Department of Physiology

May 22, 2015




I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that was involved in our tremendously successful Macallum Lecture and Frontiers in Physiology Research Day last week. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Mitchell Lazar, from Pennsylvania University Medical School, gave two spectacular lectures, and mentioned numerous times how impressed he was with the students in our department. The GASP VPs, Shane Ellis and Holly Stacey, as well as their entire team of graduate students, organized a fabulous day of research mixed with opportunities to socialize with the members of our great department. Thanks to all of the faculty that participated, the alumni that attended the Macallum Lecture and reception, and most importantly, to the students for presenting their latest and greatest research findings.

Please join me in congratulating all of the winners below.

Denise D. Belsham, PhD
Acting Chair, Department of Physiology
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto



B.R.A.I.N Platform

1st Place B.R.A.I.N Oral Presentation - Michael Vu (Horner Lab)

1st Place B.R.A.I.N Poster Presentation - Vladislav Sekulic (Skinner Lab) 

2nd place B.R.A.I.N Poster - Celeste Leung (Jia Lab)

TIE: 3rd place B.R.A.I.N Poster - Josiane Mapplebeck (Salter Lab) and Na-Ryum (Danny) Bin (Sugita Lab)

Cardiovascular Platform

1st Place Cardio Oral Presentation - Jake Cosme (Gramolini lab)

1st place Cardio Poster - Mark McVey (Kuebler Lab)

2nd place Cardio Poster - Justin Huang (Heximer Lab)

TIE: 3rd place Cardio Poster - Jessica Fares (Bolz Lab) and Saumel Ahmadi (Bear Lab/Rommens Lab)

E.D.R.G Platform

1st Place E.D.R.G Oral Presentation - Melanie Markovic (Brubaker Lab)

TIE: 1st Place E.D.R.G Poster - Brittany Rasmussen (Lam Lab) and Hae-Ra Cho (Mingyao Liu Lab)

2nd place E.D.R.G Poster - Wendy  Ye (Belsham Lab)

3rd place E.D.R.G Poster - Melika Zadeh-Tahmasebi (Lam Lab)

Reproduction & Development Platform

1st Place Repro Oral Presentation - Frances Wong (Cox Lab)

1st Place Repro Poster - Ursula Nosi (Cox Lab)

TIE: 2nd place Repro Poster - Siwen (Grace) Yang (Bocking Lab) and Melissa Kwan (Lye Lab)

TIE: 3rd place Repro Poster - Vanessa Raileanu (Rogers Lab) and Valdimir Djedovic (Brown Lab)


Carin Wittnich TA Award winners are Kevin Grace (Horner Lab) and Holly Stacey (Brubaker Lab)

Colin Bayliss Award winner is Nishanth Lakshman for outstanding performance in the undergraduate Physiology Specialist Program

Christopher Perumalla Award winner is Mostafa Abdalla, for outstanding performance in the undergraduate Physiology Major Program

John F. MacDonald Award for Neuroscience winner for Graduate Oral Presentation in the 2015 Frontiers in Physiology is Vladislav Sekulić (Skinner Lab)

John F. MacDonald Award for Neuroscience winner for Graduate Poster Presentation in the 2015 Frontiers in Physiology is Michael Vu (Horner Lab)


8th Annual Endocrinology and Diabetes Research Group (EDRG) Scientific Day

Congratulations to all of the following trainees on their successes at this year’s EDRG Scientific Day held on May 20, 2015. 

Oral Presentations:

1st prize: Kacey Prentice (supervisor: Dr. Michael Wheeler)

Title: The furan fatty acid metabolite CMPF is elevated in diabetes and induces persistent beta cell dysfunction

2nd prize: Kenny Chan (tie) (supervisor: Dr. Amira Klip)

Title: Role of hematopoietic NOD1 in metabolic inflammation and insulin resistance

2nd prize: Sarah Farr (tie) (supervisor: Dr. Khosrow Adeli)

Title: The role of bile acids in glucagon-like peptide-1-mediated reductions in postprandial lipemia

Poster Sessions

Session A:  Glucose Homeostasis and Insulin Resistance

1st prize: Anthony Scalia (supervisor : Dr. Maria Rozakis)

Title: Epigenetic regulation of hepatic gluconeogenesis

2nd prize: Lilia Magomedova (supervisor: Dr. Carolyn Cummins)

Title: Hepatic ablation of arginine and glutamate rich 1 impairs glucocorticoid-induced gluconeogenesis

Session B:  Insulin Secretion and other Hormones

1st prize: Ying Liu (tie) (supervisor : Dr. Michael Wheeler)

Title: Identification of zinc transporters responsible for zinc influx into beta cells ​

1st prize: Jasmine Williams-Dautovich (tie) (supervisor: Dr. Carolyn Cummins)

Title: LXR antagonism attenuates glucocorticoid-induced osteoclast activation in a mouse model of Cushing's Syndrome

2nd prize: Stephen Hale (supervisor: Dr. Patricia Brubaker)

Title: The Role of Syntaxin-1a in the secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 from the primary, adult mouse L Cell

Session C:  Complications of Diabetes

1st prize: Julie Van (supervisor: Dr. James Scholey)

Title: Characterizing the urinary peptidome to infer protease activity in the kidney

2nd prize: Marsel Lino (supervisor: Dr. Michelle Bendeck)
Title: The role of Discoidin Domain Receptor-1 in vascular calcification in atherosclerosis and diabetes 



~ Eligible for PSL1000H/PSL2000H Course Seminar Attendance ~

NAME:   Padmaja Subbarao, MD, FRCP(C)

AFFILIATION:  Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children; Assistant Professor, Paediatrics, University of Toronto

SEMINAR TITLE:   “Lung Clearance Index – The past revisited”.

DATE:   Thursday June 18, 2015

TIME:    4 pm

LOCATION:   Medical Sciences Building, Room 2172, Faculty of Medicine

HOST:   Respiratory and Cardiovascular Platform



Protecting the Developing Fetus

Infection during pregnancy may impact the natural protection of the fetus, according to new research by a U of T professor.

Professor Stephen G. Matthews and his team found evidence that bacterial and viral infections may weaken the placenta's ability to reduce transfer of certain drugs and environmental toxins from the mother to the developing fetus. 

“Intrauterine Infection is quite common during pregnancy, and we know that it's present in about 40 percent of preterm births,” says Matthews, a professor of physiology, medicine and obstetrics/gynecology.

Read full story…

Why a good night’s sleep is essential to good health

While the demands of daily living force us to be alert, our hard-wired biology forces us to rest.

By: Richard Horner University of Toronto, Published on Tue May 19 2015

Having trouble falling or staying asleep is common. Many of us also need an alarm clock to drag ourselves out of what feels like a deep coma in the morning. Insufficient or disrupted sleep often goes hand-in-hand with the time crunch of modern living. The increased demands and opportunities on our waking life cause our sleep to suffer.

Continue reading….


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