December 1, 2016

Inside This Issue

  • Message from the Chair
  • Holiday Raffle
  • Honours & Awards
  • Physiology Seminar Series
  • New Faculty Appointee (Dr. Li)
  • GASP News


As we approach the end of year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the Department for all their contributions and support during 2016. Special thanks to the Vice-Chairs Drs. Denise Belsham (Academic) and Scott Heximer (Research) for their invaluable assistance; to Dr. Michelle French (Undergraduate Coordinator), Drs. Douglas Tweed and Zhong-Ping Feng (Graduate Coordinators); the Platform Heads, Drs. Lu Yang Wang, Andrea Jurisicova, Anthony Gramolini and Michael  Wheeler; and of course to our dedicated Office Team for their professional administrative support.

A reminder to please be generous and support this year’s Holiday Raffle.  It is always a highlight of the Physiology Holiday Luncheon!  Please see below for all the details.  All proceeds will be going to the CP24/CHUM Christmas Wish. 

The University will be closed from 5 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2016 to commencement of the working day, Monday, January 2, 2017 when normal activities will be resumed.

Warmest best wishes to everyone in the Department for a festive and safe Holiday Season. 

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



****** TOP PRIZe *****

GOLD APPLE iPAD mini 4  with fingerprint recognition

(donated from Dept. of Physiology)

More Fantastic prizes!!!  2 X one night stay at Westin Harbour Castle hotel with Breakfast (Starwood and International Conferences Services, Ltd.); 2 x $50 Eaton Centre Cards (From GASP); 4 x $25 Starbucks Gift Cards and 2 x Physiology Hoodies (From UPSA); $50 Ultimate Dining Gift Card (From P. Brubaker); 2x $100 KEG Gift Card (from Cedarlane); Gift Basket (From Corning/Fisher);  Lindt Chocolates (D. Belsham); $25 Starbucks Gift Card (From NEB); Dining gift card (From Thermo-Fisher); 2 Cineplex Movie Tickets (From J-P. Feng); External Hard drive (From Medstores); Lindt Gift Basket (From the Belsham Lab); 2 x $50 Starbucks Gift Cards (From G. Collingridge) 

– More to come…..donations accepted in MSB 3344

All proceeds will go to: CP24/CHUM Christmas Wish

The CP24/CHUM Christmas Wish is one of the largest distributors of toys to those in need in the GTA, as well as providing financial assistance to hundreds of agencies.  For further info about the CP24/CHUM Christmas Wish please check the web site at

Tickets will be available Thursday December 1 until Thursday December 8, 2016

Tickets available from GASP members daily

MSB 3344, Neruja Loganathan and Ashkan Salehi (Belsham Lab); MSB 3366, Frances Wong (Cox Lab); Mars, Farigol Hakemzadeh (Gramolini Lab); MSH, Bona Kim (Lye Lab); St. Michael's Hosp, John Choi (Zhang lab); Sick Kids, Lina Tran (Frankland Lab);

TGH/TMTD, Hanna Kim (Belsham/Wheeler Labs); TWH, Christine Snidal (Stanley Lab) and at the Holiday Party (so bring your cash).

Come and find us!

Look for the graduate students and be generous!!!    Tickets are 1 for $5.00, 3 for $10.00 or 8 for $20

Prize draw will take place at the department of Physiology Holiday Party (Dec 8)

(Don’t have to be present to win – we deliver….)




Congratulations to Dr. Patricia Brubaker on being inducted into the Royal Society of Canada, Life Sciences Division, on November 18th, 2016 in Kingston, Ontario.  Election to the RSC is the highest honour a scholar, scientist or artist can achieve in Canada as it recognizes outstanding contributions to Canadian intellectual life and knowledge.  Dr. Brubaker is known internationally for her pioneering studies illuminating how regulatory peptides are synthesized and secreted from specialized endocrine cells within the gastrointestinal tract.  Her discoveries have provided multiple new models for analysis of GLP-1 and GLP-2 secretion, and provided a scientific rationale for developent of new peptide analogues for the therapy of diabetes, obesity and short bowel syndrome.

Congratulations to Dr. Wolfgang M. Kuebler of the University of Toronto´s Departments of Surgery and Physiology on his induction as a new member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada.  Since 1882, The Royal Society has been mandated to recognize excellence in intellectual achievement; to promote a culture of knowledge in Canada; and to advise governments and the public. Inaugurated in 2014, “The College” is Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leadership, and currently includes 219 members from all scholarly, scientific and artistic disciplines across Canada.



~ Eligible for PSL1000H/PSL2000H Course Seminar Attendance ~

Speaker:       Nils Brose, MSc., PhD.  Professor & Director, Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine

Institution:    Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Gottingen, Germany

Title: “On the role of neurotransmitter signaling in the establishment of neuronal synaptic connectivity ”

Date:    Thursday, January 12th , 2017

Time:    4 p.m.

Location:   Medical Sciences Building, Room 2170, St. George Campus, University of Toronto

Host:       Neuroscience Platform & Neuroscience Distinguished Lectureship Series (CPIN)



A warm welcome to Dr. Ren-Ke Li who will be joining Physiology as a status-only faculty member on January 1st, 2017.   

Dr. Ren-Ke Li, MD, PhD is a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Toronto.  Dr. Li is also a Senior Scientist at the Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network working in the field of stem cell transplantation and tissue engineering. He is the recipient of the Canada Research Chair in Cardiac Regeneration (Tier 1) and was a Career Investigator of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 

Dr. Li has been at the forefront of the field of cell transplantation and tissue engineering.  His research team has developed a technology using cell transplantation to regenerate damaged heart tissue after a heart attack and improve heart function. His research group used a combination of stem cells and biomaterials to create cardiac tissue for heart repair.  These methods are undergoing clinical trials in Canada. Currently, his research group is attempting to determine the mechanisms by which transplanted cells exert their beneficial effects by rejuvenation of aged stem cells and aged recipients. Clarifying these mechanisms will allow them to develop the “next generation” of cell therapy for restoration of heart function of aged patients. Dr. Li has published 228 peer-reviewed papers in highly reputable journals. Email:


GASP has had a successful November, full of activities and events for our graduate students:

- We started the month off with our November pub night at Duke's, special thanks to the social coordinators (Kenny and Scott) for another successful pub night.

- We also travelled to SickKids for our off-campus coffee break, hosted by Sina.

-Our social event for November was Trivia Night, host by our trivia master Shahin, and organized by our social coordinators, Kenny and Scott. It was a great night, with team "I was too busy drinking to come up with a name" being crowned the winner.

-GASP participated in Boot Camp, a free fitness class offered at Hart House. It was a great way to work up a sweat and get some of that frustration out.

-GASP wishes the first year’s good luck on their upcoming committee meetings, and hopes the seminar we gave in November on a How-To-Do Your Committee Meeting 101 was helpful!

‘Be on the lookout PSL students, GASP will soon be releasing a survey!!  We are looking to change how our events are planned, if we should move the timing of coffee break, and whether you have any suggestions. We want your opinion and input! The survey will be released soon!!!

Looking forward to seeing you at our December events.

Melanie Markovic (Brubaker lab)
GASP President