Faculty members in the Department are engaged in a wide range of basic and applied research activities in exercise physiology, gastrointestinal toxicophysiology, calcium metabolism, cardiovascular, renal and reproductive physiology, medicinal plant, and molecular biology. These ongoing research programs reflect the diverse interests among faculty members, and reaffirm our commitment to scientific advancement through research.
Research conducting by the faculty member in the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University can be divided into 6 major areas.
Calcium and bone research
Drug discovery and membrane physiology
Herbal based drug discovery, anti-cancer, anti-aging
Epithelial transport and muscle stem cells research group
Exercise & applied physiology
Research in calcium metabolism covers the area of endocrine and gastrointestinal physiology and bone metabolism at systemic, cellular and molcular levels. We have been studying the effects of prolactin on the active and passive Ca2+ absorption and bone remodeling in experimental rats. So far we have published more than 20 articles in the international journals in support of our hypothesis of a role of prolactin as a Ca2+ regulation hormone during growth, prenancy and lactation. Our laboratory investigations focus on targets of intestinal calcium absorption, bone formation and resorption, and calcium transport in the mamary gland. We use a variety of tecniques such as calcium balance, in situ intestinal sac perfusion, and in vitro electrophysiological and 45Ca kinetics studies for studying the intestinal calcium transport; measurement of bone density, bone histomorphometry and measurement of the biochemical markers of bone metabolism; histomorphometry, biochemical and molecular studies of caltured primary bone cells and cell lines for elucidating mechanism of bone remodeling. We also explore the use of Atomic force microscopy and Nanoindentation in the study of bone strength and flexibility.
Cardiac muscle plays a crucial role in generating pressure in the cardiac chamber and controlling the amount of blood ejected from the heart. As the highest cause of mortality rate in the whole world population, search for prevention and treatment of heart disease is the most excitement and dedication. Thus, the going on research project in our laboratory has been mainly focused on understanding the role of sex hormones on physiological function as well as pathological intervention of the heart, including
• Female Sex Hormones & Cardiac Function
• Female Sex Hormones & Heart Disease Challenge
• Male Sex Hormones & Cardiac Function
• Female Sex Hormones & Exercise Training on Cardiac Function.
Our laboratory is dedicated to the exploratory studies on membrane transport under both physiological and pathological conditions using multidisciplinary approaches. The ultimate aim of the laboratory is to provide deeper insight into regulation of membrane transport and signaling as well as identification of possible drug targets as well as candidates. Specific research areas of interest are include,
• Membrane Transport; Kinetics of Transport; Molecular Basis of Transporter-Substrate Interaction
• Salt and water handling associated with the development of hypertension and diabetic nephropathy
• G-protein coupled receptor physiology
• Target-based drug discovery for diarrhea, polycystic kidney disease and thalassemia
• Muscle injury and regeneration.
Current research interests include screening biological and cytotoxic activities of crude extracts and isolated compounds from a variety of indigenous plants with the aim of searching for potent compounds against some (untreated) cancers. This activity is undergoing in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry. In addition of searching new potent anticancer compounds from natural sources, we also evaluate therapeutic potential of some traditional herbal medicines as a drug discovery tool to identify drug leads, particularly for aging intervention. One current research project is focused on the development of an indigenous herb, Wan chak motluk or Curcuma comosa Roxb as a nutraceutical for health promotion in peri- and postmenopausal women. Several pharmacological activities of the crude extracts from C. comosa and its isolated compounds, diarylheptanoids are evaluating for treatment unpleasant menopause symptoms. Both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic in reproductive tissues and non-reproductive tissues are characterized. Their actions at molecular targets are investigated in both in vitro and in vivo models.
Epithelial transport plays a crucial role in the homeostasis of the body fluids and functions of many organ systems in the body. Derangements of the epithelial transport would, therefore, lead to abnormal functions of tissues, organ systems, and eventually diseases. Our current research projects are concentrated on the electrolyte transport in the male reproductive tract and lung epithelium, including
• Electrolyte transport in the male reproductive tract,
• Electrolyte transport in the airway and lung epithelia.
Satellite cells are the muscle stem cells responsible for the development of muscles during embryonic stage. These cells remain in adult as quiescent stem cells and play important role in muscle hypertrophy in response to various stimuli or in muscle regeneration and repair after injuries. The mechanisms by which satellite cells play these roles are currently not clearly understood. Our interest is on the regulation of satellite cells after injury and the agents that enhance satellite cells proliferation and activation, including
• The role of leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) on satellite cells activities after muscle injury
• The effects of androgens and anabolic steroids on satellite cells and muscle repair after injury.
The Programs offer a wide range of research areas in various topics of interests, Muscular adaptations in health and disease, Respiratory function in sports and exercise, Neuromuscular fitness and sports performance, Endurance performance in elite athletes, Body composition in athletes and general population, Immune response to exercise and Exercise and insulin resistance.