DTL Recipient of 2010 Northrope Frye Award Divisional
Original article September 2010: http://awards.alumni.utoronto.ca/viewer/view/570

Division of Teaching Laboratories

Award of Excellence 2010 recipient Northrop Frye Award (Departmental)

The Division of Teaching Laboratories (DTL) has a tremendous impact on the educational experience of students in the various Life Sciences programs. Laboratory courses, bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge acquired in didactic courses and practical hands-on experience which is vital in programs such as Biochemistry, Human Biology, Immunology, Medical Genetics, Pharmacology and Physiology.
Vincent Li Betty Chan Grace Andres Joanne Jamieson James Wilson Linda Zhang Alida Alarcon Jing Ma Xiaoming Shi Quyen Fong Vis Lielbardis Artur Jakubowski James Lau Lynette Anderson Dr. Chris Perumalla Janet Katz Heather Drouillard
Under the leadership of its director, Dr. Chris Perumalla, DTL has introduced many cutting-edge techniques in molecular biology, electrophysiology, proteomics, microarrays and animal surgery skills in several DTL-run courses. These techniques use expensive and sophisticated technology not often found at other universities, allowing U of T undergraduate students to prepare more than adequately for careers as research assistants, and graduate students.

An Academic Initiate Fund grant provided resources to link research and teaching and the program offers superior laboratory experience to students, allowing some of them to use state-of-the-art, real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction and microarray technologies. DTL also provides researchers in the Faculty of Medicine with supplies of bacteriological and yeast media for their research; the profits from this project are ploughed back into DTL budget and have been used to upgrade laboratory equipment and supplies. These new initiatives have enabled DTL to exemplify the new budget model at UofT.

Leo Wan, president of the Biochemistry Undergraduate Student Society, says in lab courses “students are finally allowed to see how powerful the current research toolbox is in deciphering biological mysteries. This certainly brings about an interest in research and a combination of this interest and knowledge gives us an upper hand in gaining summer research positions.”

In 2007, DTL in collaboration with New College has developed the Faculty of Medicine’s Youth Summer Program, which offers high school students the opportunity to experience the world of medicine and medical research. Every year, about 400 high school students from over 15 countries attend this program. One module took the SARS outbreak from 2003 and had students learn about microbiology and microbes directly from the people working on the outbreak at the time.

Northrop Frye Awards

The University of Toronto Alumni Association (UTAA) and the Provost are pleased to accept applications for The Northrop Frye Awards, recognizing distinguished achievements in connecting teaching and research at U of T in two categories – (i) faculty and (ii)departmental/divisional. The prize value of the awards is $2,000 for the individual faculty member award and $6,000 for the Departmental or Divisional award.*

*Award recipients will be honoured at the annual Awards of Excellence ceremony held in the Spring of each year. The Frye Selection Committee is not required to select a recipient in either category, if no applicable candidates in either given category are nominated.

Professor Northrop Frye (1912-1991) was one of the 20th century’s pre-eminent English scholars and literary critics, and a noted commentator on Canadian society and culture. He graduated from Victoria College with a BA in Philosophy and English in 1933, completed the theological course at Emmanuel College and was ordained in the United Church of Canada in 1936. He then received his MA from Merton College, Oxford, in 1940. A faculty member in the Department of English at Victoria College in the University of Toronto, Frye gained international recognition with the publication of his works, and held 38 honorary doctorates from universities around the globe. The world remembers him for his writings. On campus, Professor Frye is remembered for his outstanding lectures, about which generations of students have spoken and written with delight, and for his unwavering passion for teaching and learning.


(i) Faculty Nominations
As professors at the country’s leading research-intensive university, University of Toronto faculty members are expected to consistently demonstrate dedicated, effective teaching and outstanding scholarship. The Northrop Frye Award recognizes those who have gone above and beyond the University’s standard of excellence, setting themselves apart through innovation in teaching and their commitment to conveying the excitement and importance of research to undergraduate and graduate students.

The Selection Committee will judge individual nominees on distinguished achievements in linking teaching and research, thereby exceeding the University’s baseline expectations for faculty and furthering its mission. The linkages between teaching and research will be expected to exceed the normal supervision of graduate students exercised by dedicated faculty members. Nominations reflecting success with undergraduate students are particularly welcomed.

The award will recognize excellence exhibited at any time during a faculty member’s career at the University of Toronto; a minimum length of service is not required. Faculty nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Have an established research record and be tenured or hold a tenure-equivalent appointment
  • Be active teachers who have offered courses at all levels

Please note: faculty members, not specific courses created or taught by a particular faculty member, will be evaluated in this category.

(ii) Departmental/Divisional Nominations
Departmental/Divisional nominations should be made by the division head.

The Selection Committee will evaluate each nomination based on the level of commitment and kinds of support demonstrated in encouraging faculty members to develop exemplary linkages between teaching and research. Nominations reflecting success with undergraduate students are particularly welcome. Multi-department divisions may submit up to three nominations. Single-department divisions may submit only one nomination.

For more about the Awards of Excellence
Faculty of Medicine Home Page