Department of Physiology

PSL1070H - Advanced Topics: Hormone Action

Course Coordinator:  Dr. Michael Wheeler, PhD/Professor

General Description:
The overall goal of this graduate-only seminar-style course is to provide graduate students with a foundation to sharpen their biomedical research analytical and presentation skills, with an emphasis on endocrinology and hormone action.  To achieve this goal, students will be assigned current highly-impactful papers within the field of physiology with an emphasis on metabolism, obesity and diabetes.  Students will read and then present specified papers to the class and core faculty members.  Faculty will facilitate the discussion of major findings of the papers with the presenter and their classmates.  Through this exercise the students will: (i) be exposed to the latest experimental approaches to study how various hormones exert their effects on key metabolic organs to regulate energy homeostasis; (ii) learn how to evaluate papers with an emphasis on critical assessment and (iii) devise potential experiments to address some of the limitations of these papers.  In a second aspect of the course students will also be introduced to some of the most recent technologies available in Toronto that can be applied to the fields of metabolism, diabetes and obesity.  In a third aspect of the course, students will be asked to write a pilot grant related to their thesis hypothesis that utilizes some of the methods and lines of research discussed in the course.

Student Presentation Tasks:
Students will participate by either presenting or discussing papers that focus on basic, translational and clinical aspects of hormone action in health and disease.  Each student will make two presentations (20 minute presentation followed by 30 minute group discussion for each paper) based upon current original research papers during each of the 2 hour classes.  Active participation by the class in discussion is mandatory.  Discussion will be facilitated by the instructors and two students that will specifically be assigned as readers for each presentation.  The role of a reader is to read the paper prior to the presentation and to ask relevant questions during the discussion.

Paper topics for 2019 and faculty:
1) Pancreatic Beta Cell Function in Health and Disease  (Dr. Michael Wheeler)
2) Current Topics on Insulin Action  (Dr. Amira Klip)
3) Hepatic Function and Metabolic Hormones  (Dr. Tianru Jin)
4) Adipose Tissue, Obesity and Hormones  (Dr. Hoon-Ki Sung)

In addition to the above four topics, course faculty will arrange to have a selected number of one (1) hour seminars by researchers to cover relevant metabolism-related research and/or methodological advancements in the field.

Grading assessment (by core faculty members): 

(a)  Oral presentation of original research papers: 50% - Two presentations (25% each)
(b   Pilot Grant: 30% ~ 4 pages max. Abstract+body, references and figures not included in page count
(c)  Class participation/discussion: 20%

This is a graduate only seminar course; PSL300/301 or equivalent physiology courses are recommended but not essential.  A keen interest in metabolic disorders and endocrinology is highly recommended. 

Core Faculty 2019
Dr. M. Wheeler
Dr. T. Jin
Dr. A. Klip
Dr. H. K. Sung

~ updated Dec-2018