What Does a Physiologist Do?

Physiologists study the human body and how its cells, tissues and organs work together. Many physiologists are also medical doctors, though some are researchers in independent or university laboratories. Physiologists also work for pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies and in public health.

The field of physiology is a very broad one, and the level of work that one is able to perform depends largely on the degree of education obtained. Those with undergraduate degrees in physiology often work as research assistants, helping complete the day-to-day tasks of research projects that seek to learn more about the human body. With a master's degree or a doctoral degree, a physiologist is able work more independently. He may design experiments in order to better understand how certain organ systems, tissues or cells function. Other physiologists work in industry, helping to design medical devices or pharmaceuticals that interact positively with the body's natural biology.

There are many different fields of physiology. Exercise physiologists study how the body behaves and responds during physical activity. Physiologists who study the biological functions of animals are known as animal or veterinary physiologists. Some physiologists specialize in specific organ systems and are referred to with the names of those systems. A neurologist, for example, is a physiologist who studies the nervous system.