Research Areas

Physiology and Pharmacology Research

Clinical and Basic Pharmacology

Basic research includes molecular, cellular and in vivo approaches to the areas of pharmacokinetics (absorption, disposition, metabolism, and elimination of drugs) and pharmacodynamics (receptor signaling mechanisms, dose-response relationships). Clinical and pre-clinical areas of interest include adverse drug effects, drug-drug interactions, pharmacogenetics/pharmacogenomics, and therapeutics targeting diseases ranging from cardiovascular, skeletomuscular, pulmonary and neurological systems to cancer, diabetes, maternal-fetal health and kidney disease.

Bone and Joint

Research areas include the physiology, pharmacology and development of bone, cartilage, connective, and muscle tissues, and the pathogenesis and treatment of diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis, as well as muscle- and spine-related disorders. Experimental approaches range from cellular and in vivo models, such as pre-clinical animal models of musculoskeletal pathologies, to clinical discovery research and clinical trials in humans. Members of this group collaborate extensively as members of Western’s Bone and Joint Institute (

Cell, Stem Cell and Cancer

Includes multidisciplinary research into cellular physiology that governs tissue maintenance and repair during chronic diseases, cancer and aging. Functional, collaborative and translational research focused on harnessing the capacity of stem cells for tissue regeneration during chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases is the focus of the stem cell and regenerative medicine group. Pre-clinical research understanding pathological changes in cells that lead to tumour formation and metastasis, and the targeting of these processes to develop novel therapies for cancer represents an intense area of investigation.

Heart, Blood Vessels and Lungs

Includes research on topics such as the cellular and molecular basis of hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiac arrhythmia, and heart failure, as well as cardiac repair after myocardial infarction. Additional topics of interest include vessel contractility, smooth muscle/endothelial interactions, and roles of ion channels and G-protein-coupled receptor signaling in regulating cardiovascular function. Research also explores the regulation of inflammation and tissue injury/repair following direct (acid aspiration, mechanical ventilation, pneumonia, etc.) and indirect (i.e. sepsis) lung injury with a specific focus on endothelial cell barrier dysfunction, as well as alterations of the pulmonary surfactant system.

Reproduction, Development and Metabolism

Includes research with an emphasis on the physiological and pharmacological mechanisms regulating gonadal function, reproduction, embryo development, placentation, maternal-fetal health, organogenesis and metabolism. This includes, but is not limited to, studies at the genetic, epigenetic, molecular, cellular, organismal and environmental levels that may predispose individuals to infertility, preterm birth, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, placental disease, diabetes and cancer.

Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Cognition

Includes research in a broad area aiming to understand the most complex organ in the body in health and disease. This involves researches on the genetic and molecular basis for how individual brain cells work, communicate, operate neural circuits and drive behaviour. Systems and cognitive neuroscience seek to understand the neural underpinnings of our sensory, motor, and behavioural abilities, and what happens when such abilities are compromised by injuries or neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Faculty are involved in discovering, developing, and evaluating pedagogical methods to enhance all aspects of student learning and engagement in postsecondary education. Research in this area can be specific to certain disciplines and programs or broadly applicable to a variety of learning environments. It may include teaching method evaluation, ethics and academic integrity, inclusive education, technology in the classroom, self-regulated learning, team-based learning, and student motivation. Ultimately, research in this area will help instructors become better teachers and students become better learners.