Physiology

Physiology: Introduction

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Faculty Affiliation

Med​icine

Degree Programs

Medical Physiology

MHSc

Physiology

MSc and PhD

Combined Degree Programs

STG, MD / PhD

Collaborative Specializations

The following collaborative specializations are available to students in participating degree programs as listed below:

Overview

In the Department of Physiology, research ranges from the gene level to the organism level in areas including endocrinology and diabetes; reproduction endocrinology; fetal physiology, pregnancy, and parturition; neuroendocrinology; cardiorespiratory regulation; gastrointestinal motility; sensory physiology; motor control; brain development and aging; ionic channels and synaptic transmission; excitability, ultrastructure, and plasticity of the brain.

Contact and Address

MHSc Program

Web: www.physiology.utoronto.ca
Email: mhsc.physiology@utoronto.ca
Telephone: (416) 978-6843
Fax: (416) 978-4940

Department of Physiology
University of Toronto
Room 3209, Medical Sciences Building
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8
Canada

MSc and PhD Programs

Web: www.physiology.utoronto.ca
Email: graduate.physiology@utoronto.ca
Telephone: (416) 978-2601
Fax: (416) 978-4940

Department of Physiology
University of Toronto
Room 3217, Medical Sciences Building
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8
Canada

Physiology: Graduate Faculty

Full Members

Adeli, Khosrow - DipChem, MSc, PhD
Anderson, Harvey - BSc, MSc, PhD
Bagli, Darius - BS, MD
Barr, Cathy - BSc, PhD
Bear, Christine - BSc, MSc, PhD
Belik, Jaques - MD
Belsham, Denise - PhD
Bolz, Steffen-Sebastian - MD, DrMed
Brown, Theodore - BSc, PhD
Brubaker, Patricia - BSc, PhD
Caniggia, Isabella - MD, PhD
Carlen, Peter - MD
Collingridge, Graham - BSc, PhD
Connelly, Kim - MBBS, PhD
Cox, Brian - BSc, MSc, PhD
dos Santos, Claudia - MSc, MD
Duffin, James - BASc, MASc, PhD
Eubanks, James - BSc, AA, PhD
Feng, Zhong-Ping - PhD (Graduate Coordinator, Student Admissions and Affairs)
Ferguson, Niall - MSc, MD
Fisher, Joseph - MD
Frankland, Paul - MA, PhD
Gaisano, Herbert - BS, MD
Giacca, Adria - MD
Gollob, Michael - MD
Gramolini, Anthony - BSc, MSc, PhD (Graduate Coordinator, Academic Affairs)
Hare, Gregory - MD, PhD
Harrison, Robert - PhD, DSc
Heximer, Scott - PhD (Chair and Graduate Chair)
Horner, Richard - BSc, PhD
Husain, Mansoor - MB, MD
Hutchison, William Duncan - BSc, MSc, PhD
Jia, Zhengping - PhD
Jones, Nicola - MD
Josselyn, Sheena - MA, PhD
Jurisicova, Andrea - PhD
Kingdom, John - DipCH, MB, MD
Klip, Amira - ScD
Lam, Tony - BS, DPhil
Lambe, Evelyn - AB, MSc, PhD
Levitan, Robert - MSc, MDCM
Lewis, Gary - BCh, MBChB
Li, Ren-Ke - MHSc, MSc, MD, PhD
Librach, Clifford - MD
Liu, Fang - PhD
Liu, Mingyao - MSc, MD
Lye, Stephen - BSc, PhD
Matthews, Stephen - BSc, DPhil
McGahan, Anita - BA, MA, MBA, PhD
McGowan, Patrick - BSc, MA, PhD
McNamara, Patrick - MB
Miller, Freda - BSc, PhD
Monnier, Philippe - MBA, PhD
Mount, Howard - BSc, PhD (Graduate Program Liaison)
Ng, Dominic - MD
Nostro, Cristina - MSc, PhD
Orser, Beverley - MD
Palmert, Mark - MD
Pausova, Zdenka - MD
Peever, John - MSc, PhD
Post, Martin - PhD
Prescott, Steven - BSc, MSc, MD, PhD
Rocheleau, Jonathan - BSc, PhD
Rogers, Ian - MSc, PhD
Rosenblum, Norman - MD
Salter, Michael - MD, PhD
Scholey, James - MD
Seed, Mike - MBBS
Seltzer, Ze'ev - DMD, BMedSc
Sessle, Barry - BS, MDS, BDS, PhD
Skinner, Frances - PhD
Subbarao, Padmaj - MD
Sugita, Shuzo - PhD
Sun, Hong-Shuo - MSc, DrMed, DPhil
Sweezey, Neil - BSc, MD, MD
Thomas, Scott - BSc, MSc, PhD
Trimble, William - BSc, PhD
Tweed, Douglas - MD, PhD, PhD
Tymianski, Michael - BA, MD, PhD
Wang, Lu-Yang - PhD (Vice Chair, Academic - Graduate)
Wheeler, Michael - BSc, PhD
Wilson, Gregory - MSc, MD
Wittnich, Carin - MSc, DVM
Zhang, Haibo - MSc, PhD
Zhen, Mei - PhD
Zhuo, Min - MS, PhD

Members Emeriti

Adamson, Susan - BSc, MSc, MD, PhD
Atwood, Harold - BA, MA, PhD, DSc, FRSC
Backx, Peter - DrMedVet, PhD, PhD
Bocking, Alan - MD
Casper, Robert - MD
Challis, John - BSc, PhD, DSc, FRSC
Charlton, Milton - BSc, MSc, PhD
Dostrovsky, Jonathan - BSc, MSc, PhD
Kwan, Hon - BASc, MSc, PhD
Norwich, Kenneth - MSc, PhD
Pennefather, Peter - BSc, PhD
Schlichter, Lyanne - BSc, MSc, PhD
Sole, Michael - BSc, MD
Stanley, Elise - PhD
Tanswell, Alan - BS, MBBS, MBBS
Wojtowicz, J. Martin - BSc, PhD

Associate Members

Billia, Filio - BSc, MSc, MD, PhD
Cherney, David - MD, PhD
Friedberg, Mark - MD
Hay, Etay - BSc, MSc, PhD
Ivakine, Evgueni - MSc, MSc, PhD
Kadis, Darren - BSc, MA, PhD
Laffey, John - BSc, MA, DrMed, MB
Mazer, Cyril David - MD
Miliotis, Helen - BSc, PhD
Ni, Heyu - MSc, MD, PhD
O'Brien, Catherine - BSc, MSc, DrMed, PhD
Pierro, Agostino - MD
Ramsey, Amy - PhD
Shynlova, Oksana - MSc, PhD
Steinberg, Benjamin - MD, PhD
Wheeler, Anne - BSc, PhD

Physiology: Medical Physiology MHSc

Master of Health Science

Program Description

The MHSc in Medical Physiology is a professional course-based master's program, designed to provide graduates with the analytical and professional skills to interpret and apply physiology to health-related contexts.

The program blends advanced topic-specific physiology courses with:

  • a mentored current literature review, where graduates acquire the critical analysis skills to identify new knowledge relevant to specific problems in human health;

  • a big data and health course, where students gain the skills to analyze and interpret data sets relevant to human health;

  • a commercialization and collaboration course, where students will acquire skills to understand how to commercialize new discoveries and how to work in a team science environment; and

  • a practicum opportunity, where students will experience how physiological knowledge is applied to real-life scenarios in their area of interest.

Each graduate will develop the analytical and communication skills to design and implement new health interventions. Students will develop an individual program based on their area of interest.

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Physiology's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Admission is based on demonstrated exceptional scholarly achievement based on the following criteria:

    • a one-page statement summarizing how this program will contribute to the advancement of the applicant's professional goals

    • a curriculum vitae (CV)

    • two letters of reference.

  • Applicants must have an appropriate bachelor's degree from a recognized university with an average of at least A– in the last two years of study. Students must have completed at least third year-level physiology or equivalent courses and demonstrate an interest in physiology.

  • Selected applicants will be interviewed prior to final acceptance into the program.

  • Applicants who were educated outside Canada, whose primary language is not English, and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction was not English, must demonstrate proficiency in the English language through the successful completion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with the following minimum scores:

    • Internet-based TOEFL: 100/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

    • Other English proficiency tests are acceptable. Please consult the Physiology website for departmental standards.

Program Requirements

All students are required to:

  • Take 6.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) in physiology courses:

    • 1.0 FCE: PSL 4000Y0 Seminars and Graduate Professional Development (Credit/No Credit)

    • 1.0 FCE: PSL 4010Y Mentored Literature Review Project in Physiology

    • 1.0 FCE: PSL 4020Y Medical Physiology Practicum (Credit/No Credit)

    • 0.5 FCE: PSL 4030H Clinical Physiology

    • 0.5 FCE: PSL 4040H Big Data and Health

    • 0.5 FCE: PSL 4050H Collaboration and Commercialization in Physiology

    • 1.5 elective FCE in one of four areas General Physiology; Endocrine and Reproductive Sciences; Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Sciences (Integrative Sciences); and Brain and Behaviour (Neurosciences).

Students will be matched with a mentor and practicum placement in consultation with the relevant course director and MHSc program director.

Program Length

3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S)

Time Limit

3 years full-time

0 Course that may continue over a program. Credit is given when the course is completed.

Physiology: Physiology MSc

Master of Science

Program Description

The MSc program provides advanced training in physiology, with an emphasis on gaining experience in conducting research using modern experimental methods under the direct supervision of a member of the department’s graduate faculty. Students will complete coursework, attend and give presentations of scientific work, submit a written thesis based on original research, and defend the thesis at an oral examination. It is not required that the thesis work be published or represent a finished research project, but it must show the student’s mastery of specific techniques, their application to a specific problem, and a scholarly understanding of the research subject. Through this program, students will broaden and deepen their knowledge of physiology and its current scientific literature. They will learn and practise scientific skills of critical thinking, devising research questions, and communicating scientific ideas orally and in writing.

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Physiology's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Admission is based on academic record, an essay summarizing background strengths and scientific aims, a curriculum vitae (CV), and at least two confidential letters of reference.

  • Applicants must have an appropriate bachelor's degree from a recognized university with an average of at least A– in the last two years of study and with courses such as biology, biochemistry, calculus, organic and physical chemistry, general physics, and physiology.

  • Physical-science-stream students from undergraduate programs in physics, mathematics, engineering, and other sciences are encouraged to apply to the MSc program.

  • Applicants who were educated outside Canada, whose primary language is not English, and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction was not English, must demonstrate proficiency in the English language through the successful completion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with the following minimum scores:

    • Internet-based TOEFL: 100/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

    • Other English proficiency tests are acceptable. Please consult the Physiology website for departmental standards.

Program Requirements

All students are required to:

  • Take 1.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs) in physiology courses, with the following guidelines:

    • ​​​0.5 FCE in PSL 1000H0 MSc Seminars in Physiology (Credit/No Credit), mandatory for all graduate students in Physiology

    • 0.5 FCE in physiology graduate-only courses

    • 0.5 FCE with a choice of (i) a physiology graduate-only course or physiology joint graduate-undergraduate course (preferable option) or (ii) a course taken in another department (rare choice).

  • Select courses in consultation with the supervisor and/or advisory committee. See the Physiology website for details.

  • Complete and defend a research thesis acceptable to the graduate department.

  • Do one of the following within 12 to 18 months in the MSc program:

    • ​​​Write and defend an MSc thesis and graduate.

    • Write and defend a thesis and go on to the PhD program.

    • Transfer from the MSc into the PhD program. Transfer is encouraged for students who have made substantial progress in their research and have demonstrated the desire and potential to meet the requirements of a rigorous research training program. Such students will have fulfilled all course requirements for the MSc with at least an A– average and have demonstrated potential for publication of their work. There must be a clearly identified program for future research that continues, or is consistent with, work already underway. Too large a project for the MSc is not a reason for transfer to the PhD.

Program Length

6 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S/F/W/S**)

Time Limit

3 years full-time

** Students may begin in Fall, Winter, or Summer.

0 Course that may continue over a program. Credit is given when the course is completed.

Physiology: Physiology PhD

Doctor of Philosophy

The PhD degree is an advanced research degree. Upon its completion, graduates are expected to function as independent research scientists. Students will complete coursework, attend and give multiple presentations of scientific work, and demonstrate the ability to carry out research of publishable quality as evidenced by a written thesis based on original research and an oral defence of the work. Through this program, students will broaden and deepen their knowledge of physiology and its current scientific literature. They will develop and practise scientific skills of critical thinking, devising research questions, understanding experimental design, techniques, and analysis, and communicating scientific ideas orally and in writing.

Applicants may enter the PhD program via one of three routes: 1) following completion of an appropriate MSc degree; 2) transfer from the University of Toronto MSc program in Physiology; or 3) direct entry after completing a bachelor’s degree.

 

PhD Program (Following Completion of an MSc)

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Physiology's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Admission is based on academic record, a statement summarizing background strengths and scientific aims, a curriculum vitae (CV), and at least two confidential letters of reference.

  • Students may be admitted into the PhD program after completion of an appropriate MSc degree program with an average of at least A– from a recognized university. Students with excellent research experience are encouraged to apply.

  • Applicants should have taken courses such as biology, biochemistry, calculus, organic and physical chemistry, general physics, and physiology.

  • Applicants who were educated outside Canada, whose primary language is not English, and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction was not English, must demonstrate proficiency in the English language through the successful completion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with the following minimum scores:

    • ​​​Internet-based TOEFL: 100/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

    • Other English proficiency tests are acceptable. Please consult the Physiology website for departmental standards.

Program Requirements

  • Students must take 2.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs) in physiology courses in which an average standing of at least A– is maintained, with the following guidelines:

    • ​​0.5 FCE in PSL 2000H0 PhD Seminars in Physiology (Credit/No Credit), mandatory for all graduate students in Physiology

    • 0.5 FCE in physiology graduate-only courses

    • 0.5 FCE in PSL 1066H0 Research Grant Proposal (Credit/No Credit), mandatory for all PhD students in physiology

    • 1.0 FCE with a choice of (i) a physiology graduate-only course or physiology joint graduate-undergraduate course (preferable option) or (ii) a course taken in another department (rare choice).

  • Up to 1.0 FCE can be claimed from the student's MSc program completed in another department or university, subject to approval by the Graduate Studies Committee.

  • Courses are selected in consultation with the supervisor and/or advisory committee. See the Physiology website for details.

  • The recommended completion time for the doctoral program is approximately four years, by which time the candidate will write and defend a research thesis, first before a departmental committee and subsequently before a committee approved by the School of Graduate Studies.

Program Length

4 years**

Time Limit

6 years

** Students may begin in Fall, Winter, or Summer.

0 Course that may continue over a program. Credit is given when the course is completed.

 

PhD Program (Transfer)

Transfer Requirements

  • Students may be admitted via transfer from the University of Toronto MSc program in Physiology. Transfer from the MSc into the PhD program is encouraged for students who have made substantial progress in their research and have demonstrated the desire and potential to meet the requirements of a rigorous research training program. Such students will have fulfilled all course requirements for the MSc with at least an A– average and have demonstrated potential for publication of their work. Students with excellent research experience are encouraged to apply. There must be a clearly identified program for future research that continues, or is consistent with, work already underway. Too large a project for the MSc is not a reason for transfer to the PhD.

Program Requirements

  • Students must take 2.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs) in physiology courses in which an average standing of at least A- is maintained, with the following guidelines:

    • ​​0.5 FCE in PSL 2000H0 PhD Seminars in Physiology (Credit/No Credit), mandatory for all graduate students in Physiology

    • 0.5 FCE in PSL 1066H0 Research Grant Proposal (Credit/No Credit), mandatory for all PhD students in Physiology

    • 0.5 FCE in physiology graduate-only courses

    • 1.0 FCE with a choice of (i) a physiology graduate-only course or physiology joint graduate-undergraduate course (preferable option) or (ii) a course taken in another department (rare choice).

    • Students who transfer from the MSc program in Physiology may claim up to 1.0 FCE from the MSc program in Physiology.

  • Courses are selected in consultation with the supervisor and/or advisory committee. See the Physiology website for details on course requirements.

  • The recommended completion time for the doctoral program is approximately five years from the start of the MSc, by which time the candidate will write and defend a research thesis, first before a departmental committee and subsequently before a committee approved by the School of Graduate Studies.

Program Length

5 years

Time Limit

7 years

** Students may transfer in Fall, Winter, or Summer.

0 Course that may continue over a program. Credit is given when the course is completed.

 

PhD Program (Direct-Entry)

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Physiology's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Admission is based on academic record, a statement summarizing background strengths and scientific aims, a curriculum vitae (CV), and at least two confidential letters of reference.

  • For exceptional students with an A– standing in appropriate courses taken during the two preceding undergraduate years, direct entry into the doctoral program is possible. However, this will require specific approval by the Graduate Studies Committee. Students with excellent research experience are encouraged to apply.

  • Applicants should have taken courses such as biology, biochemistry, calculus, organic and physical chemistry, general physics, and physiology.

  • Applicants who were educated outside Canada, whose primary language is not English, and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction was not English, must demonstrate proficiency in the English language through the successful completion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with the following minimum scores:

    • ​​​Internet-based TOEFL: 100/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

    • Other English proficiency tests are acceptable. Please consult the Physiology website for departmental standards.

Program Requirements

  • Students must take 2.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs) in physiology courses in which an average standing of at least A– is maintained, with the following guidelines:

    • ​​0.5 FCE in PSL 2000H0 PhD Seminars in Physiology (Credit/No Credit), mandatory for all graduate students in Physiology

    • 0.5 FCE in physiology graduate-only courses

    • 0.5 FCE in PSL 1066H0 Research Grant Proposal (Credit/No Credit), mandatory for all PhD students in physiology

    • 1.0 FCE with a choice of (i) a physiology graduate-only course or physiology joint graduate-undergraduate course (preferable option) or (ii) a course taken in another department (rare choice).

  • Courses are selected in consultation with the supervisor and/or advisory committee. See the Physiology website for details.

  • The recommended completion time for the doctoral program is five years, by which time the candidate will write and defend a research thesis, first before a departmental committee and subsequently before a committee approved by the School of Graduate Studies.

Program Length

5 years**

Time Limit

7 years

** Students may begin in Fall, Winter, or Summer.

0 Course that may continue over a program. Credit is given when the course is completed.

Physiology: Physiology MSc, PhD Courses

Not all courses are offered each year. Check the departmental website for course availability and course requirements.

JCV 1060H
Developmental Cardiovascular Physiology
JCV 3060H
Advanced Topics in Cardiovascular Sciences — Molecular Biology and Heart Signal Transduction
JCV 3061H
Advanced Topics in Cardiovascular Sciences — Hormones
JCV 3062H
Advanced Research in Cardiovascular Sciences — Heart Function
JCV 3063H
Advanced Research in Cardiovascular Sciences — Vascular
JCV 3064H
Advanced Research in Cardiovascular Sciences — Microvascular Medicine
JCV 3065H
Advanced Topics in Cardiovascular Sciences — Systems Biology
JPB 1071H Advanced Topics: Computational Neuroscience
JYG 1555H
Advanced Topics: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
PSL 1000H0
MSc Seminars in Physiology (Credit/No Credit)
PSL 1014H
Advanced Topics: the Gastrointestinal Epithelium
PSL 1020H
Current Topics in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
PSL 1024H
Advanced Topics: Neuroendocrinology
PSL 1026H
Advanced Topics: Experimental Cell Physiology
PSL 1034H
Advanced Topics: Metabolic Disorders
PSL 1036H
Advanced Topics: Respiration
PSL 1040H
Advanced Topics: Systems Biology in Physiology
PSL 1047H
Advanced Topics: Somatosensory and Pain Neuroscience
PSL 1048H
Translational Physiology: From Molecules to Model Systems to the Clinic
PSL 1050H
Advanced Topics: The Hippocampus from Cell to Behaviour
PSL 1053H
Advanced Topics: Critical Assessment of Ion Channel Function
PSL 1066H0
Research Grant Proposal (Credit/No Credit)
PSL 1067H
Advanced Topics: Advances and Techniques in Developmental Physiology
PSL 1068H
Advanced Topics: Molecular Basis of Behaviour
PSL 1069H
Advanced Topics: Respiratory Physiology
PSL 1070H
Advanced Topics: Hormone Action
PSL 1072H
Advanced Topics in the Neural Basis for Sensation
PSL 1075H
Biology in Time
PSL 1080H+
Advanced Topics: Investigative Developmental Physiology
PSL 1086H
Comparative Systems Approach to Diving Physiology
PSL 2000H0
PhD Seminars in Physiology (Credit/No Credit)
PSL 4000Y0
Seminars and Graduate Professional Development (Credit/No Credit)
PSL 4010Y
Mentored Literature Review Project in Physiology
PSL 4020Y
Medical Physiology Practicum (Credit/No Credit)
PSL 4030H
Clinical Physiology
PSL 4040H
Big Data and Health
PSL 4050H
Collaboration and Commercialization in Physiology

+ Extended course. For academic reasons, coursework is extended into session following academic session in which course is offered.

0 Course that may continue over a program. The course is graded when completed.

Joint Graduate/Undergraduate

JNR 1444Y
Fundamentals of Neuroscience: Cellular and Molecular
JNS 1000Y
Fundamentals of Neuroscience: Systems and Behaviour
PSL 1374H
Advanced Physiology Laboratory
PSL 1421H
Pregnancy and Birth: From Implantation to Newborn Life
PSL 1425H
Integrative Metabolism and Its Endocrine Regulation
PSL 1432H
Theoretical Physiology
PSL 1441H
Systems Level Neuroplasticity
PSL 1445H
Mechanistic Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
PSL 1446H
Molecular and Cellular Aspects of Neural Disorders
PSL 1452H
Fundamentals of Ion Channel Function
PSL 1462H
Molecular Aspects of Cardiovascular Function