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Career Areas within the Physiological Sciences


Measuring and evaluating people's hearing and balance, fitting and adjusting aids, and offering therapeutic techniques to improve the quality of people's lives. Healthcare science staff in this field work with children or adults as well as special needs groups, and are involved in the delivery of long-term treatment, management and care.

Autonomic neurovascular function

The investigation of patients with impaired nerve function. This can be as a result of viral illness or chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Monitoring the extent of dysfunction is important for diagnosis and treatment.

Cardiac sciences

Involves working with patients with known or suspected heart disease. Using a wide variety of methods and equipment, the mechanical and electrical function of the heart can be assessed and, in some cases, treated. Through their skill, healthcare scientists in this field may save lives.

Clinical perfusion science

Healthcare scientists in this field are part of the open-heart surgery team. They manage heart-lung machines and other equipment used to support patients during major operations. Their skills may also be used in critical care units, for example during heart or respiratory failure.

Critical care technology

Healthcare scientists ensure complex equipment used for life support, diagnosis and monitoring of critically ill patients is set up and used correctly. They work alongside doctors and nurses diagnosing patients' conditions.

Gastrointestinal physiology

Measuring and assessing the activity in the digestive system. Healthcare science staff in this field contribute to the diagnosis of abnormal function and disease, and offer therapeutic techniques, which help patients improve muscle tone in the digestive system.


Involves the investigation of the function of the nervous system and the diagnosis and monitoring of neurological disorders. Healthcare scientists record electrical activity in the brain and work with patients who have, for example, trapped nerves, Parkinson's disease or epilepsy. They also have a role to play during epilepsy surgery.

Ophthalmic and vision science

Involve studying disorders of vision and diseases of the eye and visual pathway. Examples include: measuring the field of vision; looking at pressure in the eye and the small electrical signals by which visual information is transmitted; and taking images of the eye. Healthcare scientists measure, monitor and assess various procedures, providing valuable information for diagnosis and treatment.

Respiratory physiology

Working with patients who have lung, airway or blood oxygenation problems to understand causes and the response to treatment. The tests performed on patients often require considerable encouragement and a caring approach. Tests can take place at rest or during exercise, using a variety or technologies and skills. Staff may also be involved in the delivery of long-term treatment and care.

Sleep physiology

The study of patients who have problems sleeping, for example a condition known as sleep apnoea where people stop breathing when they are asleep. Scientists monitor patients and help identify individual problems, which require treatment and long-term management.


The investigation of urinary difficulties. Healthcare scientists use special equipment to record pressures, urine flows and muscle activity to diagnose problems and help plan and monitor treatments.

Vascular science

The investigation of patients with disorders of the arteries and veins. Healthcare scientists use ultrasound and other non-invasive forms of blood-flow analysis to identify and measure disease and guide treatment.