Department Overview

About Us

The Department of Physiology and Pharmacology is the largest research-based medical science department in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University. We are comitted to represent both disciplines in teaching and in research. Currently, we are comprised of 74 associated faculty members, 70 graduate students, 25 postdoctoral fellows, and 35 departmental and research staff. The range of expertise and facilities associated with the Department is truly impressive. A distinctive strength of the Department, and of the disciplines Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, is our comprehensive focus on biological processes from the cellular-molecular level to the integrative-systemic level, and on the effects of drugs and environmental agents on these processes.

Our areas of research excellence include the physiology and pharmacology of the cardiovascular, neural, reproductive, endocrine and musculoskeletal systems. Several faculty work in the area of developmental biology related to these organ systems. Faculty members in this Department are leaders in nationally-funded collaborative research programs studying skeletal / bone development and biology, heart and vascular biology, cell communication and gap junctions, neural control of vision and movement, and osteoarthritis and pain. Funding from several large infrastructure grants from both national and provincial governments has facilitated the development of state-of-the-art research laboratories and core facilities.

The Department of Physiology and Pharmacology has a strong commitment to graduate and undergraduate education. The Department places considerable emphasis on graduate student training and offers MSc and PhD degrees. Over 30% of the graduate students are funded by competitive scholarships at the national and provincial levels, and four graduates of the PhD program in Physiology have won Polanyi Prizes, an annual award of excellence in Physiology and Medicine sponsored by the Ontario Government. In addition, the "Let's Talk Science" educational outreach and teacher training program was created, and is now directed, by one of our Physiology PhD graduates.

In addition to teaching medical and dental students in the Schulich School, the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology teaches courses to students in the professional programs of the Faculty of Health Sciences. Within the Bachelor of Medical Sciences (BMSc) program, we offer several Honors Specialization, Major and Minor degree modules in Physiology and Pharmacology. These degree programs are extremely popular, currently involving more than half of the fourth year BMSc students. This is related in part to the excellent teachers in the Department, with several faculty members being the recipients of Pleva, Robinson and Faculty of Science Teaching Awards from UWO, Schulich Awards for Excellence in Education, University Students Council Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and the prestigious national 3M Teaching Scholarships.