Past and Present Heads of The Department




Prof. G. C. Ezeilo

MB,BS, MD, FRCP                    

1976    -    1981   

Dr. Joan F. Ude

M.Sc., Ph.D

1981    -    1982

Prof. G. C. Ezeilo


1982    -    1983

Dr. L. O. Nwoye

BSc, PhD

1983    -    1984

Prof. G. C. Ezeilo


1984    -    1989

Dr. Joan F. Ude

M. Sc., Ph.D

1989    -    1992

Prof. G. C. Ezeilo


1992    -    1994    

Dr. Joan F. Ude

M. Sc, Ph.D

1994    -    1995

Dr. S. O. Orimilikwe

BSc, PhD

1995    -    1996

Dr. Joan F. Ude

M.Sc., Ph.D

1996    -    1999

Dr. J. C. Igweh

B.Sc. SVS., M.Sc., Ph.D

1999    -    2000

Dr. Joan F. Ude

M. Sc., Ph.D

2000    -    2002

Dr. J. C. Igweh

B.Sc., SVS., M.Sc., Ph.D

2002    -    2003

Dr. Joan F. Ude

M.Sc., Ph.D

2003    -    2006

Dr. J. C. Igweh

B.Sc., SVS., M.Sc., Ph.D

2006    -    2008

Dr. I.U. Nwagha


2008    -    2010

Dr. U.S.B. Anyaehie


2010    -    2012

Dr. E.E. Iyare


2012 till date

a) Heads of Departments:
Successive erudite scholars have provided leadership for the department since inception. These are:
I. Prof G. C Ezeilo
II. Dr. S O Orimilikwe
III. Dr L O Nwoye
IV. Dr J F Ude
V. Prof J C Igweh
VI. Dr U I Nwagha
VII. Dr U S B Anyaehie

b) Pattern of growth and development:
The Physiology department with the programme for Medical Students was established in 1967 at Nsukka but was short-lived due to the civil war. It resumed again, in its present buildings, in 1970 at Enugu Campus. The course, including lectures, practicals and tutorials was designed to give students an understanding of physiological concepts to enable them to appreciate the basic means by which the body functions, how these functions are controlled and the normal values of physiological parameters. Practical skills and knowledge of some basic techniques further reinforced the theory. This was to prepare them for the 2nd MBBS professional examination at a level comparable with that of developed countries, and also to provide a sound scientific base for clinical studies.
The broad aspects of the course content, spanning all systems of the body, has remained basically the same in line with the internationally recognized pattern but it is updated from time to time to impart new and current concepts to the students.
With the introduction of the course system by the University of Nigeria in the seventies, the programme was divided into appropriate courses, although the old examination format for the 2nd professional examination has been maintained.
With the establishment of the faculty of Health Sciences in 1984, service courses were offered to fulfill their needs.
At about the same time the department established a postgraduate programme involving both coursework and research projects leading to the award of either M.Sc. or Ph.D. degree. This was aimed at providing the necessary specialized manpower both for this university and for the country as a whole. Our first undergraduate degree programme leading to the award of B.Sc in Human Physiology has been approved by the faculty board and in no distant time, will get the approval of University senate.

3. Existing Curriculum

a) UNDERGRADUATE COURSES (Medical and Dental students)

These courses prepare these preclinical students for the 2nd professional MBBS and BDS examinations. Other courses taken at this point include Human anatomy and medical Biochemistry.
A.PYS 201 – General Principles of Physiology and Blood.
Introduction and history of Physiology. Structure and functions of the cell membranes and organelles. Transport across cell membranes, Solutes and Solutions. Cell Volume Regulation; Intracellular pH, Regulation of Cell Function. Epithelia. Cell Motors, Transport processes. Biophysical principles. Homeostasis and control systems including, temperature regulation. Blood- Functions of erythrocytes, leucocytes and thrombocytes. Haemotopoiesis, Haemostasis.Blood groups.
(2 units)

B.PYS 203 – Muscle, Nerves and Autonomic Nervous System.
Membrane potentials; Nerve impulse and its physiological properties. Synaptic transmission. The neuromuscular junction. Structure and function of skeletal. Mechanisms of contraction, excitation contraction coupling; mechanics and energetic of force production, functional adaptations of muscles. Electrical and mechanical properties of smooth and cardiac muscle. Functional organization of the autonomic nervous system; autonomic transmitters and autonomic effects. Basic autonomic pharmacology (2 units)

C.PYS 202 - Renal and Gastrointestinal Physiology.
Renal – The functional anatomy of the kidneys. Renal blood flow and glomerular filtration. Transport properties of various nephron segments, Concepts of autoregulation, clearance and transport maximum. Urine formation, concentration, dilution and regulation of body fluids, ADH and osmolarity, Aldosterone and Na+ regulation. Acid-base balance. Micturition. Renal disease.
Gastrointestinal- Secretory mechanisms for production of saliva, gastric juice, bile and pancreatic juice. Absorption of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, water, minerals and vitamins. Motor functions of gastrointestinal tract. GIT diseases
(3 units)

D.PYS 204 Cardiovascular and Respiratory Physiology.
The heart-Electrical properties of the heart, ECG in health and disease. Mechanical properties of the heart; Cardiac cycle, physiology of cardiac defects; Cardiac output, venous return and control of cardiac contractility. The blood vessels; functional anatomy; Haemodynamics; Arterial blood pressure and its regulation; cardiovascular reflexes. Peripheral resistance and local control of the circulation; fetal and neonatal blood flow; Regional blood flow (cerebral, splanchnic, coronary and cutaneous); cardiovascular homeostasis in stress situations (exercise, injury, hemorrhage and shock).Some cardiovascular disorders; hypertension and heart failure.
Respiratory Physiology– functional anatomy of the respiratory tract system. Pulmonary circulation. Mechanics of respiration including pulmonary ventilation, ventilation-perfusion, compliance, surfactant, lung volumes and capacities, pulmonary gas exchange. Blood gas transport. Pulmonary function tests; nervous and chemical control of respiration. Response to hypoxia, high altitude, deep sea physiology and exercise. Artificial respiration and CPR, Respiratory disorders.
(3 units).

F.PYS 301 Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology.
General principles of endocrinology, functions and regulation of hypothalamic, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreatic and adrenal secretions. Endocrine integration of energy and electrolyte metabolism. Physiology of growth and development. Endocrine functions of other organ systems. Male and female reproductive physiology. Puberty, sexuality, pregnancy and lactation, fertility regulation menopause. Endocrine disorders (2 units)

G.PYS 315 Neurophysiology.
Simple reflex and spinal reflexes. The spinal cord- ascending and descending pathways. Receptors.Neurochemistry, cerebrospinal fluid, blood -brain barrier. Thalamus and hypothalamus. Sensory and motor cortex.somatosensory and cerebrovascular systems. Control of posture and movement. The reticular activating system. Sleep and wakefulness, neurophysiologic basis of instinctive behaviour, mechanisms for learning and memory, electroencephalography. The brain and aging.

H.PYS 303 – Special senses.
Auditory and vestibular stimuli, receptors, transduction, pathways, integration and response. Visual stimuli, receptors, transduction, pathways, integration and response. Taste and smell stimuli, receptors, transduction, pathways, integration and response. The basic physics of audition and vision .Auditory and visual abnormalities (1 unit)


The above courses also serve the departments of medical rehabilitation, medical radiography, medical laboratory sciences, and nursing sciences.


PYS 711: Cell physiology and Excitable tissues
Cell Structure. Transport across cell membrane. Homeostasis and control systems, Excitable tissues- structure of a nerve, membrane potentials, synaptic and
neuromuscular transmission, structure of different types of muscles and theories on mechanism of muscle contraction. (3 units)

PYS 721: Cardiovascular Physiology.
Electrical activities of the heart and ECG. Mechanical properties of the heart. Haemodynamics of circulation, regional circulation, regulation of arterial blood. Pressure and cardiovascular response in normal and disease states. (2 units)

PYS 731: Body fluids and blood.
Body fluid compartments and their measurement. Regulation of body fluid volumes Physiological variation in body fluid volumes. Blood: Normal haematological values and their regulation. Physiological regulation in haematological values. Techniques for measuring haematological values. Haemoglobin genotypes (normal and abnormal) determination and clinical importance. Blood viscosity, theory of blood flow (Poiseuille equation), erythrocyte deformability and its clinical importance. Plasma proteins and their importance. (2 units)

PYS 741 Respiratory Physiology.
Mechanics of respiration, pulmonary ventilation, lung volumes and capacities. Gas laws and spirometry, diffusion of gases through the respiratory membrane, transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide, control of respiration. Exercise physiology, high altitude and deep sea diving (2 units) .

PYS 751 Renal Physiology.
Physiologic anatomy of the functional unit of the kidney (nephron). Function of the Nephron: Glomerular ultra filtration, tubular reabsorption and secretion. Process of micturition, renal regulation of acid-base balance. Renal disease, diuretics and their method of action and renal function tests. (2 units)

PYS 761 Autonomic Nervous System and Gastrointestinal Tract.
Organization of ANS, adrenergic transmission, cholinergic transmission, concept of dual innervation of organs,. Control of ANS by hypothalamus.
Structure of GIT, motility of GIT, secretions of the GIT and their regulation, digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids (3 units).

PYS 771 Endocrinology and Reproduction.
General principles of endocrinology, Mechanism of hormonal action, pituitary gland and its control by the hypothalamus. Anterior and posterior pituitary hormones. Pineal gland- anatomy and development, neural and endocrine communications and pineal pathology. Thyroid and parathyroid glands, Adrenal gland (medulla and cortex). Endocrine functions of the pancreas, placenta, testes and ovary.
Reproduction: Physiological aspect of testicular function- Method for diagnosis of hypogonadism, cryptochordism, male infertility, male contraception. Ovarian morphology, hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian-genital axis. Ovarian tumours, ovarian dysfunction and treatment, menstrual cycle, female contraception.(3 units)

PYS 781 Central Nervous System.
Central organization of the CNS. Spinal cord, sensory areas of the brain, cutaneous, deep and visceral sensation. Motor function of the brain; pyramidal system, extrapyamidal system and cerebellum, reticular activating system; sleep and wakefulness. Electrical activity of the brain (EEG), limbic system, learning and memory and speech. (3 units)

PYS 791 Special Senses.
Organization of the sensory system. Sensory receptors and their properties. Experimental methods in sensory physiology. Vision- Light and colour, physiology of retina, visual acuity and pathway, colour vision. Auditory system – Nature of sound and noise, structure of the ear, auditory pathways and higher centers. Physiology of smell and taste- olfactory system: olfactory receptors, threshold and adaptation. Theories of smell. Taste: Receptors, threshold, taste pathway and theories of taste. (2 units)

PYS 801 Seminars /Research methodology (4 units)
PYS 811 Research project (8 units)

a) Programme/Sub-discipline/Discipline, philosophy and objectives
To provide a clear understanding of the basic mechanisms by which the body functions, its normal values and how these values are maintained. This is done by means of lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals and discussions. It is meant to provide a sound basis for the clinical work that will follow.

b) Admission requirements:
Normally, as for the Medical school generally, 5 credits at one sitting are required in English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, with an appropriate J.M.E. score in English, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Students must pass all their first year courses at Nsukka before they are eligible to continue with their preclinical studies. About 10% of students may be admitted by Direct Entry either with appropriate A levels or a Degree in a closely related subjects like the Biological sciences and medical laboratory Sciences.

I. Student’s perception of Physiology learning environments
II. Effects of Pregnancy on lung function tests
III. Body mass index and thrombogenic factors in newly menopausal women

Master of Science (M.Sc) degree in Human Physiolgy
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree in Human Physiology

Mindful of the need to restore the dignity of man,
Aware of the leadership role envisaged for the University by the founding fathers;
Inspired by the University’s vision and mission statements;
Reaffirm our commitment to contribute our quota to the development of a globally competitive University

This strategic plan is an effort to produce decisions and action steps that will shape and guide our paths towards fulfilling our constitutional obligation to humanity as a whole.
The major thrust of this strategy is encapsulated within the theme of the University Leadership retreat 2010 - ‘Positive change: In Pursuit of Excellence and work- attitude Re-orientation’ .
A SWOT analysis has identified the following:
a) Strengthens
• A good number of academic staff
• Student population
• Focused and responsive college administrators
• Excellence-driven university administration

b) Weaknesses:
• Inadequate classrooms and office spaces
• Lack of laboratory equipments and staff
• Lack of access to grants
• Inadequate remunerations for medically qualified academic staff
c) Opportunities:
• Collaborations with international universities
• Educational Trust fund (ETF) support for research grants/conferences
d) Threats
• Poor funding
• Brain drain.

In view of the above and the need to realize and sustain our vision and mission, the department of Physiology has identified the following three-point Strategic theme with the following objectives:
i) Strategic theme I : Service Delivery
• To pursue and sustain innovations to make teaching and learning fun
• To be accountable to the Students, Staff and the University
• To introduce student feedback processes
• To introduce and sustain increased exposure of students and willing public to learning through workshops and seminars

ii) Strategic theme 2: International visibility
• To enhance collaborations with other National and International Training Institutions.
• To attract research grants
• To support publications in international journals and attendance to conferences
• To improve access to Information Communications and Technology (ICT)
iii) Strategic theme 3: Human Resources Development
• Encourage seminars and workshops at the departmental level
• Establish and sustain a departmental committee for research and publications
• To institutionalize a good environment for research

• To support capacity development of all staff(via attendance to conferences/workshops/seminars).