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Anatomy and physiology merger to foster new collaborations

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Two of IU School of Medicine’s basic science departments are merging to foster increased collaboration among disciplines and respond to the evolving manner in which medical education is delivered.

The Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology will officially join with the Department of Cellular & Integrative Physiology effective July 1. The unified department, to be called the Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology & Physiology, will be led by Kathryn J. Jones, PhD.

The merger was approved by faculty in both departments earlier this year and by the IU Board of Trustees at its June meeting.

“This realignment will bring together our faculty experts from related disciplines and inspire them to collaborate on research and education initiatives in new and innovative ways,” said IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA. “The move is also consistent with changes occurring at other medical schools nationwide, particularly as anatomy and physiology are taught as part of a systems-based integrated medical curriculum.”

Hess also cited benefits of the merger that include:

  • New opportunities for recruiting, especially in areas such as muscle biology/physiology, which is a priority for the school.
  • The opportunity to expand the IU Center for Anatomical Sciences Education to include physiology instructors. The center currently provides high-quality anatomy instructors to programs that range from undergraduate institutions to health professional programs to medical device manufacturers.
  • The ability of doctoral students in Physiology to benefit from an education track offered by Anatomy & Cell Biology. The track prepares PhD candidates to teach and participate in scholarly work.

All degree programs currently offered by both departments will continue.

Michael Sturek, MS, PhD, who previously served as chair of the Department of Cellular & Integrative Physiology, will remain on faculty and continue his research focused on understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms for in vivo cardiovascular complications in metabolic disease states.

“I want to thank Mike for his 15 years of service as chair and for his many contributions to the Department of Cellular & Integrative Physiology,” Hess said.