PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology

General Information

 Graduate training for a Ph.D. involves some formal course work, in depth self-directed learning and extensive experience in the research laboratory. Students also participate in seminars discussing the current literature and presenting their own research. The Department considers teaching to be an important part of graduate education. Students in the Anatomy & Cell Biology program may be offered opportunities to supplement their stipends by serving as teaching assistants in such courses as gross anatomy, histology, neuroanatomy and cell biology.

A Ph.D. typically takes four years following the M.Sc. and five years of full-time study for Direct-Entry Ph.D. students. Upon completion of the M.Sc., most students enter a program of further study at the Ph.D. level in this department or elsewhere, or enter a professional program such as medicine, dentistry, an allied health science or teaching. The traditional career for recipients of the Ph.D. degree following appropriate post-doctoral training is university teaching and research. However, the Ph.D. can lead to a wide variety of career options such as research and development of new products in the biotechnology or pharmaceutical industries. Previous graduates of this department hold prominent positions in academia, medicine and other health science professions, and in industry.Our PhD students play a valuable role in our department by actively contributing to our research community. Graduate Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, affiliated hospitals and research institutes, valuable teaching opportunities and world-class researchers.


Aims of the Graduate Program in Anatomy & Cell Biology

The goal of our Research Track Graduate Program is to provide comprehensive training in Cell Biology/Neurobiology Research in preparation for a future in research and academia, or non-academic career paths. Graduate work in Anatomy & Cell Biology provides students with important skills that are essential for the research environment and are also transferable to the work force. They include: technical expertise, teamwork, leadership, written and verbal communication, critical thinking, problem solving, presentation skills, time/project management, organization, teaching and independence.

Areas of Interest

  1. CELL BIOLOGY - Cancer, Metastasis, Hypoxia, Angiogenesis, Stem Cells, Tumor Plasticity, Cell Adhesion, Tissue Engineering, Biomaterial Integration, Dental Implants, Skin Repair, Gap Junctions, Cell-to-Cell Communication, Molecular Imaging, Developmental Biology
  2. NEUROBIOLOGY - Alzheimer's, Stroke, Cardiovascular, Parkinson's, Schizophrenia, Neuro-inflammation, fMRI, Lipid Biology, Mass-Spec Imaging, Neurotransmitters, Genetic Models, Learning, Electrophysiology, Cognitivie Neuroscience, Functional Neuroimaging, Consciousness, Memory, Perception

Supervisory Committees

Each graduate student has a Supervisory Committee consisting of the research supervisor, at least two other faculty members and a designated member of the Graduate Affairs Committee (ex officio). This committee meets with the student on a regular basis according to the following milestones:
  • 1st meeting should be held by the end of the second month in the 1st term of the program
  • 2nd meeting should be held by the 3rd term (or May/June whichever comes first).
  • 3rd meeting should be held by the end of the 5th term.
  • Additional meetings should be scheduled approximately every six months or more often as required.

The Research Proposal Form is required for the first meeting.

The function of the first Supervisory Committee meeting is to decide on the required course work and to define the research to be undertaken.

The Progress Report Form is required for the 2nd and subsequent meetings.

At each meeting, the committee advises the Student on such matters as the progress of research and the preparation of the M.Sc. or Ph.D. thesis. A complete report from the Supervisory Committee is submitted to the Graduate Affairs Committee after each supervisory committee meeting.

The Transfer Report Form is required for the MSc to PhD Transition meeting.

Transfer from the MSc to the PhD degree must take place before the end of the 5th term of MSc enrolment. For most students this will mean prior to the end of April during the second year of the MSc. Students will typically seek permission to transfer from the MSc to the PhD program during the regularly scheduled supervisory meeting (meeting 4) although a special meeting may be arranged if necessary. The composition of the Supervisory Committee for the transfer meeting will be the same as the previous supervisory meetings, except one additional member of the GAC will be present. In preparation for this meeting, the student should prepare the typical progress report (refer to the Student Handbook) summarizing the result obtained thus far, but also include the overall hypothesis, rationale and individual aims for the PhD project.

To successfully transfer from the MSc to the PhD program, the Student must demonstrate to the Committee that all the the MSc requirements outlined in the Student Handbook have been fulfilled with the exception of writing and defending the thesis. The Student must also explain how the project will be expanded beyond the limitations of an MSc and demonstrate a suitable understanding of the proposed project. Finally, there must be enthusiasm and commitment for the transfer on the part of the Student, Supervisor and Committee.

The Final Report Form is required for the final meeting.

When the thesis is ready for submission, the Supervisory Committee recommends examiners to the Graduate Affairs Committee.

For information on the thesis writing and publication processes, please refer to the Thesis Guide.