Research in environmental physiology explores how cells and physiological systems respond to changes in their environment. The environmental physiologists in the Department of Biology study a broad range of topics in a variety of vertebrate (mammals, fish, birds) and invertebrate (insects, crustaceans, worms) animals. Our studies take advantage of a diverse array of cutting-edge techniques, such as in vivo physiological recording, patch-clamp analysis, scanning ion-selective microelectrode technique (SIET), cell and tissue culture, confocal immunofluorescence analysis, transcriptomics, and proteomics. Work in the laboratory is complemented by field research in a diversity of locations, including the Queens University Biological Station in Ontario, the Bamfield Marine Station in British Columbia, Mongolia, China, the Andean Mountains of Peru, the Rift Valley of Africa, and the Brazilian Amazon. Motivated students and post-doctoral fellows can expect an exciting, highly interactive, and intellectually stimulating environment for research.
Relevant Graduate Courses
- BIOL 6X03 / Environmental Physiology
- BIOL 726 / Integrative Physiology
- BIOL 727 / Cellular and Molecular Physiology
- BIOL 728/ Environmental Physiology
Explore the Graduate Courses page for more information
The Wilson laboratory studies the impacts of environmental stressors on aquatic organisms, with a strong emphasis on aquatic toxicology research. Our research intersects environmental physiology, ecology and evolution, and bioinformatics and functional genomics. Our basic research program focuses on the evolution, regulation and function of cytochrome P450 enzymes; enzymes that are critical for xenobiotic metabolism and steroid production. Cytochrome P450 enzymes are an important superfamily involved in chemical defense. Our environmental physiology research examines the impacts of contaminants (e.g. human drugs, metals, complex effluents), temperature, and low dose radiation. We are particularly interested in the effects on development, growth, and reproduction. The biological approaches used in the lab are quite diverse and include gene expression, histology, protein assays (e.g. enzyme activity, steroid levels), morphometrics, growth, and behaviour. Likewise, our species of interest are diverse. Our primary fish model species are zebrafish and rainbow trout but we include important native species such as lake whitefish, round whitefish, and Arctic charr. For invertebrate systems, we use the brown and green hydra, both freshwater Cnidarian species, and a marine annelid Capitella telata.