Schulich school of Medicine and Dentistry logo Physiology and Pharmacology Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Honors Project

Physiology and Pharmacology Undergraduate Program

Course Information

Physiology 4980 and Pharmacology 4980 are major laboratory and tutorial courses in experimental physiology and pharmacology. Both courses involve laboratory research, instrumentation, and communication in science. Following completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Work independently or collaboratively on a research project in a specific area of physiology or pharmacology where the project includes literature review, experimental design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of results and the writing of a scientific report in a journal manuscript format,
  2. Perform the experimental procedures and operate the scientific equipment relevant to the research project,
  3. Critically analyze published papers in the scientific literature and present the critique as an oral report, and
  4. Organize and present the results of the research project in a 10 minute oral report and in a scientific poster.

Prerequisities

Pharmacology 4980E Prerequisite(s): Pharmacology 3550a/b and 3560a/b or the former Pharmacology 357; Physiology 3120 or the former 310; Physiology 3140a. Students are to spend 12-15 laboratory hours per week plus 2 seminar hours alternate weeks.  Enrollment limited to students in Honours Specialization in Pharmacology Program.

Physiology 4980E Prerequisite(s): Physiology 3120 and 3130y (or the former Physiology 310); Physiology 3140a.  Students are to spend 12-15 laboratory hours per week plus 2 seminar hours alternate weeks. Enrollment limited to students in Honours Specialization in Physiology Program.

Physiology and Pharmacology 4980E Prerequisite(s): Physiology 3120 and 3130y (or the former Physiology 310); Physiology 3140a.  Pharmacology 3550a/b and 3560a/b or the former Pharmacology 357.  Students are to spend 12-15 laboratory hours per week plus 2 seminar hours alternate weeks.  Enrollment limited to students in Honours Specialization in Physiology and Pharmacology program.

Physiology and Psychology 4980E (BSc) Prerequisite(s): Physiology 3120 and 3130y (or the former Physiology 310); Physiology 3140a (see academic calendar for psychology prerequisites). Students are to spend 12-15 laboratory hours per week plus 2 seminar hours alternate weeks.  Enrollment limited to students in Honours Specialization in Physiology and Psychology program.

Manager

Dr. Anita Woods

Evaluation

Students will be evaluated by their supervisor on their performance in the laboratory. This will include not only technical skills, but also their familiarity with the scientific literature and their contribution to the experimental design, analysis, and interpretation of the data. This evaluation will be done at two times during the academic year. The first evaluation will be done at the end of the first term and is designed to inform the student on his/her progress to date. The second evaluation will be done at the end of the second term.

The evaluation of the scientific paper written by the student will be done by the supervisor and one other faculty member chosen by the course manager / course committee. Students will be evaluated on their other written assignments and oral presentations throughout the year by the course committee members and other faculty involved in the scheduled meetings. Feedback will be given to students as soon as possible after presentations. Student participation in the discussion sessions is expected. All faculty members will participate in evaluation of student performance at a poster session at the end of the second term, where students will present the results of their projects. Attendance at all activities is required.

Details of the evaluation are outlined below:

Research project proposal 5% 
Laboratory performance (1st term) 10% 
Laboratory performance (2nd term) 10% 
Research paper 25% 
Abstract and Poster 15% 

1st term paper critique 10% 
2nd term paper critique 10% 
Research proposal 10% 
Attendance and participation 5%

Research Project

A list of potential research projects/supervisors will be sent to students accepted into the Honours Specializations by mid-summer.  Students will be asked to select professors for interviews at the end of August.  Interviews with each professor will be organized for the first week of the academic year (Speed Interview Format). After consultation with faculty members, students will select their top 4 choices for research supervisors. The 4980 course manager and course committee will then assign students to work in a research laboratory for the academic year based on both the preferences of the faculty and the students.

Students will be given appropriate instruction in techniques used in the laboratory and will be supervised in carrying out a research project, involving literature review, experimental design, collection and analysis of data, and interpretation of data. Research projects may take the form of relatively independent work, or may involve collaboration in ongoing projects in that laboratory. It is expected that students will spend at least one full day in the laboratory each week, but generally an additional day or half-day will be required. Timetables should be set-up appropriately with Faculty Supervisors.

Tutorial and Seminar

This portion of the course will emphasize critical analysis and communication in science. Students will meet throughout the year at assigned times for instruction and practice in these aspects of scientific research. The following activities will be supervised by the course manager / course committee members and faculty members in the department:

  1. Instruction on how to give a seminar and a 25-minute scientific presentation
  2. Instruction on how to prepare and present a scientific poster
  3. Instruction on how to analyze a scientific paper critically
  4. Instruction on how to prepare an abstract of a research project
  5. Student presentations of the literature review, rationale, and pro posed experiments for their research projects (first term)
  6. Student presentations of assigned papers, emphasizing presentation technique and critical analysis (one in each term)
  7. Presentation of final results of the research project at a poster session (second term)
  8. Submission of the final results of the research project in the form of a thesis (second term)