September 25, 2015


  • Message from the Chair
  • John K. and Mary E. Davidson Lecture
  • Physiology Seminar Series
  • News from GASP
  • CSI Style Field Course – PSL 378
  • Former Trainee In The News



Dr. Graham Collingridge

I would like to bring your attention to the forthcoming endowed Dr. John K. and Mary E. Davidson Lecture on Wednesday November 18th, 2015.  The lecturer Robert Sherwin MD is Director of the Diabetes Research Centre at Yale’s University School of Medicine.  I am sure you will find the lecture interesting and stimulating.  See below for further details.

Dr. John “Jack” Davidson was born in 1922.  He developed diabetes as a young man, and died from complications of the disease in December 2008 at the age of 86.  In the early 1960s the Davidsons moved to Toronto so that Jack could study with Charles H. Best at the University of Toronto where he graduated with a PhD in Physiology in 1965.  He went on to earn an academic appointment at the University of Toronto in both Medicine and Physiology, but after 8 years, returned to an appointment at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where he established the Diabetes Unit at Grady Hospital.

The Davidson Lecture is one of three Physiology endowed lectureships.  The other two being, the Charles H. Best Lecture and the Archibald Byron Macallum Lecture.  We are indebted to the Davidson Family who generously provide the endowment for the Davidson and also the Best Lectures.

I am delighted to also announce that Professor Tim Bliss FRS, National Institute for Medical Research, UK, will present Physiology’s Macallum Lecture on Wednesday May 11th, 2016, 3pm in the MacLeod Auditorium. Physiology’s Annual Research Day, Frontiers in Physiology (FIP) will be held the following day, Thursday May 12th.

I look forward to seeing everyone at these prestigious departmental events.

Best regards,

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



Endowed by Dr. John K. & Mrs. Mary E. Davidson


Robert Sherwin, MD
Chief, Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Director, Diabetes Research Center
Yale University School of Medicine


Wednesday November 18, 2015

4:00 pm

Macleod Auditorium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto



~ Eligible for PSL1000H/PSL2000H Course Seminar Attendance ~

Speaker:  Dr. Roger J. Thompson

Institution:  Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, The Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary

Title: “A Non-Ionotropic NMDA Receptor Signalling Complex with Relevance to Stroke”

Date: Thursday, October 1, 2015

Time: 4 p.m.

Location: Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto, Room 2172

Host: Neuroscience Platform



~ Eligible for PSL1000H/PSL2000H Course Seminar Attendance ~

Speaker: Gina R. Poe, PhD

Institution: Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Associate Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan

Title: “Sleep to remodel the brain: role for the central noradrenergic system and its absence”

Date: Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Time: 3 p.m.

Location: Ramsay Wright Building, 25 Harbord Street, Room 432, University of Toronto St. George Campus

Hosts:  Department of Cell and Systems Biology, Sleep and Biological Rhythms Toronto, Neuroscience Platform of the Department of Physiology



We are delighted to introduce you to our GASP Council for the 2015-16 academic year:

GSU rep - Hanna Kim (Wheeler/Belsham labs)
CUPE rep - Ankur Bodalia (LY Wang lab)
Outreach Coordinator - Kirusanthy Kaneshwaran (Orser Lab)
SRV Coordinator - Melaine Markovic (Brubaker lab)
Academic Coordinator - Lucy Yeung (Giacca/Rocheleau labs)
Social Coordinators - Christine Snidal (Stanley lab) & Erika Tse (Belsham lab)
Sports Coordinator - Elizabeth Eng (Matthews lab)
Off Campus Rep - Fargol Zadeh (Gramolini lab)
Webmaster - Sarah Wheeler (Brubaker lab)

We look forward to planning for the upcoming year!

Frances Wong (Cox lab)
GASP President


CSI Style Field Course – PSL 378

Each year, a keen group of undergraduate students get together to solve a mystery!

What killed the victim and how did the pathology affect its physiology and why??   Stuff that CSI is made of!!   Even more unique is that these victims are marine mammals.

In mid-May 2015, sixteen University of Toronto students from diverse backgrounds including Physiology Specialists as well as those from Human Biology and other departments within the Faculty of Arts and Science participated in this unique field course opportunity offered by the Department of Physiology (PSL 378).   This opportunity is co-ordinated with the Oceanographic Environmental Research Society, who provides logistical support.  Students participate in the actual autopsy, keep their own notes and then submit a formal autopsy report at the end.   Seminar style discussion group learning also aids in guiding the students through the physiological problem solving exercises. Students learn proper autopsy techniques, hone their observation skills, learn comparative anatomy and physiology, and how to interpret abnormalities back to physiology.  Being part of the CSI team and working through the findings and ultimately re-creating the sequence of events that might have led to the victim's demise, is both challenging and exciting. The experience really brought home the value of other physiology courses taken by the students and how basic knowledge contributes to our understanding when things go wrong.   This is truly learning at its best - both experiential and applied.

This opportunity will be available again in 2016!

Dr Carin Wittnich
Professor of Physiology
Course Director, PSL 378



Research finds way to restore pancreatic cells, providing hope for treatment

U of A researcher Patrick MacDonald (PhD 2003, Wheeler lab) says he and his team have found a "dimmer switch" for Type 2 diabetes, findings that could shed light on developing new ways to treat the disease.  Keep reading…



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