Quyen Fong receives Spotlight Award

From the period of January to June 2018, the DTL Spotlight Award goes to Quyen Fong to acknowledge her outstanding work ethics and helpful initiatives. Quyen has been instrumental in the implementation of new labs offered by DTL in the fields of Immunology and Physiology. She has identified potential problems and found solutions, suggesting cost-cutting measures, while ensuring experiments are improved and fulfill their teaching goals.

Past winners

  • April 2018, Quyen Fong
  • December 2017, Aida Leiva-Gonzalez
  • April 2017, Janet Katz
  • December 2016, James Wilson

DTL participates in TCDSB Perspectives Conference


Perspectives Conference – Reaction Time Workshop

Perspectives Conference – Reaction Time Workshop

The Division of Teaching Laboratories (DTL) continues its tradition of participating in the University wide Perspectives Conference in collaboration with the Toronto Catholic District School Board by offering a reaction time workshop. This is DTL’s fifth year participating in this initiative. This conference allows gifted students to experience the university setting and a multitude of workshops ranging from arts, engineering to science. In this hands-on workshop, 20 participants will get a glimpse of the physiology behind the simple “braking reaction.” Participants will have a chance to test out their reaction time, and compete with each other on a simulator for the fastest time. In addition students will also test out different “stress” factors that alter their reaction time.
image of classroom

Thank you to all of DTL’s staff and especially Betty Chan, Vis Lielbardis, Linna Wei and Artur Jakubowski for organizing this workshop.

Letter from Vice Provost Students regarding laboratory activities in the following courses: PSL 372H from 2005 until 2011, and the Youth Summer Program (YSP) from 2008 until 2011.

Dear Student,

I am writing to you on behalf of the University of Toronto to provide you with some health information that may be relevant to you. The information pertains to some of the participants in the following courses: PHE 325Y and PHE 225S from 2006 until 2012, PSL 372H from 2005 until 2011, and the Youth Summer Program (YSP) from 2008 until 2011.

This issue applies only to those students who agreed to have their blood tested with a finger-stick device during the lab portion of these courses. If you did not volunteer to have your blood tested, this notice does not pertain to you.

During the laboratory portion of these courses, a finger-stick device was used by some students to take a drop of blood for determining blood type or testing for glucose or lactate levels. The lancet tip, the part of the device that punctures the finger, was replaced after each use but the finger-stick device itself was sometimes re-used during the same lab. Health Canada recommends that this type of finger-stick device should only be used by one person, even if the lancet tip is changed.

The Health Canada guidelines are based on concerns about possible transmission of Hepatitis B virus (Hep B) from re-use of these devices. These finger-stick devices have been used safely for many years in many settings. However, some reports show that, in clinics and long-term care settings where these devices are used very differently than during our labs, use of these devices on more than one person can lead to transmission of Hep B. We emphasize that there are no published reports whatsoever of transmission of Hep B with settings and patterns of uses such as the labs in which you participated. There has also never been any published association of Hepatitis C (Hep C) or HIV with the use of such a device on multiple individuals in any setting.

We have reviewed the circumstances of the use of these finger-stick devices at the U of T and consulted with Toronto Public Health. We have determined that your risk of being exposed to Hep B through use of the finger-stick device is exceedingly low. We know that these devices have been widely used in non-clinical settings. Departures from best practice have occurred, as already indicated by similar notices to students at Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Prince Edward Island. However, no reports whatsoever of Hep B have occurred outside of healthcare settings where the devices were used in a more intensive fashion on patients who received multiple tests over time.

Notwithstanding the very low risks, we feel strongly that the right way forward is to notify students who volunteered to have their blood taken using finger-stick devices during these labs. Our firm expectation is that any medical devices should be used only in exact accordance with guidelines, and we regret the fact that staff did not always meet those expectations. The University has since made it clear that only single-use, disposable lancet devices should be purchased and deployed for such tests.
Students who used the finger-stick devices, and received Hepatitis B vaccination prior to their participation in this lab, are likely protected against being infected with Hep B and no further action is recommended. Ontario began a school-based immunization program to prevent Hep B in 1994.

For students who have not been vaccinated against Hep B, the risk of being infected is slightly higher. We estimate that it could take many years of similar usage of the finger-stick devices across all universities in Canada for there to be one single occurrence of Hep B. It is therefore very unlikely that even one unvaccinated student would have been infected with Hep B by the tests you underwent. However, in this situation, you may wish to consult with your health care professional about whether to obtain a test for Hep B status.

If you are tested and found to be Hep B positive, there are multiple risk factors for this infection and you should discuss these with your healthcare professional. In Ontario, your healthcare professional will need to report your infection to the local health department who may contact you to investigate further.

If you are tested and confirmed to be Hep B negative, and if you have not previously been immunized, it may be prudent for you to ask your healthcare professional about proceeding with immunization.

I hope this summary is clear and helpful. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to send an email to healthask@utoronto.ca.


Professor Jill Matus
Vice Provost, Students & First-Entry Divisions

c. Toronto Public Health
c. Public Health Ontario

Also posted to: https://temertymedicine.utoronto.ca/news/letter-vice-provost-students-regarding-laboratory-activities-following-courses-psl-372h-2005

Artur Jakubowski receives Quality Improvement Award, STAFF Impact

Artur Jakubowski was awarded the inaugural Quality Improvement Award. For a person or team whose work enhances the quality of service to
students, faculty or staff, or implements quality improvements aimed at
making their department or Faculty run more efficiently and effectively.

The Staff Impact Awards program was launched in 2013 to honour staff whose work and dedication have helped to make the Temerty Faculty of Medicine the celebrated school that it is today.


2013 Staff IMPACT Award winners. Left to right
(top row): Tim Neff, Helena Friessen, Joan McKnight, Judy Irvine, Artur Jakubowski, Catharine Whiteside. (Front row, with plaques): Patricia O’Brien, Caroline Abrahams, Lesley Ward. PHOTO: HORST HERGERT

Heather Drouillard recipient of the 2011-2012 Chancellor’s Award – Emerging Leader

Photo of Heather Drouillard

One notable initiative for which Ms. Drouillard deserves much credit is the Faculty of Medicine Youth Summer Program (MED YSP), which provides high school students with a glimpse into the world of medicine, medical research and the health science professions. Ms. Drouillard negotiates and administers nearly 25 scholarships for inner-city students coming from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. She also plays a pivotal role in generating revenues and administering the finances for the “hands-on” lab courses through which DTL fulfills its mandate of enhancing the educational experiences of undergraduate Life Sciences students.

Another important initiative under her watch was the creation of the Equipment Repair Centre (ERC), a joint partnership with Med Store that provides quality repair of lab equipment not only to the Faculty of Medicine researchers but to affiliated research institutes and interdivisional units. Researchers at these institutions are grateful for a service that provides quick, reliable repair, often of equipment that is no longer under warranty. Ms. Drouillard provides direct supervision of ERC staff and works with MedStore in developing marketing strategies and setting goals for the ERC.

Ms. Drouillard complements her administrative prowess with a caring and warm personality. She is happiest in situations where she can closely interact with and help others. Her dedication to her work has not kept her from pursuing her own personal advancement, including the completion of her Certified General Accountants designation. More recently she has pursued a program in Adult Training and Development at OISE. Ms. Drouillard finds time to serve as co-chair of the Faculty of Medicine’s Group on Business Affairs and is also a member of the Green Committee.

Source link.

James Lau recipient of the 2010-2011 David Keeling Award for Administative Excellence

March 24, 2011

James Lau is the recipient of the 2010-2011 David Keeling Award for Administative Excellence. James first joined the Faculty of Medicine as a summer student in June 1980. In September 1980 he began his work as a Laboratory Technician. Over the course of the past 30 years, James has worked his way through various roles to his current position of Assistant Director, Division of Teaching Labs (DTL), where, among other responsibilities, he now oversees the operation of more than 25 courses in 28 laboratory classrooms. His contributions to the enhancement of learners’ experiences are significant.

James assisted with the design and implementation of the MED Youth Summer Program (http://www.ysp.utoronto.ca/medicine) geared towards introducing high school students in grades 10 and 11 to experimental research, and works continually with the Office of Health Professions Student Affairs to deliver other community outreach programs. James also oversees DTL’s Yeast Culture Media project where customized solid and liquid media are prepared for researchers in the faculty at reasonable rates and with quick delivery times. He is well known and respected by faculty and students alike; for his collaboration in creating lab courses and experiments to enhance the students’ knowledge base; his dedication to ensuring that the Division of Teaching Labs has the best, most up-to-date technologies available for use by both parties; and, his sincere and caring approach to ensuring that everyone has as positive an experience as possible while interacting with DTL.


DTL Recipient of 2010 Northrope Frye Award Divisional

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.

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.


Dr. Chris. Perumalla Recipient Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award

Dr. Christopher Perumalla, Award of Excellence 2010 recipient, Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award

Photo of Chris Perumalla with Dean of MedicineDr. Perumalla is a natural, gifted and visionary leader, with an impeccable record as an educator. His work outside the classroom as a mentor and sometimes just as a good listener is just as impressive. Just ask any of his students over the past 25 years.

Award of recipient
In addition to lecturing in several physiology courses, Dr. Perumalla spends many hours talking to hundreds of students outside the classroom as an undergraduate academic counselor in the Physiology Specialist and Major programs. “You have been a mentor and a willing guide for me throughout my undergraduate career at U of T, and have truly made a difference in my life” one student says. “Thank you for your ear and advice.

Dr. Perumalla created the Youth Summer Program for the Faculty of Medicine in his role as Director of the Division of Teaching Laboratories (DTL). The program provides high school students with an exclusive glimpse into the world of medicine, medical research and other health science professional programs. Last year, Dr. Perumalla visited Stanford University which has had a similar program for 25 years, and his counterpart there was so impressed with what Dr. Perumalla had accomplished in just two years, she visited U of T to learn more about what he has done here.

Last year, Dr. Perumalla offered four full scholarships to economically disadvantaged high school students, making it possible for them to attend the Youth Summer Program. He is also working with the Toronto District School Board and the Peel-Dufferin Catholic School Board to offer scholarships for inner city high school students to attend the program cost-free; both these school boards have matched the scholarships offered by the Faculty of Medicine.

In his role as director of the DTL, Dr. Perumalla is working with faculty members to incorporate new technologies and lab exercises. Graduate students get an opportunity to work with faculty to design and test the labs.

Dr. Perumalla has been instrumental in designing, developing and delivering Faculty of Medicine’s first online course in Basic Human Physiology. This online course is a full course equivalent course and is offered to non-U of T students in collaboration with School of Continuing Studies.

Dr. Perumalla won the Faculty of Medicines most prestigious, W.T. Aikins Award in 2006 in the category of large classroom lecture delivery and has won the Life Sciences Undergraduate Excellence Award. He has been awarded the Physiology Departmental Excellence of Teaching Award three times in the past ten years.

Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award

The University of Toronto Alumni Association (UTAA) is pleased to accept applications for the Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award. This $1,000 prize is presented annually to a student, alumnus/a, faculty or administrative staff member who has made a distinctive and lasting contribution to enhancing the quality of the undergraduate or graduate student experience at the University of Toronto. Candidates will be assessed in light of the University’s Stepping-Up goals: offering students a personally and intellectually rewarding co-curricular and extracurricular learning experience “beyond the classroom;” involving students in the life of the city; and seeking to ensure that students feel like valued members of the University community — a perception that will in turn foster a sense of loyalty once they become alumni

Award recipients will be honoured at the Awards of Excellence ceremony held annually in the Spring.

The award is a tribute to Joan Foley’s legacy and dedication to improving the student experience on campus throughout her career at the University of Toronto, which spans over forty years. As a professor of psychology, Foley made teaching a priority, presenting her students with a richly complex and supportive experience in the classroom. Foley was also a distinguished leader in university administration, named the first female Provost at the University of Toronto and the first female Principal at the University of Toronto Scarborough, among other notable positions. Foley worked closely with students in order to promote an enriching overall educational experience, in and out of the classroom. Among many other accomplishments, Foley played a significant role in the development of co-operative programs and continues to be a key adviser on a variety of academic and community programs at the Scarborough campus.

In making its decision, the Selection Committee will take into account the nominee’s contribution in both the academic or extracurricular domain of student life. The nature, extent, degree and impact of the nominee’s contribution to the quality of the student experience will also be assessed.

For more about the ‘Awards of Excellence’.