Welcome to the Division of 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. It is the academic and research structure that underpins the Island Medical Program, part of the UBC MD Undergraduate Program.
Faculty, clinicians and students in the Division are working with other UVic departments and research centres and 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. Plans are underway to develop the university's first interdisciplinary graduate program in neuroscience based in the Division.
Please explore our site and learn what the Division of Medical Sciences has to offer.
Welcome Message from Dr. Oscar Casiro, Head of the Division of Medical Sciences
Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne is creator and co-editor of a research topic published in Frontiers of Cellular Neuroscience. To read more, click here.
New Publication for Swayne Lab
Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne and two of her graduate students, Leigh Wicki-Stordeur and Andrew Boyce recently published; Analysis of a pannexin 2-pannexin 1 chimeric protein supports divergent roles for pannexin C-termini in cellular localization. To learn more, click here.
Team Grant - CIHR
Dr. Brian Christie is part of a new Team Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to study mild traumatic brain injuries in children. The incidence of pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) in North America is alarmingly high, and studies suggest that mild TBI (mTBI), also know as concussion, make-up 70-80% of all cases reported. Of particular concern is that there is very little consensus among clinicians and researchers on how to diagnose and treat mTBI. Furthermore, there is a dearth of research examining the long-lasting effects of sustaining multiple mTBIs. One factor that contributes to this lack of consensus is that many clinicians and researchers use different tools or methods to collect data, thus making comparisons across sites challenging.
The goal of the mTBI Team Grant is to create a culture of national collaboration, data collection and rapid clinical uptake of innovation in discovery. The overall goal is to enhance the ability to conduct multi-centre research and provide evidence-based care across Canada that will assist in diagnoses and treatment of pediatric mTBI.
To learn more about this project, go to the CIHR website.
Science Without Borders
Dr. Joana Gil-Mohapel, Research Assistant, and Dr. Patricia Brocardo, Post-Doctoral Fellow, from Dr. Brian R. Christie's Neuroscience Laboratory at the Division of Medical Sciences, were recently the recipients of a "Science Without Borders" grant awarded by the Brazilian Federal Government.
The main goal of the "Science Without Borders" funding program is to promote the consolidation and expansion of science, technology and innovation in Brazil by means of international exchange and mobility. This federal program promotes the establishment of international partnerships between young international and highly qualified researchers and Brazilian scientists through the development of joint research projects.
The total amount awarded was 298,246 CAD and will finance a project entitled Development of Neuroprotective Strategies for Huntington's Disease and its main goal is to develop and test therapeutic strategies that can be used as early interventions to prevent or rescue the cognitive and motor deficits associated with this devastating neurodegenerative disorder.
By promoting the partnership between these two Universities, this grant will contribute for the internationalization of not only the awarded researchers, but also the Division of Medical Sciences, and the University of Victoria.
Congratulations to both of you and we wish you both much success with this project.
CIHR Operational Grant Awardees
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) invests in more that 14,000 highly talented health researchers. Their investigations cover all aspects of health, from cellular communications to health care economics. Two researchers from the Division of Medical Sciences are among these talented health researchers and have recently been awarded a CIHR Operational Grant.
Dr. Craig Brown will receive 623,900 over the next 5 years to investigate the impact of diabetes on brain function and recovery from ischemic stroke.
Dr. Brian Christie will recieve 826,290 over the next 5 years identifying the role of Fragile-X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP) in hippocampal learning and memory processes.
Congratulations to both of you and we wish you much success in your research!
Concussions - when is it safe to play?
Concussions are a fairly common injury in high-impact sports, like hockey, and sometimes you may not know how seriously you or your teammate is injured. So should you get back on the ice?
Dr. Brian Christie, professor at the University of Victoria, will be speaking about concussions and the signs and symptoms to watch for at Wickifest, the largest womens hockey tournament in western Canada November 16th. Wickifest 2012
For her graduate studies in the Swayne Lab, Leigh Wicki-Stordeur has been selected to receive the following two awards from the Faculty of Graduate Studies Donar Awards. Leigh was awarded the Howard E. Petch Research Scholarship ($7500) and the Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher Scholarship ($9000). Leigh was also awarded an NSERC PGSM award earlier this year.
Congratulations Leigh and best wishes for continued success in your graduate program.
Leigh Anne Swayne Inducted to Athletics Hall of Fame
Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne was inducted this September into the University of Guelph's athletics Hall of Fame along with her fellow teammates from the 1998 University of Guelph National Champion Women's Rugby Team. Pictured are Dr. Swayne (left) and fellow teammate and sister Dr. Seanna Swayne (right) and teammate Amanda McAlpine (middle) at the induction banquet.
For past articles take a look at our News Archive
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)
- CFI - LOF/BCKDF: 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 Engage Grant in partnership with StressMarq - a local biotech company to generate new pannexin antibodies
2011 NSERC Discovery Grant (Individual) (5-year, $180K) Project Title: Pannexin signalling in neural progenitor cells
- Heart & Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon - Peripheral nerve stimulation to enhance recovery from ischemic cerebral stroke.
- Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) - CIHR New Investigator Award - Imaging the impact of diabetes on brain function and recovery from stroke.
- NSERC Discovery Grant - Imaging rapid, use-dependent plasticity in adult somatosensory cortex.
- NSERC Equipment Grant - Equipment for imaging functional domains in the cerebral cortex.
- Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) - Two-photon microscope for imging neuronal and vascular circuit assembly and remodeling in the living brain.
- Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research - Career Investigator Award - Research focus on understanding the mechanisms of experience and injury based cortical plasticity.
- Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) Operating Grant - 5 year operating grant 2013-2018 - Impact of diabetes on brain function and recovery from ischemic stroke.
- NSERC Early Career Supplement: Tissue engineeered scaffolds for controlling induced pluripotent stem cell behaviour. Amount awarded: $5K per year (April 2011 - March 2015)
- Victoria Heritage Foundation: Fellowships for graduate students in the area of biomedical and neuroscience. Amount awarded: $6K (January 2012 - June 2012)
- Centre for Advanced Materials and Technology Collaborative Research Stipend (with Dr. Martin Jun): Graduate student support. Amount awarded: $5K (December 2012 - April 2013)
- Canadian Foundation for Innovation Leader Opportunity Fund: Laboratory for stem cell based tissue engineering. Amount awarded: $121,909 (November 2012 -present)
- British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund: Laboratory for stem cell based tissue engineering. Amount awarded: $121,909 (September 2012 - present)
- NSERC Engage Grant: Engineering reproducible neural tissue from embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. Amount awarded: $25K (April 2012 - November 2012)
- NSERC Engage Grant: Formulations for controlled release of glial derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). Amount awarded: $25K (October 2011 - March 2012)
- 2011 NSERC Discovery Grant (Individual) ($25K per year for 5 years) Project Title: Tissue engineered scaffolds for controlling induced pluripotent stem cell behaviour
- 2011 NSERC RTI Grant ($127.6K) for quantitative stem cell analysis facility
AwardsTeaching Award in Medical Sciences 2013
The purpose of this award is to recognize and reward excellence in teaching and education in the Division of Medical Sciences at UVic.
Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are meant to stimulate interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering. They are also meant to encourage students to undertake graduate studies and pursue a research career in these fields.
Science Undergraduate Research Awards (SURA) are for both Canadian and international students registered in a science undergraduate program. SURA recipients will engage in 16 weeks of full-time research and development activity under the supervision of a science professor holding grand funding, and will gain research experience in an exciting academic setting, while receiving financial support.
Teaching Award in Medical Sciences
2011-2012 Teaching Award in Medical Sciences Recipient
Congratulations to Dr. Patrick Nahirney this year's recipient of the Teaching Award in Medical Sciences 2012.
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.
Dr. Nahirney has received this award based on his dedication to improving the student experience both inside and outside of the classroom. He has been recognized for his calm leadership style and breadth of knowledge, which has encouraged both students and faculty to approach him for increased understanding on complex subjects. His innovations both in and out of the classroom are of particular note, including the development of flash cards and co-authoring Netter's Essential Histology textbook that has been translated to several different languages and is used worldwide.
Dr. Nahirney 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 2013.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Nahirney on this achievement.
Biology Grad Symposium 2011 Awards
Congratulations to the following students!
Best Overall Talk
Matt Grey - $200 cash plus gift certificate from Boston Pizza donated by Greig Cosier
Best PhD - Cells and Gels
Anna Patten - $100 cash plus gift certificate from Luna Aveda Concept Salon
Best MSc - Cells and Gels
Dani Sweetnam-Holmes - $100 cash plus gift certificate from Milestones Restaurant