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Physiology moves back onto Centre Stage

IUPS is formed by many societies and academies within the physiological sciences worldwide. We define physiology very liberally, just like the Nobel Prize Committee with its prize for “Medicine and Physiology”. The winner of one of those prizes, Paul Nurse, put the matter very succinctly at our 2013 World Congress when he claimed to be a physiologist himself. His prize was for work on the cell cycle, which is one of the most important functions in any organism. ‘Function’ is the key. That is what physiology is about. The word means the logic of living systems. Working that out is what we do.

During the first years of the twenty-first century we learnt something very important indeed. That logic is not to be found in genomes, or at least not in genomes alone. To say that life is DNA would be as meaningless as saying that knowing the letters of an alphabet is sufficient to read and understand great literature. Meaning and function depend on context. Organisms can be seen therefore rather like those Russian dolls, hiding one inside another. As we drill down from one level to another, we encounter the same problem. Whether dealing with molecular networks, organelles, cells, tissues, organs, systems or the whole organism, each level acts as the container – the context – within which the inner ‘doll’ can be understood. Work at all levels, and particularly work that spans the levels, is essential to unravel the logic of living systems.

IUPS is therefore proud of its discipline, central as it is to all the medical and biological sciences. Our last Congress, Birmingham 2013, showed that brilliantly, as speaker after speaker claimed that they were not really ‘physiologists’ but honoured to have been asked to take part in such an exciting celebration of advances in our discipline. The truth, for them, as much as for Paul Nurse, is that they had just as much claim to be a physiologist as the rest of us. As I said at the beginning of my lecture to the Congress “if it was ever true that physiology had moved off centre stage, it is now coming back with a vengeance”. If you doubt those words, revisit some of the highlights of the Congress in the videos posted by The Physiological Society (on physocTV: IUPS 2013 Lectures on YouTube. ) and by IUPS through Voices from Oxford (on voicesfromoxford: http://www.voicesfromoxford.org/news/the-peaks-of-physiology/358 ).

And never forget, physiology is the essential link between molecular biology and clinical care.

Denis Noble

IUPS President

Amendments to IUPS Constitution and By-Laws Ratified

Dec. 6, 2016

The General Assembly (GA) of the IUPS has ratified the proposed amendments to the IUPS Constitution and By-Laws, with 50 votes in favor versus 0 against as of the close of voting on December 6, 2016. A total of 76 GA members were eligible to cast ballots, 50% of which constitutes a quorum (i.e., 38 votes), with two-thirds required for ratification. In fact, nearly two-thirds of all eligible voters cast a positive vote.

In anticipation of the passage of the new Constitution, the IUPS Nominations Committee has already begun considering nominees to fill the new Council positions. It will release the names of the nominees as soon as the entire slate of nominees has agreed to serve.


Call for Abstracts

Dec. 1, 2016

The International Scientific Programming Committee (ISPC) and The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) announce the CALL FOR ABSTRACTS SUBMISSION to the 38th World Congress of the International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS-2017). This will be a historic meeting of physiologists from all over the world in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

At this time, the ISPC and the LOC of IUPS-2017 invite you to submit your abstracts and play an active role on this world congress. The submission of abstracts must follow the guidelines available at the platform for abstract submission, which is open for accepting abstracts from December 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017.

Note that the submission of your abstract requires that you be registered for the Congress.


A Message from the President

March 14, 2016

The Landscape of Physiology opens out even further

In the IUPS Editorial published in PHYSIOLOGY on 1st January (http://physiologyonline.physiology.org/content/31/1/2) we highlighted the mission to "return physiology to centre stage" following this theme at the 2013 IUPS Congress and in a video recorded at EB2015 in Boston (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_q_bOWc8i0). The central reason for saying that this mission is possible is that the biological sciences, all of them, are increasingly showing the need for multilevel physiological analysis to enable us to interpret the mountains of molecular data that we now have available. As your President, I have been leading the way on this mission. It is a pleasure therefore to report that later this year, on 7-9th November, the two national academies in the UK, The Royal Society and The British Academy, will be hosting a 3 day meeting on the new trends. The lecture I have agreed to give at the meeting will be on "Evolution viewed from medicine and physiology" so I will be highlighting the enhanced relevance that the Physiological Sciences now have in the interpretation of the central theory of biology, that of evolution.