An Integrated Approach

Dee Unglaub Silverthorn studied biology as an undergraduate at Newcomb College of Tulane University, where she did research on cockroaches. For graduate school she switched to studying crabs and received a Ph.D. in marine science from the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences at the University of South Carolina. Her research interest is epithelial transport, and most recently work in her laboratory has focused on transport properties of the chick allantoic membrane. Her teaching career started in the Physiology Department at the Medical University of South Carolina but over the years she has taught a wide range of students, from medical and college students to those still preparing for higher education. At the University of Texas-Austin she teaches physiology in both lecture and laboratory settings, and instructs graduate students on developing teaching skills in the life sciences. She has received numerous teaching awards and honors, including a 2011 UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, the 2009 Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teacher Award from the Society for College Science Teachers, the American Physiological Society’s Claude Bernard Distinguished Lecturer and Arthur C. Guyton Physiology Educator of the Year, and multiple awards from UT-Austin, including the Burnt Orange Apple Award. The first edition of her textbook won the 1998 Robert W. Hamilton Author Award for best textbook published in 1997—98 by a University of Texas faculty member. Dee was the president of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society in 2012—13, has served as editor-in-chief of Advances in Physiology Education, and is currently chair of the American Physiological Society Book Committee. She works with members of the International Union of Physiological Sciences to improve physiology education in developing countries, and this book has been translated into seven languages. Her free time is spent creating multimedia fiber art and enjoying the Texas hill country with her husband, Andy, and their dogs.

Most importantly, the choice of content was nearly perfect… very readable, but not overly wordy… relevant to all readers who want a general overview of human physiology.

The presentation was what motivated the five star rating… The figures were numerous, relevant, informative and intuitive. … However, there were several innovations in presentation of note. In particular, each chapter had a running series of short clinical correlation boxes, where the relevance of the physiological information was highlighted…. At the end of the chapter there was a concise summary that was easy to read and was competed… The questions at the end were segregated into levels of difficulty and were valuable checks of one’s grasp of the material… I can’t say enough…

With regard to weaknesses, or more precisely text personality… There was very little emphasis on quantitative aspects of physiology, i.e. equations. Many of the important equations were presented, just not emphasized… this goes counter to my view of physiology as a quantitative science…. rather than just a study of structure and function… but, perhaps, the quantitative aspects are more appropriate for a more advanced audience…. Also, one had to progress substantially into the text (500 or so pages), before homeostatic mechanisms were discussed (where I believe these mechanisms form the core of the science of physiology)….. And, most of the first third of the book related more to cellular physiology than to system physiology… an important subject that brings everyone up to speed, but which takes substantial time to master and makes it hard to apply this text to a single semester course….


Leave a Reply