Department History

In 1903, Indiana University President William Lowe Bryan and the Board of Trustees established what would become Indiana University School of Medicine.

The Department of Anatomy was formed and headed by Dr. Burton D. Myers, who was recruited from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Myers turned physiology over to Dr. William J. Moenkhaus, a faculty member in zoology at the time. Thus, anatomy and physiology were two independent departments of IU School of Medicine along with the Department of Chemistry; and they became the nucleus of the newly established professional program in medicine at Indiana University. Both the Department of Anatomy and the Department of Physiology offered medical studies as well as graduate programs leading to PhD degrees.

Names and Places

The two departments were housed on the Bloomington campus until 1958, when they moved into the new Van Nuys Medical Sciences Building in Indianapolis, where the School of Medicine was based. In the mid-1990s, the anatomy department name was changed to Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology and, in the early 2000s, the physiology department name was changed from Department of Physiology and Biophysics to Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology.

Department Leadership

In January 2021, Alexander G. Robling. PhD was appointed as chair of the Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology & Physiology. Dr. Robling has spent the last 20 years as a faculty member at IU School of Medicine, working to expand and broaden the musculoskeletal research group. His efforts have included the conceptual design and implementation of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health, a multidisciplinary center housed within IU School of Medicine that supports the research and education mission of the musculoskeletal group. His vision for the department is to create a community of anatomy and physiology faculty who lead the nation in basic biomedical discovery and translation, and in education for the next generation of health care professionals.

Alignment of Function and Expertise

In 2019, the two departments merged into a single department with a new name—Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology & Physiology—to align the complementary educational missions and research foci of the previously separated departments. Dr. Robling is the current chair of the newly combined department. New education-related goals are to integrate anatomy and physiology in medical school education and broaden the scope of the education-track PhD program to include anatomical and physiological sciences education scholarship.