PSL1070H - Advanced Topics: Hormone Action

Course Coordinator:  Dr. M. Wheeler

The overall goal of this graduate-only seminar style course is to teach students how to read and analyze scientific papers. To achieve this goal, students will be first assigned a specific paper to read, and will then present the latest physiology and molecular endocrinology findings within the paper on hormone action in the context of the study of metabolism, obesity, and diabetes. The faculty will foster an environment to guide, facilitate, and discuss major findings of the papers with the presenter and their classmates.  The students will learn how to (a) make use of the latest, as well as the well-established, experimental approaches to study how various hormones exert their functional effects on metabolic organs in regulating energy homeostasis; (b) evaluate the paper with a critical assessment; and (c) suggest potential experiments to address the limitation of the current study. The students will also learn the classic, as well as the latest, discoveries in the study of metabolism, diabetes and obesity. Based on what they have learned during the presentations and discussions, the students will then individually write a literature review on their choice of a topic discussed in class.

Presentation of the course:
The students will participate in discussions that focus on the basic, translational and clinical aspects of hormone action in health and disease. Two student presentations (20 min presentation followed by 30 min group discussion for each paper) based upon current original research papers during each of the 2 hour classes. Active participation in discussion is required. Discussion will be facilitated by the instructors and two students will be assigned as readers for each presentation. The role of a reader is to read the presentation and to ask relevant questions during the discussion.

Topic 1   Gut incretion hormones and incretin-based diabetes drugs
Topic 2   Insulin secretion and function
Topic 3   Hepatic function of metabolic hormones

In addition to the above three topics, course faculty will arrange to have a variety of 1 hour seminars, followed by an informal discussion, provided by guest faculty members or senior researchers to cover relevant metabolism-related research and/or methodological advancements in the field.  The number of extra seminars will depend on the student enrolment in the course.  The course will compose of 12 weeks of 2 hour classes.

Grading assessment (by core faculty members): 

(a)  Oral presentation 50% - Two presentations (25% each)
(b)  A literature review on any discussed topic 30% - ~ 5 pages (Abstract + Text), excluding references and/or figures 
(c)  Class discussion 20%, divided into the following three criteria: attendance (4%), level of participation (8%), and quality of questions during the discussion (8%)

This is a graduate only seminar course; PSL300/301 or equivalent physiology courses are recommended.

Other Instructors:
Dr. D. Ng, Departments of Medicine & Physiology
Dr. M. Wheeler, Department of Physiology

~ updated Dec-2016

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