Mechanisms and Logic in Human Physiology

Author(s): Erik P. Silldorff, Gerald D. Robinson

Edition: 1

Copyright: 2021

Pages: 956


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Mechanisms and Logic in Human Physiology is a next-gen learning resource, adapting to a variety of pedagogical strategies as well as strongly promoting higher order thinking, the ultimate goal of 21st century pre-clinical education. Physiology - a study of complex systems in motion - requires a deeper level of learning than rote memorization can provide. Only when systems are truly understood can knowledge be applied. This “decade in the making” textbook is loaded with features that facilitate learning through real understanding – all developed and created by the authors themselves who have more than 60 years of combined experience teaching the subject.

Mechanisms and Logic in Human Physiology: Mechanisms and Logic provides students with a means to employ real comprehension and critical thinking, allowing them to engage the content meaningfully and effectively. Our approach emphasizes the "how" and the "why" behind physiology, demonstrating consistency in mechanism fundamentals and providing a wider perspective that makes concepts almost intuitive. Students learn to think from the standpoint of functional logic, tackling novel situations with critical and analytical minds. Reading this text is perfect training for students (and others!) interested in learning physiology via true understanding. Mastering the concepts and cognitive skills developed here will be excellent preparation for advanced study, teaching, research, or a medical career. 

Mechanisms and Logic in Human Physiology features: 

  • figures designed specifically to overcome historically difficult content through unique presentation and descriptive labeling, providing elucidation and logical comprehension. 
  • more that 170 embedded “whiteboard” video explanations of figures (soon to be 300+). This ubiquitous tool provides on-the-spot explanations of difficult topics while also effectively supporting instructors who choose to employ a partially or fully flipped classroom. It’s the textbook that comes with an instructor! - aiding comprehension outside of the classroom.
  • 750+ audio explanations of both correct and incorrect answers to practice questions afford students the needed clarity to understand why they are right or wrong in their thinking about physiology.
  • 150+ essay-style questions that require students to think critically about the integrative aspects of physiology and then formulate cogent responses.
  • 300+ embedded application questions that prompt students to employ material in novel situations immediately after reading each section of text or examining a particular figure.
  • an accessible presentation style, such as approachable tone, the regular use of analogies, and questions that cumulatively build upon content. 
  • section introductions that emphasize The Big Picture, helping students understand the larger framework within which they should fit specific details.


The authors have created a white paper that specifically addresses these topics entitled, Logic and Physiology: The Case for Revised Pedagogy.
Access Whitepaper

The authors have also created a webinar that explores The Difficult Art of Explaining Physiological Concepts.
Access Webinar

View Full Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Philosophy, Approach and Core Principles of Physiology
Chapter 2: Organizational Hierarchy of Physiological Systems
Chapter 3: Body Fluids and Membrane Dynamics
Chapter 4: The Energetic Basis of Physiology and General Metabolism

Chapter 5: The Nervous System
Chapter 6: Endocrine Regulation

Chapter 7: Muscle Physiology
Chapter 8: Blood and Immunity
Chapter 9: Cardiovascular Physiology
Chapter 10: The Respiratory System and Gas Transport
Chapter 11: The Kidneys
Chapter 12: Digestive Physiology
Chapter 13: Reproduction

Chapter 14: Blood Pressure Regulation
Chapter 15: Acid-Base Regulation
Chapter 16: Exercise Physiology



Erik P. Silldorff

Erik Silldorff is currently a Professor of Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Towson University, in Towson Maryland. Erik grew up in Lebanon, Pennsylvania where he took an early and strong interest in animals, especially reptiles and insects. He was an avid insect collector and was named Amateur Entomologist of Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Entomological Society in 1980. This passion for life science continued and he earned both his B.A. (1988) and PhD (1993) degrees in biological sciences (focus physiology) from the University of Delaware. There, Erik became involved in year-round research as an undergraduate (initially insect photoperiodism) that eventually lead to his graduate project focused on comparative physiology of the renin-angiotensin system, where he studied the mechanisms of angiotensin II action on the vasculature and cardiac performance in reptiles, including the American alligator.

Later, as a post-doctoral fellow at both Penn State and University of Maryland medical schools, Erik worked in the area of hormonal control of capillary blood flow in the mammalian kidney. Studies examined the contractile characteristics of the kidney microcirculation, specifically the descending vasa recta, to determine the potential for regulation of total and regional renal blood flow. These blood flow studies provided information about the regulation of the urine concentrating mechanism, blood pressure control, and pathological conditions such as acute ischemic renal failure. This work continued following his appointment to an academic position at Towson University (1998) until, following his love for teaching, Erik initiated the writing of a novel textbook in Human Physiology in 2011 with his colleague and good friend, Gerald Robinson. Broad teaching experiences in medical physiology, human physiology, comparative animal physiology, endocrinology, vertebrate anatomy, and molecular physiology greatly contributed to this passion. Currently, his goal is to alter the trajectory of teaching and learning in physiology nationwide. Given the ongoing trend toward increased discipline content and student reliance on memorization of the “what” and the “how”, a shift toward teaching the adaptive logic of physiology – the “Why”, is exactly what’s needed for the development of analytical minds in our next generation of clinicians.

Erik is married to Danielle and currently lives in Phoenix, Maryland with their two teenage children, Ava and Brady, as well as a cohort of dogs and a cat. They love spending time together at the beach or in the woods. Erik enjoys cycling, climbing, surfing and cheesy action movies.

Gerald D. Robinson

Jerry Robinson grew up in central Pennsylvania, the oldest in a family of three brothers and one sister. He earned his B.A. degree in Biology at Lock Haven State College in 1970 and Ph.D. at Penn State in 1975.  In 1970, Jerry and his college sweetheart, Vicki, married.  Together, they had one son, Michael, who is currently an endoscopy nurse in Gresham, OH.  Vicki passed away in October, 2020 after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage.

Jerry’s graduate training and research interests lie in comparative animal physiology, specifically, salt and water balance in aquatic and estuarine animals.  He’s published papers on osmoregulation in crabs, newts, frogs, diamondback terrapins, and sea snakes.  Jerry’s real passion, though, has always been teaching physiology to students at all levels, including undergraduate and graduate students with majors ranging from allied health sciences to biology.  Courses taught as a faculty member at Fordham University (1975 – 1977) and Towson University (1978 – 2012) include:  Human Anatomy and Physiology, Comparative Animal Physiology, Advanced Physiology, Mammalian Physiology, Vertebrate Anatomy, and Osmoregulation.  Jerry’s greatest fulfillment as an instructor has always been to convey his love for physiology to his students and to prepare them for careers requiring expertise in this field.  His philosophy is that students can learn to understand almost anything, given the complete picture, a good explanation, and appropriate support.

Jerry Robinson retired in 2012, and currently resides in Sandy, Oregon.  In addition to his interest in the teaching of physiology, his hobbies include motorcycling, overland camping, fishing, DIY projects, and reading.

Related ISBN's: 9781792490248, 9781792451331




ISBN 9781792490248

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