Our mission is to emphasize research into the understanding of vital functions common to all animals. All animals perform certain basic functions-they grow, reproduce, move, respond to stimuli and maintain homeostasis. The physiological mechanisms upon which these functions depend are precisely regulated and highly integrated, but may be disrupted by disease, injury and aging. Actions of the nervous and endocrine systems determine behavior and the interaction between organisms and their physical and social environments. Exercise and physical activity also regulate the physiological, biomechanical and behavioral aspects of the organism. Research in the Department focuses on functional mechanisms; the control, regulation and integration of these mechanisms; and the behavior that relates to those mechanisms at the level of the molecule, the cell, the organ system and the organism, including at the human ecological level.