Department of Physiology

May 18, 2016


  • Message from the Chair
  • FIP Winners
  • Physiology Seminar Series
  • A&S Initiative – Dr. Michelle French
  • LTS Physiology Day Update
  • Science Rendezvous Update



On behalf of the Department, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Professor Tim Bliss, FRS for visiting us last week and delivering the annual Macallum and FIP Keynote Lectures. Tim enjoyed his interactions with the trainees and faculty members immensely. A special thank you goes out to the FIP Co-Chairs, Colleen Gillon, Diana Buchsbaum & Lina Tran, and their Organizing Team for their hard work. They arranged an outstanding day of research and we are very proud of their accomplishments. Thank you also to the many faculty and post-doctoral fellows who participated as judges.  It was great to see everyone in the department come together for a fantastic day of science and fun.

Please join me in congratulating all of the winners below.

Graham L. Collingridge, FRS, FMedSci, FRSB, FBPhS
Ernest B. and Leonard B. Smith Chair 
Department of Physiology



Top Poster Awards

1st Place – Mary Binko (Lambe Lab)

2nd Place – Kirusanthy Kaneshwaran (Orser Lab)

TIE: 3rd Place – Na-Ryum Bin (Sugita Lab);  Husain Shakil (Prescott Lab);  Frances Xia (Frankland Lab)

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Platform

1st Place Oral Presentation – Sina Hadipour-Lakmehsari (Gramolini lab)

1st Place Poster – Yena Oh (Backx Lab)

Endocrinology and Diabetes Platform

1st Place Oral Presentation – Judith Andrea Eversley (Wheeler Lab)

1st Place Poster – Neruja Loganathan (Belsham Lab)

Neuroscience Platform

1st Place Oral Presentation – Michael Tian (Lambe Lab)

1st Place Poster – Erika Harding (Salter Lab)

Reproduction & Development Platform

1st Place Oral Presentation – Theresa Chow (Rogers Lab)

1st Place Poster – Katherine Leavey (Cox Lab)


Carin Wittnich TA Award winner is Ekaterina Turlova (Sun Lab)                                       

Colin Bayliss Award winner is Yusing Gu for outstanding performance in the undergraduate Physiology Specialist Program

Christopher Perumalla Award winner is Alexandra Majerski, for outstanding performance in the undergraduate Physiology Major Program

John F. MacDonald Award for Neuroscience 2016 winner for Graduate Oral Presentation is Na-Ryum Bin (Danny) (Sugita Lab)

John F. MacDonald Award for Neuroscience 2016 winner for Graduate Poster Presentation is Celeste Leung (Jia Lab)



~ Eligible for PSL1000H/PSL2000H Course Seminar Attendance ~

Speaker:      Robert A. Waterland, PhD

Institution:    Departments of Pediatrics and Molecular & Human Genetics, Baylor, College of Medicine; USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Houston, Texas

Title:    “Hypothalamic epigenetics and developmental programming of physical activity”

Date:      Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Time:       4 p.m.

Location:    Medical Sciences Building, Room 2172, St. George Campus, University of Toronto

Host:       Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development & Reproduction and Development Platform



~ Eligible for PSL1000H/PSL2000H Course Seminar Attendance ~

Speaker:       Matthew Hill, PhD

Institution:  Assistant Professor & Tier II Canada Research Chair, Departments of Cell Biology and Anatomy & Psychiatry, The Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary,

Title:       “Endocannabinoids: Multi-modal regulators of the stress response”

Date:       Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Time:       4 p.m.

Location:     Medical Sciences Building, Room 2172, St. George Campus, University of Toronto

Host:     Neuroscience Platform



~ Eligible for PSL1000H/PSL2000H Course Seminar Attendance ~

Speaker:    Anne L. Wheeler, PhD

Institution:   Scientist, Neurosciences & Mental Health Program, Hospital for Sick Children

Title:     “Connectomics and cognition in the healthy, diseased and injured brain”

Date:     Thursday, June 2, 2016

Time:   4 p.m.

Location: Medical Sciences Building, Room 2172, St. George Campus, University of Toronto

Host: Neuroscience Platform



~ Eligible for PSL1000H/PSL2000H Course Seminar Attendance ~

Speaker:  Valerie Simonneaux, PhD

Institution:  Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences CNRS – National Centre for Scientific Research University of Strasbourg, France

Title:     "Rhythms underneath: the role of clocks in the timing of female fertility”

Date:   Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Time:    12 noon

Location:    Medical Sciences Building, Room 3231, St. George Campus, University of Toronto

Host:    Endocrinology and Diabetes Research Group; Reproduction and Development Platform Department of Physiology; Sleep and Biological Rhythms Toronto


Faculty of A&S Teaching Community of Practice Initiative

Through a new Teaching & Learning Community of Practice (CoP), Arts & Science faculty are coming together to share the best of their teaching techniques and practices.  Dr. Michelle French was asked to lead the CoP session in April on the theme of large class teaching.   See link to read the entire article on ‘Sharing ideas across the disciplines’.



On April 21st 2016, the Department of Physiology partnered with GASP, the Division of Teaching Laboratories and Let’s Talk Science to host its 7th Annual Physiology Day.  72 grade 11 students from 9 schools across Toronto attended the event and completed three physiology labs exploring lung volume, blood pressure, and genetics. An outstanding team of eleven graduate students from the Department of Physiology not only guided students through the experiments and underlying theory, but also offered them advice on making decisions about university and nurtured their interest in research. The students thoroughly enjoyed getting this unique opportunity to conduct labs in a university setting and discuss university life and research in physiology with graduate students and faculty members.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the faculty members who took the time to come talk to the students (Dr. Kee, Dr. Belsham, Dr. Brubaker, Dr. Horner, and Dr. Wittnich), as well as the Division of Teaching Laboratories, GASP, and all the graduate student volunteers, as without them, this event could not have been as successful as it was!

Kirusanthy Kaneshwaran (Graduate student, Orser Lab)
Outreach Coordinator, GASP



This year, Science Rendezvous was held on Saturday May 7th, and it was a huge hit! There was a constant large crowd around the physiology booth, and that is thanks to all the physiology graduate students who volunteered their time to make human physiology fun for kids. The wind and threat of rain could not keep us from showcasing awesome things about human physiology in the context of superheroes and superpowers. A big thank you to both the science rendezvous committee as well as to the volunteers who were there the day of, including: Bradley, Sarah, Rehnuma, Diana, Frances W., Jessica, Kiru, Celeste, Frances X, Ankur, Bonny, Frank, Sina, Mathew, Farwah, Rosanne, and Hanna.

Thanks for making the event such a great success!

Melanie Markovic (Graduate student, Brubaker lab)
Science Rendezvous Coordinator, GASP


We want to hear about the great things happening in Physiology.  Please share your accomplishments, awards….   Send news items to the Chair’s Office c/o