Department of Physiology

January 22, 2015



~ Eligible for PSL1000/2000 Course Seminar Attendance ~

Speaker: Yoel Sadovski, MD

Institution: Director, Magee Women’s Research Institute, Elsie Hilliard Hillman Chair of Women’s Health Research, Professor of OBGYN, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and CTSI Vice Chair (Research), Department of OBGYN and Reproductive Sciences University of Pittsburgh

Title: The Unique Function and Transport of Placental TrophomiRs

Date: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Time: 4:00 p.m.

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

Host: Reproduction and Development Platform

BRAIN Platform Day Update

I am pleased to announce that BRAIN Platform Day was successfully staged on January 20, 2015 at the new SickKids Peter Gligan Center for Research & Learning tower. We had 9 oral presentations and 21 posters with the keynote by Prof. Steve Prescott from the SickKids Program in Neurosciences & Mental Health, who gave a beautiful presentation that integrated experimental research and computation modeling for his insightful work on neuropathic pain.

Many congratulations to all students who presented their work on this occasion and to those whose outstanding performance were recognized by our judges as the best presentations:

Three Best Oral Presentation winners are:

• Josiane Mapplebeck (Salter Lab),
• Michael Vu (Horner Lab),
• Alexandre Guet-McCreight (Skinner Lab)

The Six Best Poster Presentation winners are:

• Roger Ferreira (Schlichter Lab),
• Katie Ferguson (Skinner Lab),
• Lee Stephen Lesperance (Wang Lab),
• Erika Harding (Salter Lab),
• Andrew Barszczyk (Feng Lab),
• Shane Ellis (Hutchison Lab)

Eva will contact all winners by email to make arrangements to pick up the award certificates and prizes from her office.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all trainees for putting on an outstanding show of your research accomplishments and actively participating in discussions, and to faculty members and associates who came out to support our trainees, and particularly those who helped with judging: Drs. Ariel Avila, Peter Carlen, Adam Fekete, William Hutchison, Zhong-Ping Feng, Zhengping Jia, Sheena Josselyn, Julie Lefebvre, Graham Pitcher, Mike Salter, Ameet Sengar, Frances Skinner, Douglas Tweed, and Amy Yang.

My special appreciation goes to Eva Eng (Physiology) and Lisa Alano (SickKids) who worked tirelessly for all organization and logistics to make the annual BRAIN Day a great success!

Lu-Yang Wang, PhD
Director, BRAIN Platform


Congratulations to Dr. Elise Stanley on being elected to membership in the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. The Society of Scholars was established in 1967 by the university’s Board of Trustees to honor individuals whose academic or professional careers began at and were favorably influenced by Johns Hopkins.

Congratulations to Dr. Tony Lam and his lab on their recent paper in Nature Communications. The paper is cited as: A fatty acid-dependent hypothalamic-DVC neurocircuitry that regulates hepatic secretion of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. Nat Commun 2015 Jan 12:6:5970. The study is primarily conducted by Dr. Jessica Yue, a PhD graduate of Physiology at U of T and a formal post-doctoral fellow of the Lam lab. Jessica is now an Assistant Professor of Physiology at the University of Alberta.

IN THE NEWS - Dr. Min Zhuo

Anxiety and Pain: Two Sides of the Same Synapse?

Researchers have known for a decade what patients have suspected much longer: chronic pain produces anxiety, and anxiety makes the pain worse. But why? Scientists have found tantalizing clues, including intense activity in the same part of the brain during both sensations. But an answer has been elusive.

Now, neuroscientists at the University of Toronto have mapped a mechanism in the brain’s anterior cingulate cortex, or ACC, that could explain the link between anxiety and chronic pain.

Min Zhuo is a Professor in the Department of Physiology at U of T and the Canada Research Chair in Pain and Cognition. Zhuo and his lab recently published a paper in the journal Neuron that showed how neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to physically re-organize itself in response to experience — can spur the interplay between chronic pain and anxiety. They also showed that a drug they developed for chronic pain can limit anxiety.

Zhuo spoke with Faculty of Medicine writer Jim Oldfield about his findings and what they could mean for patients. Read full story