The Department of Physiology was established at the time of inception of the Colombo Medical School in 1870.
In 1904, physiology was taught from the 2nd year. In 1916 the 2nd professional class examination was held after 2 years of physiology teaching. The physiology block adjacent to Professor Nandadasa Kodagoda Road was completed in 1930. Since then the Department of physiology has occupied most of the 1st & 2nd floors of the physiology block.
The department is proud to have had many eminent teachers over the past century. Dr. James Loos, the first principal of the Colombo Medical School also taught physiology & principles & practice of medicine. In 1934 Professor F.O.B. Ellison, who was the Registrar of the college akin to the Dean, became the first professor of physiology. When the Colombo Medical School acquired university status in 1942, it had only 6 departments of study with senior professors, with Professor C.W. Startup as the professor of physiology. Among the other distinguished professors, Professor A.C.E. Koch stands out as the first Ceylonese professor of physiology.
The department still retains a few ‘antique’ instruments use for physiological experiments in the previous century.