Department of Physiology

February 25, 2015



The Department of Physiology is pleased to present the latest issue of PHYSIO PROGRESS. Featured articles include a spotlight on the Fraser Mustard Institute of Human Development and our commitment to children’s developmental health; the appointment of Professor Graham Collingridge as the new Chair of Physiology; and the sad passing of Dr. John F. MacDonald, past Chair of the department.

Please save-the-date for the 2015 Macallum Lecture and Alumni Reception. Dr. Mitchell Lazar, Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at the University of Pennsylvania will deliver the Macallum Lecture on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 4:00 pm in the J.J.R. MacLeod Auditorium, Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto. The lecture is free and open to all. For further information please contact Jenny Katsoulakos in the Chair’s Office We look forward to seeing you there!

Click here to view the Newsletter.
Physiology Alumni Newsletter 2014.pdf


~ Eligible for PSL1000/2000 Course Seminar Attendance ~

Speaker:  Ravi Retnakaran MD MSc FRCPC 

Institution: Endocrinologist and Clinician-Scientist, Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes, Mount Sinai Hospital Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto

Title: "Glucose Tolerance Status in Pregnancy: A Window to the Future Risk of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in Young Women"

Date: Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Time: 4 p.m.

Location: Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Medical Sciences Building, Room 2172

Host: Reproduction and Development Platform

~ Eligible for PSL1000/2000 Course Seminar Attendance ~

Speaker: Denis Burdakov, PhD

Institution: Chair in Systems Neuroscience, Kings College London
Division of Neurophysiology, MRC National Institute for Medical Research
and MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology
King's College London, UK

Title: “Neural circuits, instincts, appetite, sleep”

Date: Thursday March 12th, 2015

Time: 4 p.m.

Location: Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Medical Sciences Building, Room 2172

Host: Cardiovascular and Respiratory Platform – Dr J. Peever and Dr. R. Horner


Endowed by Dr. John K. & Mrs. Mary E. Davidson

Douglas A. Melton, PhD
Harvard University Department of Stem Cell
and Regenerative Biology
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

"Making human beta cells to understand and treat diabetes"

Thursday April 2nd, 2015

4:00 p.m.

Medical Sciences Building, Room 2172
Faculty of Medicine - University of Toronto

Reception to follow in the Physiology Seminar Room (MSB 3231)


Professor Richard Horner is a recipient of the 2015 Graduate Faculty Teaching Award for Sustained Excellence in Graduate Teaching & Mentorship. This student driven award allows the Faculty of Medicine the opportunity to honour our exceptional professors and outstanding graduate supervisors. Professor Horner will receive the award at the 13th Annual Education Achievement Celebration that will be held on May 12, 2015.

Congratulations to Dr. Kohei Koga - postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Min Zhuo's lab who has been offered an Assistant Professor position with the Department of Neurophysiology at Hirosaki University Graduate School of Medicine in Aomori, Japan, starting June 1, 2015. Koga joined Dr. Zhuo's lab in 2009 and has published an impressive 21 papers during his time in the lab, including his recent publication in Neuron - "Coexistence of Two Forms of LTP in ACC Provides a Synaptic Mechanism for the Interactions between Anxiety and Chronic Pain" - which has received major attention in the field.

Congratulations to Wendy Ye (Physiology undergraduate student - Belsham Lab) on being awarded the prestigious Endocrine Society Summer Fellowship. Wendy will work in the Belsham Lab over the summer for the Fellowship, and as an added bonus from the award will attend the Endocrine Society Meeting in San Diego Mar. 4 - 8, 2015. Good luck.


How much sleep do you really need? That depends: how old are you?

If you don't remember reading about Professor John Peever's latest research you might not be getting enough sleep ...

The University of Toronto neurobiologist and Physiology cross-appointee, was a co-author on the first peer reviewed paper to recommended sleep times across the human lifespan. Peever represented the University of Toronto and the American Physiological Society on an international panel of experts appointed to determine how much sleep people of all ages need. Read more…

New drug target for multiple sclerosis discovered

TORONTO (Feb. 17, 2015) – Scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have discovered a promising new approach to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). In a new study, they’ve identified a previously unknown change in the spinal cord related to MS, and a way to alter this change to reduce the nerve cell damage and alleviate motor problems that occur with the disease.  This research, which could lead to the development of new types of drugs to treat MS, was led by Dr. Fang Liu, Senior Scientist in CAMH’s Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Physiology, University of Toronto. Read more…


Jacques Genest, M.D.

Professor, Faculty of Medicine; Novartis Chair in Medicine, McGill University

“Systems and Molecular Approaches to Severe Hyperlipidemias (SMASH)”

DATE/TIME: Monday, March 2nd, 2015 from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

LOCATION: Tanz Neuroscience Building, Imperial Oil Lecture Theatre, 6 Queens Park West, University of Toronto

(Located on the NW corner of College and University behind the Leslie Dan Pharmacy building. Please use the rear entrance at the West corner of the building, the room is located on the lower level)

Reception to follow lecture – 6:00pm - 6:45pm – drinks and snacks provided


~ Eligible for PSL1000/2000 Course Seminar Attendance ~

Speaker: Dr. Luis de Lecea, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral, Sciences, Stanford University

Title: To sleep or not to sleep: optogenetics of arousal

Date: Friday, March 6, 2015

Time: 2:00 pm

Location: 610 Auditorium, Health Sciences Building (155 College St.), University of Toronto

Hosts: (i) Dr. John Peever, Professor, Departments of Cell & Systems Biology and Physiology; (ii) Dr. Richard Horner, Professor, Departments of Medicine and Physiology