Gillis Lab

Welcome to the Gillis Lab. This lab, led by Dr. Todd Gillis, is focused on the vertebrate heart and the mechanisms that regulate it’s function and ability to remodel in response to a physiological stressor. Ongoing projects include:

  • Examining cardiac remodeling in zebrafish and trout in response to thermal acclimation
  • Characterizing the role of the troponin complex in regulating the function of striated muscle
  • Examining the function of the hagfish heart during prolonged anoxia exposure
  • Examining the change in diaphragm function during the onset of heart failure
  • Characterizing how bitumen exposure of sockeye salmon early life stages influences cardiac development and aerobic fitness.

We use a number of approaches in these studies that integrate functional experiments with molecular and proteomic tools to examine gene and protein expression/phosphorylation. This integration provides insight into the cellular mechanisms that underpin identified functional changes.

There are currently positions in the lab for 2 PhD students and a Postdoctoral researcher in the lab. These are detailed in the “Opportunities” page. Please explore our current work via the “Research page” and then contact Dr. Gillis via email regarding your interests.

Gillis Lab News


  • October 2018. Elizabeth Johnston wins the Scholander Award for Best Presentation by a Trainee at the 2019 American Physiological Society Meeting in New Orleans, LA.  Congratulations Elizabeth!
  • September 2018. Sarah Schorno defends her PhD.  Congratulations Dr. Schorno!
  • April 2018. Sean Avey and Sophy DIng awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Congratulations All
  • March 2018. New paper published in the Journal of Experimental Biology by Sarah Schorno entitled Emptying and refilling of slime glands in Atlantic (Myxine glutinosa) and Pacific (Eptatretus stoutii) hagfishes. Co-authors are Dr. Douglas Fudge and Todd Gillis.
  • January 2018. New article written by Dr. Sarah Alderman on the sockeye and bitumen work published in the Conversation Canada
  • December 2017. Project examining the consequence of bitumen exposure on salmon making national headlines

            Globe and Mail, CTV, CBC

  • February 2017. Calli Freedman is awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Congratulations Calli!
  • November 2016. Invited Review published in the Journal of Experimental Biology entitled: Temperature-induced cardiac remodeling in fish. Authors are Drs. Adam Keen (Oxford), Jordan Klaiman (U Washington), Holly Shiels (Manchester) and Todd Gillis.

Research in the Gillis Lab