Arizona Physiological Society


NOUN a science that deals with the ways that living things function

ORIGIN early 17th cent.: Latin physiologia natural science, from Greek, from physi- + -logia -logy

How does life work?

From the smallest animals to the largest, a beautiful concert of biological music is going on in our bodies to keep us alive.  Every organ, cell, protein, and organic molecule has its part to play.  The rhythm of the music changes depending on what we're doing - whether it's walking in our favorite park, watching an engaging movie, or enjoying a delicious meal.  Our bodies change their function to adapt to the situation.  How it does this is a question that people who study physiology try to figure out.  

The more we understand about how the body works, the better prepared we'll be when trying to fix problems when it doesn't work properly.  Diseases, both physical and psychological, take a toll on us as individuals as well as on our entire society.  Being equipped with knowledge will help us face these challenges.

+ Who are we?

We're people who ask questions and try to figure out how to best go about answering them. Life is amazingly complex. Finding out how it works requires cooperation between people with different skills. Medicine, nutrition, biology, chemistry, genetics, engineering, physics, mathematics - the people in our society have expertise in a wide range of disciplines. Physiology is a highly integrative science and includes a diverse group of people who study it. Our members include both university and non-university scientists and educators.

The Arizona Physiological Society (AZPS) was founded in 2008 and is a state chapter of the American Physiological Society.

+ What do we do?

We do science and share what we've learned with others so that the world can benefit.

The purpose of the AZPS is to promote the discipline of physiology; advance physiological research and teaching; facilitate teaching and research forums for students and young investigators, and encourage interaction and fellowship among individuals interested in the physiological sciences and related fields within the state of Arizona.

To achieve these things, we get together at events to share the research that we do, provide a network of mentorship for our students and young members, and bring science to the public with outreach events (venues ranging from local K-12 schools, festivals/faires, and convention centers).

+ How did we get started?

Dr. Charles M. Tipton (Tip) struck together the steel and flint that sparked the creation of the AZPS. He kindled the fire and tended the glowing embers as the society got off to its official start in 2008, imparting to it his passion for teaching, mentorship, and research. He helped lay down the framework for a group that fosters camaraderie among those who love science and sharing it with others. Our society owes a great deal to his vim and dedication for its beginnings as well as its continued success.

Tip served on the Council of the American Physiological Society (APS) from 2002 to 2005, during a time when there were only half a dozen local APS chapters. Intrigued by their activities and accomplishments, he saw great potential in uniting scientists and educators in the state of Arizona into a tightly-knit, local society. It was time to get people on board, and invitations were sent out to physiologists throughout the state.

Ten representatives from various Arizona institutions gathered at the 2007 Experimental Biology meeting in San Francisco to set the stage for an Arizona chapter of the APS. Plans for the society were drawn up, with particular emphasis on the professional development of undergraduate/graduate students as well as postdoctoral fellows (postdocs). The founders decided that graduate students and postdocs should be given voting privileges within the society. When mapping out leadership roles, executive positions were also reserved for graduate students and postdocs as a testament to the importance placed on them in the organization. The proposal was finalized and sent to the APS Committee for Chapters.

It was rejected.

Why? The APS wasn’t very keen on the leadership positions for students and postdocs.

The Arizona society founders were shocked by this, but remained resolute and refused to accept the APS mandate. By 2008, the APS Committee for Chapters had reversed their decision and endorsed the idea of students and postdocs being given governance opportunities.

The pieces were now set. At the 2008 Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego, ten APS members from the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Midwestern University, and Northern Arizona University met to write the bylaws of the new society. The official petition to create the Arizona chapter of the APS was signed, sealed, and delivered.

At the time of the first executive committee election in 2008, the AZPS had enrolled 28 undergraduate students, 25 graduate students, 12 postdoctoral fellows, and 49 regular members.

Our society now has a rich history of strong leadership (both students and academic faculty) - great people who have helped shape and grow our society into what it is today.

And, we're always on the lookout for people who share our ideals.