Division of Medical Sciences

Swayne in a lab

Growing new neurons to heal injured brains

Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne's neuroscience research reveals that injuries to the brain trigger the creation of new cells, which migrate to the site of the injury. Find out more in this knowlEDGE publication.

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Dr. Christie working with a varsity athlete using the Neurotracker program

Concussion Research

Dr. Christie is shown working with a young varsity athlete using the Neurotracker program. Dr. Christie is researching whether using visual-spatial stimuli may provide a more accurate way to assess athletes following a concussion and provide a quantitative measure of their return to play status.

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Dr. Craig Brown

Medical research to help communities

The Division of Medical Sciences is involved in leading-edge neuroscience research that will assist communities in addressing their health needs.

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Jessica Nathan

Graduate studies

We are involved in interdisciplinary research and teaching related to medical education. Our main focus is on graduate studies (MSc and PhD).

Dr. Patrick Nahirney

Award winning faculty

Learn about our neuroscience faculty members—their publications, research, grants—and find contact information for an individual.

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Stephanie Willerth using a microscope

Cells of hope

Stem cells hold tremendous promise for treating disease. But first we need to understand how they work. Find out more about our research.

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Medical Sciences

The Division of Medical Sciences was established to promote scholarship and innovation in medical education at the University of Victoria and to support the university's ongoing commitment to an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to health research.

Our academic and research structure underpins the Island Medical Program, part of the UBC MD Undergraduate Program.

Partnering with other UVic departments and research centres, we're contributing to breakthroughs in medical sciences that will impact the prevention and treatment of cancer, neurological disorders and diseases, genetic disorders and other medical conditions.

Study neuroscience at UVic

Learn about the university's first interdisciplinary graduate program in neuroscience.

Download our latest e-newsletter or check out our latest news items below:

DMSC students showcase research at Faculty of Science Honors Fest

PhD candidate Julie Irwin to complete residency in children's hospital

In September, Julie Irwin will be working as a clinical neuropsychology resident at The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa prior to completing her PhD.

Heart & Stroke Big Bike

Graduate students from the Neuroscience Graduate Program took to the streets of Victoria Monday morning June 22 to raise money for the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

Post-doctoral graduate Sonata Yau begins career in Hong Kong

Dr. Swayne receives new funding for autism spectrum disorder and childhood stroke research

Swayne’s lab receives over $750,000 in new funding

UVic Students presenting at the Canadian Association for Neuroscience Conference

Neuroscience graduate students are heading to the Canadian Association for Neuroscience May 24-27, 2015 to present their first author posters. This conference promotes communication among neuroscientists throughout Canada and represents the interests of Canadian neuroscientists at national and international levels.

Canadian Brain Bee 2015 Winner

On April 18th, high school students from the Greater Victoria area and Southern Vancouver Island had the opportunity to compete in a demonstration of their neuroscience acumen during the 4th Annual CIHR Brain Bee.

Heads up on concussion

A University of Victoria study aims to get a heads-up on concussions in sports.

UVic Media release: Cancer Drug Shows Promise for Treating Stroke

"A big challenge in treating stroke is understanding how other health conditions affect recovery,” says Craig Brown, a neuroscientist in UVic’s Division of Medical Sciences “Many diseases increase the chances of having a stroke, and they also limit recovery.

The Vancouver Island Concussion Project

The Vancouver Island Concussion Project is an exciting program of research being conducted by Dr. Brian Christie and his colleagues at the University of Victoria.


Each year, UVic bestows three Co-op Student of the Year awards to recognize students' outstanding achievements in all aspects of performance, including academic achievement, workplace performance, and extracurricular, community and co-op involvement.

Neurons and Omega-3

Summer Student Research Program helps students link interests in basic research and clinical care.

Comic Book and Real Life Heroes Make for an Exciting Learning Platform

Reseacher's work of fiction sneaks in lessons of science and determination.

Vanier scholar Christine Fontaine sets her sights on a career in academia

Christine Fontaine, PhD graduate student in the Neuroscience graduate program, has been awarded the NSERC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship for 2013-14 for her research in behavioural neuroscience.

Message from Division Head

On July 1st, 2014 I joined the University of Victoria as the new Head, Division of Medical Sciences at the University of Victoria.

Experimental Biology 2014

Brianne Lindsay (Nahirney Lab) won the Best Undergraduate Student Poster Presentation Award given by the American Association of Anatomists at the 2014 Experimental Biology Annual Meeting held in San Diego, CA on April 29, 2014.

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research 2014 Scholar Award

The UVic Division of Medical Sciences is pleased to announce that Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne was selected as a recipient of a prestigious 2014 Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) Scholar Award, jointly funded in partnership with the BC Schizophrenia Society Foundation.

UVic Research in the News

Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne attended the Advances in Stroke Recovery meeting in Ottawa earlier this month, organized by the Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery. Dr. Swayne was interviewed by radio 1310 News about her research involving the drug Probenecid which is commonly used to treat gout and how it may boost brain recovery after stroke.
  • 2011 NSERC RTI Grant (17K) for stereology equipment
  • 2010 Opportunities Initiative Award (Principal Investigator) Project title: Using cardiovascular exercise to elevate levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor and enhance cognition in children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Read more about Dr. Christie.

  • 3-year Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation award to Leigh Anne Swayne (PI) (total $105,000) Pannexin 1: role in neurodevelopmental disorders?
  • 5-year CIHR grant to Leigh Anne Swayne (PI) (total $658,800) Understanding a novel molecular mechanism controlling structural development of neurons
  • Heart & Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery National Expansion ($98,000, 2013-2015) Preclinical testing of probencid for stroke recovery, PI: Swayne
  • CFI - LOF/BCKDF:($30,000) Live and fixed cell neuro-imaging facility, PI: Swayne - funded confocal microscope (install April 2013)
  • Victoria Heritage Foundation: Fellowships for graduate students in the area of biomedical and neuroscience. Amount awarded:$6K (January 2012-June 2012)
  • NSERC Early Career Supplement (2012-2013, $10,000) Pannexin signalling in neural progenitor cells, PI: Swayne
  • NSERC Engage Grant ($25,000, 2013) in partnership with StressMarq - Generation of novel Pannexin antibodies, PI: Swayne
  • 2011 NSERC Discovery Grant (2011-2016, $180K) Project Title: Pannexin signalling in neural progenitor cells,PI: Swayne

Read more about Dr. Swayne.

Read more about Dr. Brown.

  • NSERC Discovery Grant - $125K for a 5 year study of the effects of prenatal stress on synapse ultrastructur. This project focuses on brain development and function from a structural perspective by utilizing electron microscopic imaging to pinpoint alterations in synapses and neurons.
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and BC Knowledge and Development (BCKDF) - $375K Leaders Opportunity Fund used for the purchase of a new transmission for electron microscope.
  • Victoria Foundation - $6K to support graduate student working on muscle development.
  • Victoria Firefighters - $20K for Skin Grafting Pilot Study

Read more about Dr. Nahirney

Read more about Dr. Willerth.

The purpose of this award is to recognize and reward excellence in teaching and education in the Division of Medical Sciences at UVic.

Nominees are full-time faculty who have completed at least three consecutive years of teaching at the Island Medical Program or the Division of Medical Sciences. The award is adjudicated by the Teaching Award in Medical Sciences Committee, chaired by Dr. Darlene Hammell.

2015 Teaching Award Procedures

2015 Teaching Award Nomination Form

2013-2014 Teaching Award in Medical Sciences Recipient

Kurt McBurney

Congratulations to Kurt McBurney, senior instructor and this year's recipient of the Teaching Award in Medical Sciences 2014.

The purpose of this award is to recognize and reward excellence in teaching and education in the Division of Medical Sciences at UVic. Nominees are full-time faculty who have completed at least three consecutive years of teaching at the Island Medical Program or the Division of Medical Sciences. The award is adjudicated by the Teaching Award in Medical Sciences Committee, chaired by Dr. Darlene Hammell.

Colleagues and students remarked on Kurt's professionalism and described him as a highly effective instructor, who brings energy, grace and fun into the classroom.

Kurt will be recognized for this award, along with other award recipients from faculties across UVic, at the UVic Learning and Teaching Centre's annual recognition event in February 2015.

Please join us in congratulating Kurt on this achievement.