News in Physiology and Pharmacology

February 2014

Distinguished University Professorship (DUP)



Marilyn Robinson Award for Excellence in Teaching 2014 - Brad Urquhart



Although Brad Urquhart has only been a professor in the department since 2009, he has shown himself to be a superlative well-rounded teacher at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Almost as soon as he was appointed, Urquhart saw the need for a major course revision in the large online second-year Pharmacology course. This extremely popular course now incorporates many innovative teaching activities, including animations and videos, as well as CSI scenarios, in which students are walked through virtual crime scenes to study the pharmacological aspects of the crime.

His in-class courses offer similar hands-on experiences. Students are unanimous in their praise of his teaching style, especially in the way he engages students. In his third-year course, for example, Urquhart incorporates individual genetic tests for each of his students so they can study genetic variability.

Described as an in-class innovator, he is approachable and supportive of the success of his students. (read more)

Accelerated Master of Science in Physiology and Pharmacology


The Department launches an exciting new graduate program. In the Accelerated MSc entry option, students acquire research experience and experimental results through the “Advanced Research in Physiology and Pharmacology” course (Phys 4999E or Pharm 4999E). These data and competencies can be used towards the MSc program requirements. The Accelerated MSc option also allows registration in the MSc program as early as May 1st, following completion of the undergraduate degree. As a result, students also have the opportunity for early completion, relative to the traditional MSc program offered by the Department. Similar to the conventional MSc program, students in the Accelerated MSc option can transfer to the PhD program. (read more). 

Fetal exposure to nicotine increases long-term risk of obesity


.Research led by Daniel Hardy, PhD, has shown that nicotine during pregnancy, whether from smoking or nicotine replacement therapy, causes a wide range of long-term adverse reactions for the offspring, including an increased risk of obesity by influencing the liver to produce more triglyceride. … (Read More)

CIHR Operating Grant results announced

Congratulations to our faulty on their CIHR funding.

Arthur Brown, "Investigating the role of SOX9 in recovery from spinal cord injury". 5 years, $131,134. Jeff Dixon, "Ion transport and signaling in skeletal cells: P2 nucleotide receptor function in bone". 3 years, $128,887. Tom Drysdale, "The cellular basis of early cardiac morphogenesis". 5 years, $117,390. Wei-Yang Lu, "Regulation of pulmonary inflammation by alveolar GABAergic signaling". 5 years, $146,400. Adrian Owen (C. Weijer, Philosophy - Co-investigator), "The ethics of neuroimaging after serious brain injury". 4 years, $85,930. Brad Urquhart, "Drug disposition in chronic kidney disease". 5 years, $102,786.

Dr. Qingping Feng identifies potential new treatments for sepsis


.Sepsis is the leading cause of in-hospital death and there is no specific treatment for it.  Now, research led by Dr. Qingping Feng of Western University suggests a protein called recombinant human annexin A5 may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of this disease. The paper is published in advance, online in Critical Care Medicine.

Sepsis is caused by an overwhelming immune response to an existing infection.  It’s estimated there are 18 million cases annually worldwide.  The mortality rate is 30 to 40 per cent for severe sepsis and 40 to 80 per cent for septic shock.   Dr. Feng, a professor in the Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, and Medicine at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and a scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute is particularly interested in how sepsis causes cardiac dysfunction. (read more)

January 2014

Exploring how kidney failure impacts the body’s systems


.For patients currently on kidney dialysis, several medications are prescribed to control such things as diabetes, hypertension and infection. Schulich Medicine & Dentistry's Brad Urquhart is looking at how the body reacts to these drugs and how the doses can be optimized by physicians (Read More)

Award winning faculty


Dr. Sarah McLean is the recipient of a Western Teaching Fellowship. Sarah is the only recipient of this award in Schulich, and this 3-year award will allow her to devoted a portion of her time to the development of new teaching technologies.

Sarah has also been awarded a 2013 Instructional Innovation and Development Fund grant for her project "Development of a Laboratory Simulation Module for Training in the basic Medical Sciences". Co-applicants on this project are Drs. Michelle Belton and Candace Gibson.

Dr. Sean Gill is the recipient of the 2014 American Society of Matrix Biology Junior Investigator Award. He will receive this award when he presents his research at the 2014 ASMB conference.

Dr. Anita Woods has been awarded the 2013 Instructional Innovation and Development Fund grant for her project "Creating Augmented Reality Models for Teaching".

Dr. Donglin Bai is the recipient of a Faculty Development Mini Fellowship to defray costs of trial related to his collaboration on a research project entitled "Homology Structure Modelling of Gap Junction Channels".

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