Biomedical Sciences

Faculty | MSc | PhD | Shared | Courses

Chair - John F. Leatherland (2631, Ontario Veterinary College, Ext. 4900) (e-mail:
Graduate co-ordinator - B. Anne Croy (1632, OVC, Ext. 4915) (e-mail:
Graduate secretary - Wendy Arthur (2631 OVC, Ext. 4900)

William D. Black DVM, MSc Guelph, PhD Georgia - Professor
Herman J. Boermans DVM, MSc, PhD Guelph - Associate Professor
Harold W. Chapman BVSc Sydney, MS Kansas State, PhD Pennsylvania - Associate Professor
Peter D. Conlon BSc (Agr), MSc McGill, DVM, PhD Guelph - Associate Professor
Brenda L. Coomber BSc, MSc Guelph, PhD Toronto - Associate Professor
B. Anne Croy DVM Guelph, PhD Toronto - Professor
Kenneth R.S. Fisher BSc, MSc, PhD Toronto - Associate Professor
Patricia A. Gentry BSc, PhD Glasgow - Professor
Karen L. Goodrowe BSc Alabama, MSc Illinois, PhD Maryland - Adjunct Professor
W. Larry Grovum BSA Saskatchewan, PhD New England - Professor
Ann C. Hahnel BA, BSc, PhD Washington - Assistant Professor
William H. Harris DVM, MSc Guelph, PhD Calgary - Professor
Ian B. Johnstone DVM, MSc, PhD Guelph - Associate Professor
W. Allan King BSc, MSc Guelph, PhD Uppsala - Professor
Gordon Kirby DVM Guelph, MSc Surrey, PhD Guelph - Assistant Professor
Jonathan LaMarre DVM, MSc, PhD Guelph - Assistant Professor
John F. Leatherland BSc Sheffield, PhD Leeds, DSc Sheffield - Professor
Stanley P. Leibo AB Brown, MS Vermont, MA, PhD Princeton - Professor
Gary D. Partlow BSc Guelph, MSc Western Ontario, PhD Ottawa - Associate Professor
Alastair J.S. Summerlee BSc, BVSc, PhD Bristol, MRCVS - Professor
Jeffrey J. Thomason BA Cambridge, MSc, PhD Toronto - Associate Professor
Shigeto Yamashiro DVM Kagoshima, MVSc Hokkaido, MSc Guelph, PhD Hokkaido - Associate Professor

Associated Graduate Faculty
Pari K. Basrur BSc, MSc Mysore, PhD Toronto - University Professor Emeritus
Keith J. Betteridge BVSc Bristol, MVSc Toronto, PhD Reading, FRCVS - Professor
Margaret H. Hardy Fallding BSc, MSc Queensland, PhD Cambridge - University Professor Emeritus
Michael Lindinger BSc Victoria, MSc, PhD McMaster - Adjunct Professor
James I. Raeside BSc Glasgow, MSc, PhD Missouri - University Professor Emeritus

Special Graduate Faculty
Janice D. Greenwood BSc, MSc, PhD Guelph - Research Associate

The Department specializes in scientific disciplines which are basic to human and veterinary medicine. Within this context, the research activities of the faculty aim to further our understanding of structure and function in vertebrates. The MSc and PhD programs provide emphasis in one of the department's three major divisions: morphological sciences, physiological sciences and pharmacology-toxicology. The department also participates in the doctor of veterinary science (DVSc) program, co-ordinated by an interdepartmental committee chaired by the assistant dean (graduate studies and research) of the Ontario Veterinary College.

   Students may take an MSc degree in morphology, physiology or pharmacology-toxicology. The thesis research project may involve:

Admission Requirements
   Applicants should have an honours baccalaureate degree in the biological sciences or a doctor of veterinary medicine degree (or the equivalent) with a minimum 'B+' standing in the final two years of study. Letters of reference from two of the applicant's professors must be provided with the application. In addition, a short statement of the applicant's research interests and career goals, is required to assist in the selection of faculty advisers. Students may be admitted into the fall, winter or spring semester. Students who do not meet this 'B+' standard may be admitted into a provisional category if there is additional evidence that the applicant is capable of successfully completing the graduate program (e.g., outstanding letters of recommendation, or evidence of prior relevant work or research experience). Transfer to regular category will be recommended when the student obtains a minimum 'B+' in two courses that have been approved by the department's graduate program committee in consultation with the student's advisory committee.

Degree Requirements
   Students must obtain at least a 'B-' average in each of the prescribed four courses with a minimum of 1.5 credits and prepare and defend an acceptable thesis. Prescribed and additional courses are selected by the student in consultation with the student's advisory committee. The courses selected will depend on the student's prior experience and the nature of the chosen research project. All students are required to present two departmental seminars during the duration of their program. The thesis research proposal, developed by the student in consultation with the adviser, must receive the approval of the advisory committee no later than the end of the second semester of the program. The program is completed by the successful defence of a written thesis and the oral presentation of the research data.

   Students may take a PhD program in aspects of morphology, physiology and pharmacology-toxicology. Wherever appropriate, students are encouraged to integrate the methodologies of more than one of these fields in their research project. The PhD program is research oriented and provides instructional opportunities and experiences that are intended to develop the student's ability to formulate hypotheses and design and execute experiments or to conduct observational studies.

Admission Requirements
   Students entering a PhD program must show evidence of the potential for independent, productive and original research. Admission to a PhD program generally requires the completion of a research-based MSc program, a minimum 'B+' average in the prescribed courses taken during the master's degree program, and strong recommendations from referees based on a sound knowledge of the student's strengths and weaknesses. In addition, a short statement of the applicant's research interests and career goals is required.
   In those cases where the student is continuing her or his MSc research program into the PhD program, the student must clearly explain how the PhD research program represents a significant advance over that of the MSc.
   In exceptional cases, where a candidate has demonstrated excellence in academic work and extraordinary ability to plan and initiate original research, transfer to the PhD program without completion of the MSc program may be recommended. This transfer must take place before the end of the fourth semester in accordance with university regulations. In all cases, students who do not hold an approved research-based MSc degree must register as MSc students regardless of their ultimate goals. Students may be admitted into the fall, winter or spring semester.

Degree Requirements
   The PhD program offers opportunities for students to become investigators in veterinary and human-health-related biological sciences. They will be expected to demonstrate the originality and skill needed to contribute to the knowledge base in a manner that transcends the mere acquisition of data. The element of critical thinking is expected and it is fostered by a thorough appraisal of the literature of the student's research field, presentation of three departmental seminars during the program, and interaction with graduate faculty and visiting senior scientists.
   The preparation and defence of an acceptable thesis based on research data and hypotheses generated during the duration of the study is the main criterion used to assess the satisfactory completion of the PhD program. However, the student's advisory committee may require the student to successfully complete specified graduate courses before she or he undertakes the qualifying examination. The qualifying examination, which includes written and oral components, must be completed before the end of the fifth semester of the PhD program, or before the end of the seventh semester for those students who transfer directly from the MSc program. The major and minor areas of emphasis for evaluating the student's comprehension are identified by the advisory committee at least one semester prior to the qualifying examination. Successful completion of the qualifying examination is a prerequisite for continuation in the PhD program. The advisory committee is required to evaluate the student's research productivity periodically and to report on the student's progress to the department graduate program committee each semester in which the student is registered. The PhD program culminates in the preparation, presentation and defence of the thesis, which contains a substantial component of original research.

Toxicology MSc/PhD Collaborative Program
   The Department of Biomedical Sciences participates in the MSc/PhD program in toxicology. Professors Black, Boermans, Kirby and Yamashiro are members of the Toxicology Interdepartmental Group. The research and teaching expertise of these faculty include aspects of toxicology; they may serve as advisers for MSc and PhD students. Please consult the Toxicology listing for a detailed description of the MSc/PhD collaborative program.

DVSc Program
   The Department of Biomedical Sciences participates in the DVSc program offering the specialization in clinical pharmacology. This program provides a balance between advanced training in the discipline, in-service training and a thesis-research project.

   Students are required to obtain the permission of the instructor or the graduate co-ordinator before registering in any course.
9806060 Functional Neuroanatomy (0.5)
A course emphasizing the structure and function of the mammalian nervous system and organs of special senses.
9806070 Pregnancy, Birth and Perinatal Adaptations (0.5)
A multidisciplinary seminar course to promote understanding of physiological processes occurring during mammalian pregnancy, from implantation to the perinatal period. Regulation of homeostasis and growth as well as both maternal and fetal factors that contribute to suboptimal gestational outcomes is covered.
9806110 Advanced Microscopy for Biomedical Sciences (0.5)
Routine and specialized procedures for light microscopy, and transmission and scanning electron microscopy are examined through lectures, discussions and practical exercises. Interpretation of micrographs is included.
9806130 Vertebrate Developmental Biology (0.5)
The principles of vertebrate development are examined through lectures, discussions and practical exercises. Topics include aspects of gametogenesis, fertilization, implantation, embryonic and fetal development and experimental manipulation of embryos. Emphasis is on mammalian development and topics may vary depending on student needs and interests.
9806160 Cellular Biology (0.5)
An interdisciplinary course in which cellular and subcellular structure are studied in relation to function. Emphasis is on cytoplasmic and nuclear events and functions of specific organelles. Material is presented in an integrated manner through lectures, discussions and presentations.
9806190 Tissue Culture Techniques in Biomedical Sciences (0.5)
An introduction to in vitro techniques examining aspects and principles of the culture environment, isolation methods, propagation, characterization and storage of cultured cells, gametes and embryos. Practical exercises and student assignments complement material presented in lecture and seminar format.
9806440 Biomedical Toxicology (0.5)
The course examines chemical compounds injurious to animals and man, toxicity testing, teratogens, carcinogens, factors influencing toxicity, and toxic drug interactions. The mechanism of action, metabolism, and principles of antidotal treatment are also studied.
9806480 Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics (0.5)
This course describes drug absorption, distribution, biotransformation and elimination in animals and human beings, and emphasizes factors which modify drug behaviour. It integrates molecular mechanisms with physiological processes and highlights the importance of receptors and second messengers in cellular responses to pharmacologic agents.
9806570 Biochemical Regulation of Physiological Processes (0.5)
This course focuses on the regulation of vertebrate physiological processes, such as electrolyte and water balance, temperature regulation, growth and energy metabolism, by hormones and other biological regulators that act through cellular receptors and intracellular biochemical-control pathways.
9806600 Special Topics in Biomedical Sciences (0.25-0.5)
This course is designed to allow students to explore, in depth, aspects of biomedical research not otherwise covered in existing graduate courses. In particular, topics such as cryopreservation, inflammation, reproductive immunology and neoplastic processes lend themselves to a multidisciplinary approach.
9806610 Vascular Biology (0.5)
An interdisciplinary course in which the interrelationships between vascular proteins, cellular elements and the maintenance of vascular integrity are examined. Structural-functional relationships in vascular biology are explored through seminar presentations, group discussions and small group participation in problem based examples of vascular dysfunction.
9806700 Special Topics in Morphological Sciences (0.25-0.5)
This course allows students to explore further aspects of morphological science not otherwise covered in existing graduate courses. An appropriate combination of practical exercises, seminars, selected readings and/or literature reviews outside the thesis subject will be developed according to the student's requirements.
9806710 Special Topics in Physiological Sciences (0.25-0.5)
This course involves an appropriate combination of an experimental procedure (or project), seminars, selected reading or a literature review outside the thesis subject, developed according to the student's requirements.
9806720 Special Topics in Pharmacology-Toxicology (0.25-0.5)
This course comprises a combination of an experimental procedure (or project), seminars, selected reading or a literature review outside the thesis subject, developed according to the student's requirements. Topics could include clinical pharmacology/toxicology, pharmacoepidemiology/economics, gerontological or perinatal pharmacology and toxicokinetics.

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