Chair's Welcome

Welcome to the official Website for the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

Dr. Scott Heximer, Interim Chair

This site is designed to introduce visitors and students to our Department’s research and teaching mission, our rich history and our future vision for Physiology. It also serves as a major route of communication between the Department’s undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty members and administrative staff.

Our Department plays a central role within the Faculty of Medicine and collaborates in many of its programs with the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, allied Health Sciences and with a number of the Hospital-based research institutes in Toronto. Physiology is the study of how the body works in health and disease at all levels including molecular, genomic, proteomic, ionic, cellular, organ and whole organism. Our Department is dedicated to understanding fundamental physiological processes and translating these to clinical care.

To this end, the objectives of Physiology remain the same as 100 years ago. The scientific intuition and curiosity that led Banting and Best to their seminal studies of diabetes and the discovery of insulin are carried on by the members of the Department. Of course the enthusiasm of our curiosity is guided through the rigorous application of the scientific method (hypotheses- and experimentally-driven research). What has changed drastically over the years is the remarkable elaboration and increase in the sophistication of the experimental tools available for the study of Physiology. Our traditional methods of measuring function, such as measurements of blood pressure, respiration rate, urine production, hormone levels, electroencephalogram etc. have been supplemented with molecular biological techniques, advanced genetic manipulations, and sophisticated computational and electronic measurements. In fact, the Department of Physiology is poised to exploit the vast information arising from the scientific revolutions of genetics and proteomics (identification of the proteins transcribed by human genes) in order to better understand both human health and disease.

These are perhaps the most exciting of times for the study of Physiology and we welcome you to the Department.

Dr. Scott P. Heximer
Ernest B. and Leonard B. Smith Chair,
Department of Physiology
Faculty of Medicine