Course Information

Physiology and Pharmacology Undergraduate Program

Physiology & Pharmacology

3000E Physiology & Pharmacology Laboratory

COURSE INFORMATION: Almost all our knowledge of physiology and pharmacology is based on the results of laboratory experiments.  It was through carefully designed experiments that most of the information presented in lecture (Physiology 3120, 3140a and Pharmacology 3620) was obtained.  The same experimental approach is being used to solve the many remaining mysteries about how the body works and how diseases are treated with medications.  We believe that to thoroughly under­stand the science of physiology and pharmacology, one must understand the experimental basis. This course is targeted at learning the scientific method along with data analysis, which is applied in both disciplines of physiology and pharmacology. Therefore, the labora­tory exercises are a fundamental part of the study of physiology and/or pharmacology.

This new lab course combines many of the experiments that were conducted in both Physiology 3130z and Pharmacology 3580z, which are no longer offered. We feel Phys/Pharm 3000e brings together the best of these two older, highly successful labs.

OVERALL OBJECTIVES: These laboratory exercises will

  1. introduce basic laboratory skills and methods.
  2. illustrate the use of the scientific method, and the nature, complex and endless variability in scientific research.
  3. demonstrate the physiological/pharmacological processes studied in class as they apply to a living organism or cell.
  4. emphasize the limitations that exist in the methods used in scientific investigation and appreciate as science students, that one must continue to critically evaluate the material presented in lectures and textbooks.

Generally the laboratory experiments will not cook‑book in nature. Most experiments will involve groups of students who will entirely design or assist in the experimental design in order to study various aspects of a given topic. The students will develop a hypothesis and design the experiment around the hypothesis in order to test its validity.

COURSE LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, successful students will be able to:

  1. develop a hypothesis and design an experiment with appropriate controls to test the hypothesis
  2. collect, organize, analyze and interpret scientific data, using appropriate experimental and mathematical tools
  3. select the correct statistical test and apply it to a given data set
  4. communicate experimental findings, data and concepts effectively to a diverse audience utilizing a range of formats such as laboratory reports, scientific posters and oral presentations
  5. work and learn in both individual and collaborative ways, with others of diverse abilities
  6. demonstrate an ethical approach to physiological and pharmacological research

LABORATORIES: Almost all lab activities will take place in Dental Sciences 2005 and 2010. Other location may be used and will be announced on OWL. Labs will be run on Wednesday (Section 001) or Thursday (section 002) afternoons from 2:30 to 5:30 PM.

TUTORIALS: There will be Pre- and Post-lab tutorials throughout the year which will be run during the lab hours.

PREREQUISITES: Biochemistry 2280A; either Chemistry 2213A or 2273A; one of Physics 1028A/B, 1301A/B or 1501A/B and one of Physics 1029A/B, 1302A/B or 1502A/B; and 1.0 course from: Applied Mathematics 1201A/B, 1413, Calculus 1000A/B or 1500A/B, Calculus 1301A/B or 1501A/B, Mathematics 1600A/B. A minimum average of 75% in the previous year is required. Open only to students who are registered in Years 3 or 4.


ANTIREQUISITES:  The former Physiology 3130z or Pharmacology 3580z.

PRE-OR COREQUISITE(S): Either Physiology 3120 or Pharmacology 3620.

EXTRA INFORMATION: 3 laboratory hours, 1.0 course.

Unless you have either the requisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.

syllabus: 3000e

Dr. Oana Birceanu 

4100b Digestion, Related Metabolism and Metabolic Disease

COURSE INFORMATION: This course will explore, in depth, concepts of gastrointestinal digestion and absorption, and post-absorptive metabolism, including hepatic and pancreatic physiology.  Specific areas covered will include: gut-brain-liver axis and nutrient metabolism, pancreatic exocrine and endocrine physiology, and intestinal and hepatic glucose and lipid metabolism.  All areas will be discussed with particular attention to relevant pathologies and disease states, including obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Current and emerging therapeutic strategies for the treatment of these metabolic diseases will also be presented. The course will be presented as a series of lectures on selected topics by two faculty members, with two scheduled in class debates regarding current policy, treatment(s) and/or guidelines for the management of metabolic disease. Students will be expected to recall facts, recognize general concepts, understand and explain fundamental concepts, and synthesize information presented in lectures to solve problems. Students will be evaluated through written journal article reviews, a mid-term exam and a final exam

LECTURES: Monday 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. 

syllabus: 4100b

Dr. Rennian Wang


4440b Animal and Cell Modelling of Development and Disease

COURSE INFORMATION: This course examines the use of traditional and emerging models to study developmental and disease processes. From transgenic mice, to CRISPR-Cas9, to rapid screening of drugs for pharmaceutical testing, the understanding of how model systems can be utilized in the sciences to evaluate developmental and environmental disorders will be explored.

LECTURES: Thursday 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

syllabus: 4440b

Dr. Chris Pin 


4530b Biological Bases of Skeletal Health and Disease

COURSE INFORMATION: This course will provide an overview of the development and biology of skeletal tissues, introduce current techniques used to study skeletal physiology and examine the biological bases of common musculoskeletal diseases and their treatments.. 2 lecture hours, 0.5 course.

LECTURES: Wednesday 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

syllabus: 4530b

Dr. Cheryle Seguin
DSB 0035


4800a Selected Topics in Physiology and Pharmacology

2021 Topic: Endocrinology with a specific focus on the Pituitary gland

COURSE INFORMATION: Topic(s) will reflect an area of interest in Physiology and Pharmacology and may vary each year. Prior to registration, check with the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology for the selected topic. 2021 Topic: Endocrinology with a specific focus on the Pituitary gland.

LECTURES: Thursday 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

syllabus: 4800a

Dr. Frank Beier 


4980E Seminar and Research Project

COURSE INFORMATION: A major laboratory project in Physiology or Pharmacology, which emphasizes experimental design, instrumentation, collection and analysis of data and communication of experimental results by oral, poster and written presentations. Students will select the physiology or pharmacology project from a list provided by the department and be matched to a supervisor. Antirequisite(s): the former Pharmacology 4980E, the former Physiology 4980E. Extra Information: Minimum 15 laboratory hours per week plus 2 seminar hours in alternate weeks.

LECTURES: Students are required to spend 12-15 hours/week in the laboratory plus 2 seminar hours on alternate weeks.

syllabus: 4980E

Dr. Angela Beye

Dr. Anita Woods 




1020 Human Physiology

COURSE INFORMATION: A survey course outlining the principles of human/mammalian physiology; general properties of the living cell and the internal environment; neural, muscle, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, renal and endocrine systems; metabolism, reproduction and homeostasis. Course is restricted to nursing students. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 1.0 course.
LECTURES: Course is offered online only.

syllabus: 1020

Dr. Christine Bell


1021 Introduction to Human Physiology

COURSE INFORMATION: An introductory course, outlining the principles of human/mammalian physiology along with a general survey of various physiological systems (e.g. cardiovascular, renal, neural, motor, gastrointestinal, endocrine, respiratory, etc.). Limited to students enrolled in first year Kinesiology. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 1.0 course.

LECTURES: Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:30 a.m. - noon

syllabus: 1021

Dr. Angela Beye



2130 Human Physiology Online Course

COURSE INFORMATION: A survey course outlining the principles of human/mammalian physiology; general properties of the living cell and internal environment; neural, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastro-intestinal, renal and endocrine system; metabolism, reproduction and homeostasis. 1.0 course.

syllabus: 2130

Dr. Christine Bell


3120 Mammalian Physiology

COURSE INFORMATION: A survey course of the physiology of various systems (e.g. neural, endocrine, renal, cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory, etc.) of the mammal. 3 lecture hours, 1.0 course.

LECTURES: Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

syllabus: 3120

Dr. Anita Woods 



3140a Cellular Physiology

COURSE INFORMATION: A survey of principles of cellular physiology including membrane, ion channel, receptor, and transport protein function, and signal transduction mechanisms. 3 Lecture hours, 0.5 course.

syllabus: 3140a

Dr. John Di Guglielmo


4200b Current Topics in Respiratory Health and Disease

COURSE INFORMATION: This course examines the normal pulmonary environment, including lung development and adaptations to high altitude and exercise, and a variety of pathophysiological conditions and processes. For each condition or disease, physiological abnormalities and current therapies will be discussed, as will pathophysiological mechanisms with some emphasis on chronic and acute inflammation.

LECTURES: Tuesdays 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. 

syllabus: 4200b

Dr. Sean Gill

Dr. Rudd Veldhuizen


4510a Understanding pluripotency: The physiology of stem cell fate and function

Description: The fundamental goal of pluripotent stem cell biology is to understand how the self-renew and differentiation capabilities of these extraordinary cells are regulated to produce cells capable of differentiating into a wide range of functional cell types. This course will examine a variety of current topics within the field of pluripotent stem cell physiology. In particular, we will focus on the basic biology of embryo-derived stem cells and their potency. We will briefly cover pre- and post-implantation embryo development, focusing on cell fate determination and the cell lines derived from these developmental stages. We will discuss how these embryo-derived cell lines are isolated and tested, what factors allow for their expansion, how they can be genetically manipulated and what intrinsic and extrinsic factors regulate their self-renewal and cellular differentiation characteristics. We will also discuss pluripotent stem cells derived by somatic cell nuclear transfer and cellular reprogramming technologies. An understanding of this physiology will enable students a thorough understanding of stem cell function and cell fate determination to assess whether regenerative medicine is feasible with pluripotent cells along with gaining the ability to critically evaluate the ethical issues that surround this field.

Course Learning Outcomes:

  1. demonstrate a strong understanding of the scientific methodologies behind pluripotent stem cells by formulating hypotheses, designing experiments, analyzing and interpreting data and making reasoned conclusions and improvements in experimental design in light of published work
  2. interpret figures and proper figure descriptions along with identifying the strengths and weaknesses of information and the various research techniques used
  3. perform literature searches and be able to evaluate and critique current literature in pluripotent stem cell physiology and generate a clear and concise written layperson article
  4. explain and apply different stem cell models and technologies (e.g. knockout vs. knock-in, genome editing approaches etc.) with varying experimental procedures (Western vs. real time RT-qPCR etc.) to interpret the scientific literature encompassing the pluripotent stem cell field
  5. demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate, manage, reflect on, integrate and apply their pluripotent stem cell knowledge in solving problem based learning exercises and examination questions
  6. develop convincing arguments to effectively debate complex ideas and relevant scientific and / or ethical issues to be made aware of that scientific knowledge changes, has different interpretations and that ethical issues are not always simple choices between two differing views



Dr. Dean Betts (Course Coordinator)
Dr. Cheryle Seguin


Day and Time:  Thursdays 2:30 – 4:30

4520b  Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine

COURSE INFORMATION: This course explores fundamental concepts in regenerative medicine, including stem cell biology, and focuses on the physiology and pathophysiology of hematopoiesis and cancer development, blood vessel formation for tissue repair, and cellular transplantation for regenerative therapies.

syllabus: 4520b

LECTURES: Tuesdays 2:30 p.m. -  4:30 p.m.

Course Manager
Dr. David Hess
RRI 4245


4600a Diseases of Ion Channels

COURSE INFORMATION: A 4th year course on ion channel related diseases such as sensorineural hearing loss, immunodeficiency, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and cardiac arrhythmias.   We will cover physiology and pathophysiology of relevant ion channels.   

2 lecture hours, 0.5 course.

LECTURES: Wednesdays 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

syllabus: 4600a

Dr. Donglin Bai


4610b Cardiovascular Physiology

COURSE INFORMATION: A study of the regulation of the circulation including factors involved in the regulation of cardiac output, reflex control of the circulation and long-term control of arterial pressure.

LECTURES: Fridays 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

syllabus: 4610b

Dr. Rob Gros


4620a Reproductive and Endocrine Physiology

COURSE INFORMATION: This course covers major themes in reproductive physiology, with an emphasis on the endocrine aspects of reproduction. A major aspect of the lectures in the first half of the course focuses on the regulation and activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. In the second half, we focus on fertilization, early embryo development and placentation. Overall, this course has a strong clinical emphasis and we end by inviting a Clinician from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology to engage the class in a discussion that re-emphasizes the clinical aspects of the course.

LECTURES: Tuesdays 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

syllabus: 4620a

Dr. Andy Watson


4650a Neurophysiology of Homeostasis and Stress

COURSE INFORMATION: The hypothalamus and limbic system contribute to the neural integration of autonomic, endocrine and skeletomotor responses which contribute to homeostasis and adaptive behaviors. Topics include the regulation of body temperature, blood pressure, energy, water and electrolytes, circadian rhythms and the integration of reproductive function. 2 lecture hours, 0.5 course.

LECTURES: Wednesdays 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

syllabus: 4650a

Dr. Wataru Inoue 


4680b Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

COURSE INFORMATION: Mechanisms at the cellular and molecular level by which function of neurons and their communication to target cells is regulated. Topics may include mechanisms involved in cell fate determination in the nervous system, specification of neuronal phenotype, neurochemical transmission, receptor signal transduction mechanisms, and receptor-ligand biology. 2 lecture hours, 0.5 course.

LECTURES: Mondays 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

syllabus: 4680b

Dr. Wei-Yang Lu 


4700b Fetal Physiology

COURSE INFORMATION: The development and growth of the fetus are covered, from blastocyst implantation through to parturition. Specific areas of study include the establishment and role of the placenta for maternal-fetal development, including placental endocrine function along with nutrient, oxygen, and drug transport. The development of the fetal cardiovascular, respiratory, and metabolic system is also examined.  These areas are also discussed with respect to the concept of ‘fetal programming’ which suggests that in utero insults (i.e. hypoxia, malnutrition, obesity) can adversely affect fetal development and predispose to increased risk of metabolic disease in adulthood.  The molecular mechanisms of parturition are also highlighted. 


By the end of this course, successful students will be able to:

  • - identify the critical role of the placenta for the proper fetal development.
  • - integrate how an adverse in utero environment leads to short-term pregnancy complications  and long-term metabolic                 deficits in the offspring.
  • - delineate the maternal and fetal signals involved in the onset of parturition.
  • - interpret and analyze primary research in fetal physiology. 

LECTURES:  Thursdays 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

syllabus: 4700b

Dr. Timothy Regnault 



4730b Cell Signaling in Tissue Injury and Repair

COURSE INFORMATION: Examines the basic principles and surveys molecular mechanisms of regulation of cell growth, adhesion, migration, and differentiation and their functional integration to support survival and development. Dysregulation of these processes in disease will also be examined. The course is composed of both lectures and student presentations of scientific literature.

 2 lecture hours, 0.5 course.

LECTURES: Wednesday 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

syllabus: 4730b

Dr. Sean Cregan



2060b Introductory Pharmacology & Therapeutics

COURSE INFORMATION: A course for students in the Nursing and other Health Sciences programs as well as students in BMSc and BSc programs, to provide a basic understanding of the fundamentals of drug action and the mechanisms of action and therapeutic use of the important classes of drugs. Online, 0.5 course.

syllabus: 2060

LECTURES: Lectures online only.


 Samantha Medwid


3620y Human Pharmacology & Therapeutic Principles

COURSE INFORMATION: This will be a full year systems-based pharmacology course that will examine drugs used to treat diseases that affect various organs of the body (e.g. cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, etc.) and some fundamental principles. There will be emphasis on how the drugs target the organ, the mechanisms of the drug action, and
adverse effects of the drugs on the system. The topics in Pharmacology 3620 will be aligned closely with the topics in Physiology 3120 (Human Physiology – a course strongly recommended as a co-requisite). As a
result, you will learn how a particular organ system works in physiology and then, in Pharm 3620, you will learn about the diseases that affect that system and how the drugs work to target and treat the diseases.

syllabus: 3620y

LECTURES: Tuesday and Thursday 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Course Manager
Dr. Nica Borradaile


4320a Cardiovascular Pharmacology

COURSE DISCRIPTION: The course is designed to teach students the principles of cardiovascular pharmacology and therapeutics.  We will focus on the underlying mechanistic bases of cardiovascular diseases including ischemic heart disease and heart failure, especially at the cellular and molecular levels, and examine how these relate to therapeutic interventions. Throughout the course, mechanisms, either of disease processes or drug actions are stressed. In addition, recent and late-breaking developments in the understanding and treatment of cardiovascular disease represent important components of the course.

LECTURES: Tuesdays 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

syllabus: 4320a


  • To define the principles of drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular disease
  • To explain cellular and molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular disease in relation to pharmacological treatments
  • To assess and critique studies on the effects and mechanisms of cardiovascular drugs


Dr. Qingping Feng



4350a Clinical Pharmacology

COURSE INFORMATION: Clinical Pharmacology is a scientific and medical disciple dedicated to the bench-to-bedside study of drug action through an in-depth knowledge of human pharmacology and therapeutics. This course in clinical pharmacology focuses on fundamental concepts highlighted with examples from clinical cases, therapeutic applications and relevance to drug discovery and development. 2 lecture hours, 0.5 course.

syllabus: 4350a

LECTURES: Wednesday 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Rommel Tirona


4360b Mechanisms of Cancer Chemotherapy

Course description: Pharm 4360B is a half course to introduce students to the basic concepts in cancer biology and therapeutic properties of anticancer agents. The first module focuses on recent advances in our understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of cancer as well as how signaling is altered in cancer cells, that have led to a new era in cancer therapy. The lectures in the second module will focus on principles of chemotherapy and the concept of targeted therapy, using examples from drugs used clinically, as well as new drugs that are in clinical trials. These will include drugs that target G protein-coupled receptors, receptor tyrosine or serine/threonine kinases. The class will be in lecture format and meet for 2 hrs each week.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this course, students should be able to:
- explain the different types of cell based and animal based models to study cancer cell migration, invasion and metastasis
- describe the mechanisms by which standard cancer chemotherapeutics and targeted therapies against GPCRs and growth factor      receptors work
- develop treatment plans to treat metastasis
- design experiments to test pre-clinical concepts in cancer chemotherapy

Course coordinator: Dr. Lina Dagnino
Time: Wed 1.30-3.30pm 

4370b The Pharmacology of Drugs of Abuse

COURSE INFORMATION: This course will cover the pharmacological and pathophysiological effects of non-medical drug use including mechanisms of action, tolerance and addiction long-term effects, side effects and toxicity, treatment of addictions and overdoses.  Pharmacokinetics will also be examined including routes of administration, activation, deactivation, elimination, and drug-drug ineractions. 2 lecture hours, 0.5 course.

LECTURES: Tuesday 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

syllabus: 4370b

Dr. Peter Cidiac


4380b Neuropharmacology

COURSE INFORMATION: This course will provide an overview in the treatment and rationale for treatment of a number of neurological and psychiatric illnesses. Topics will include epilepsy, depression schizophrenia, cognitive disorders Parkinson’s disease and stroke. The format of the course is approximately 50% lecture and 50 % student presentations of relevant scientific literature.

LECTURES: Tuesdays 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

syllabus: 4380b

Course Manager
Dr. Vania Prado


4620a Molecular & Structural Basis Drug Act

COURSE INFORMATION:This course will present mechanisms of major receptor, ion channel, exchanger and other protein actions that drive cell signalling processes in health and disease. Pharmacological interventions and drug design will be discussed in relation to dysfunctional cell signalling pathways and available protein structure information. Extra Information: 2 lecture hours.

LECTURES: Tuesdays 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

syllabus: 4620a

Course Manager
Dr. Rithwik Ramachandran

4660a Human Toxicology

COURSE INFORMATION: A course dealing with the pharmacological and toxicological principles underlying the adverse effects of xenobiotics in humans. In addition to reviewing mechanisms of toxicity in humans, the course will include overviews of the principles of management of human poisoning, the principles of chronic toxicity and of drug safety in humans.

LECTURES: Mondays 2:30 p.m. - 4:30p.m.

syllabus: 4660a

Course Manager
Dr. Ute Schwarz