuromusculoskeletal Biology Research Program at the Roudebush VA Hospital.