June 3, 2016


  • Message from the Chair
  • Honours & Awards
  • Graduate Trainees - Class of 2016
  • CAN Satellite – Update
  • Physiology Seminar Series



This issue is about celebrations – celebrating Physiology’s CAN Satellite Symposium (held on May 28/29), celebrating our faculty’s successes and celebrating our graduating trainees. 

On May 31st I had the very great pleasure of giving the Convocation Speech at the Faculty of Medicine’s Convocation. On June 7th we will be celebrating the convocation of students who have completed our graduate programs.  On behalf of the Department of Physiology, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2016. Congratulations on your hard work, commitment and success – we are very proud of your accomplishments. Seize the day; be optimistic and curious – and say yes. It’s a wonderful journey ahead. Embrace every challenge and every success. Congratulations!

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



Congratulations to Dr. Anthony Gramolini and Dr. Shuzo Sugita on their promotion to the rank of Full Professors effective July 1, 2016. Our very best wishes to both for their continued success.



Congratulations to all of the students below on their tremendous dedication and hard work. The Department wishes you the very best as you embark on the next steps in your careers – well done!


On behalf of the organization committee for the UofT Physiology Pre-CAN2016 Satellite Symposium, I am delighted to report that the symposium was successfully staged on May 28 & 29th in the Macleod Auditorium, Faculty of Medicine. The meeting attracted 85 registered delegates for CAN’s 2016 Annual Meeting from different institutions across Canada as well as other scientists and trainees from the  local neuroscience community.  Notably, some of the student delegates were from the IBRO program including countries such as USA, UK, Congo, Macedonia and Switzerland.  We are extremely honored that Professor Tim Bliss, co-recipient of the 2016 BRAIN Prize also attended.

We celebrated the 10th anniversary of CAN’s annual meeting, and recognized the outstanding leadership and courageous efforts of Professor Jonathan Dostrovsky who was the President of CAN at the time, by a retrospect account of challenges that he overcame to make this meeting possible.  Indeed, Professor Dostrovsky was further recognized during the official CAN 2016 opening ceremony on May 29 for creating a highly successful platform for the neuroscience community in Canada.  Aside from his superb scientific contributions, Professor Dostrovsky was also acknowledged for his long-standing commitment to U of T’s collaborative graduate program in neuroscience by serving as the Director for a number of years.

This symposium also celebrated the birth of the "MRC Group in Nerve Cells and Synapses" in 1991 (Director: Professor Harold Atwood; 7 members: Drs. Milton Charlton, Peter Carlen, Peter Pennefather, Martin Wojtowicz, David Hampson and the late John MacDonald) and "CIHR Synapse Group" in 2000 (Director: Professor John MacDonald; 11 members: Drs. Harold Atwood; Milton Charlton, Gabrielle Boulianne, William Trimble, Yu Tian Wang, Mike Salter, Zhenping Jia, John Roder, Lu-Yang Wang and the late Hubert von Tol). A majority of the original members were present during this symposium in their capacity as either speakers or session chairs, except for John Roder, Peter Pennefather and Martin Wojtowicz (with regrets). Their research accomplishments and mentorships of outstanding trainees were truly extraordinary, attested to by producing a remarkable legacy of high-impact work and several generations of scientists in Canada and beyond.  As always, Professors John MacDonald and Hubert van Tol were with us in spirit and deeply missed particularly on such occasions.

The Keynote Lecture was given by Graham Collingridge, Professor and Chair of Physiology, summarizing his BRAIN Prize winning research endeavors on long-term potentiation in the context of his association with Canadian colleagues, many of them from the Department. This was followed by 4 sessions of presentations of exciting science currently being pursued by past trainees and current faculty including Drs. Jason Snyder, Bryan Stewart, Jeff Dason, Lu-Yang Wang, Peter Carlen, William Hutchison, Bev Orser, Freda Miller, Zhengping Jia, Yu Tian Wang, Sheena Josselyn, Richard Robitaille, Mike Tymianski, Mike Jackson and Mike Salter. Their lectures provided important insights on a wide spectrum of topics ranging from fundamental mechanisms of synaptic transmission, plasticity and behavior to stem cells therapy and translational medicine to treat stroke, pain and other neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. These scientific adventures were often decorated by memorable experiences of speakers during their time in the Physiology Department.  Overall it was a wonder festival of top-notch science, positive collegiality and enduring friendships, reflecting on the glorious past while projecting to a bright future for neuroscience research in our Department!

We would like take this opportunity to thank Paula Smellie and Eva Eng for their support. Special gratitude goes to Jenny Katsoulakos for helping us with all the logistics, and to the fantastic team of volunteers - Ankur Bodalia, Celeste Leung, Drs. John Georgiou, Patrick Tidball, Amy Yang and Adam Fekete who kept the symposium running smoothly.


Dr. Lu-Yang Wang





~ Eligible for PSL1000H/PSL2000H Course Seminar Attendance ~


Speaker:        Dr. Stafford Lightman

Institution:    Professor of Medicine, University of Bristol, President-Elect, British Neuroscience Association

Title:  Shining a light on rhythms of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis

Date:     Thursday, June 16, 2016

Time:       4 p.m.

Location:  Medical Sciences Building, Room 2172, St. George Campus, University of Toronto

Host:      Dr. Graham Collingridge, Department of Physiology Neuroscience Platform, Collaborative Program in Neuroscience (CPIN)



We want to hear about the great things happening in Physiology.  Please share your accomplishments, awards….   Send news items to the Chair’s Office c/o e.katsoulakos@utoronto.ca