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 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
- Jan 2020. Paper from MSc thesis of Sean Avey published in Aquatic Toxicology entitled: Effects of diluted bitumen exposure on Atlantic salmon smolts: Molecular and metabolic responses in relation to swimming performance
- Jan 2020. New Paper published in the Journal of Comparative Physiology B by Sarah Alderman, Dane Crossley (North Texas), Ruth Elsey and Todd Gillis entitled: Growing up gator: a proteomic perspective on cardiac maturation in an oviparous reptile, the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
- Dec 2019. New paper out from PhD thesis of Elizabeth Johnston focused on the role of mechano-transduction in cardiac remodelling entitled: Short-term cyclical stretch phosphorylates p38 and ERK1/2MAPKs in cultured fibroblasts from the hearts of rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss
- Oct 2019. Sean Avey successfully defends his PhD! Congratulations Sean.
- June 2019. New paper published in Nature Scientific Reports by Sarah Alderman, Dane Crossley (North Texas), Ruth Elsey and Todd Gillis entitled: Hypoxia-induced reprogramming of the cardiac phenotype in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) revealed by quantitative proteomics.
- April 2019. Elizabeth Johnston defends her PhD. Congratulations Dr. Johnston!
- March 2019. Dr. Georgina Cox joins the lab as a Post Doctoral Researcher. Welcome Dr. Cox!
- January 2019. New paper published in the Journal of Comparative Physiology B by Lauren Gatrell entitled: Contractile function of the excised hagfish heart during anoxia exposure
- 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
- November 2017. Sean Avey publishes his undergraduate thesis entitled: How the expression of green fluorescent protein and human cardiac actin in the heart influences cardiac function and aerobic performance in zebrafish Danio rerio in the Journal of Fish Biology.
- August 2017. Sophy Ding wins an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Congratulations Sophy!
- August 2017. Todd Gillis interviewed on CBC radio regarding work on cardiac remodeling in fish
- August 2017. Press coverage in the Guelph Mercury and on the University Homepage regarding Elizabeth Johnston’s paper published in the Journal of Experimental Biology
- June 2017. New paper out in the Journal of Experimental Biology entitled:Transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGF- β 1) stimulates collagen synthesis in cultured rainbow trout cardiac fibroblastsston Authors are Elizabeth Johnston and Todd Gillis.
- May 2017. New paper out in Science Translational Medicine resulting from collaboration with the labs of Drs. Jeremy Simpson (Guelph) and Keith Brunt (Dalhousie) focused on rescuing diaphragm function during heart failure.
- May 2017. Calli Freedman has been awarded an NSERC postgraduate scholarship! Congratulations Calli!
- April 2017. New Article from the lab entitled “Proteomic analysis of sockeye salmon serum as a tool for biomarker discovery and new insight into the sublethal toxicity of diluted bitumen.” Authors are Drs. Sarah Alderman, Laura Dindia, Todd Gillis and our collaborators at Simon Fraser University and UBC.
- April 2017. New Article from the lab entitled “Novel insights into cardiac remodelling revealed by proteomic analysis of the trout heart during exercise training. Authors are Drs. Laura Dindia, Sarah Alderman and Todd Gillis
- March 2017. Hagfish Article in National Geographic mentions studies by Calli Freedman and Todd Gillis
- March 2017. New article by Calli Freedman and Doug Fudge published in the Journal of Experimental Biology entitled: Hagfish Houdinis: biomechanics and behavior of squeezing through small openings
- 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.
- November 2016. outside-jeb article published about Sarah Alderman’s recent paper: Effects of diluted bitumen exposure on juvenile sockeye salmon: From cells to performance
- August 2016. New paper published in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B entitled “A functional comparison of cardiac troponin C from representatives of three vertebrate taxa: Linking phylogeny and protein function“. Authors are Elizabeth Sears and Todd Gillis
- June 2016. New paper published “Effects of diluted bitumen exposure on juvenile sockeye salmon: From cells to performance” Dr. Sarah Alderman, Feng Lin (SFU), Anthony P. Farrell (UBC), Christopher J. Kennedy (SFU) and Todd E. Gillis. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
- March 2016. New research paper by Dr. Sarah Alderman and UBC/Laurier colleagues featured in the Journal of Experimental biology. Title is “Evidence for a plasma-accessible carbonic anhydrase in the lumen of salmon heart that may enhance oxygen delivery to the myocardium”. Summary article here.
- March 2016. New research paper entitled Dissecting the role of the myofilament in diaphragm dysfunction during the development of heart failure in mice published in the American Journal of Physiology by Todd Gillis, Jordan Klaiman and HHNS colleagues.
- January 2016. Summer USRA position available in the Gillis lab to examine adaptations of deer mouse diaphragm to high altitude. Please click here for more details.
Dec 2015. New paper published in the American Journal of Physiology; Heart and Circulatory Physiology entitled: AJP 2015. Authors are Todd Gillis, Jordan Klaiman,
Dec 2015. Article describing hagfish work published by the University of Guelph
- Oct 2015. New paper published in the Journal of Experimental Biology entitled: Characterizing the metabolic capacity of the anoxic hagfish heart. Authors are Todd Gillis and UBC colleagues: Matt Regan, Till Harter, Georgie Cox, Jeff Richards, Colin Brauner and Tony Farrell
- April 2015. New grant from the Gryphon LAAIR program to support the salmonid plasma biomarker project.
- March 2015. PhD candidate Elizabeth Johnston has been awarded an OGS scholarship. Congratulations Elizabeth!
- Jan 2015. Article released today regarding Sockeye salmon project in the lab.
- November 2014. New grant from NSERC ENGAGE to identify plasma biomarkers of cardiac stress in salmonid species. This project is being completed in collaboration with Cedarlane Labs.
- Sept 2014. New paper published in the Journal of Experimental Biology entitled “Cold acclimation increases cardiac myofilament function and ventricular pressure generation in trout”. Authors are Jordan Klaiman, Glen Pyle and Todd Gillis
- Sept 2014. New, three year grant from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to study the influence of bitumen exposure on the cardiac health and fitness of sockeye salmon larvae. Co-Applicants are Dr. Todd Gillis (PI), Dr. Tony Farrell (UBC), Dr. Chris Kennedy (SFU) and Dr. Sarah Alderman (Guelph)
- July 2014. Elizabeth Johnston awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Congratulations Elizabeth!
- May 2014. Jordan Klaiman has been awarded a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Post Doctoral Fellowship. Congratulations Jordan and good luck at the University of Washington!
- May 2014. Elizabeth Sears successfully defends her MSc. Congratulations Elizabeth!
- February 2014. New paper from the Gillis lab published in the Journal of Experimental Biology entitled “Cold acclimation alters the connective tissue content of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) heart” Authors are Amy Johnson (undergraduate), PhD students Andrew Turko and Elizabeth Johnston and Dr. Jordan Klaiman. Congratulations to all!
- January 2014. New paper published in Biomacromolecules entitled “Self-Assembly Enhances the Strength of Fibers Made from Vimentin Intermediate Filament Proteins” from work completed in Fudge and Gillis Labs. Congratulations to all authors including Nicole Pinto and Atsuko Negishi.
- December 2013. Jordan Klaiman successfully defends his PhD. Congratulations Dr. Klaiman!
- September 2013. Work in Fudge and Gillis Labs on the production of protein based materials featured in the Portico
- September 2013. New paper published in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology entitled: Chronic Hypoxia Exposure of Trout Embryos Alters Swimming Performance and Cardiac Gene Expression in Larvae. Authors are Elizabeth Johnston, Dr Sarah Alderman, and Dr Todd Gillis.
- Jan 2013. Elizabeth Sears wins a Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology. Congratulations Elizabeth!
- December 2012. Congratulations to Nicole Pinto for successfully defending her MSc thesis entitled “Physical and mechanical characterization of fibres produced from the intermediate filament vimentin for the purpose of producing, protein-based fibres.”
- November 2012. New paper published in Biomacromolecules from work completed in the labs of Dr. Doug Fudge and Dr. Todd Gillis entitled: The Production of Fibers and Films from Solubilized Hagfish Slime Thread Proteins.
- July 2012. New paper published in the American Journal of Physiology entitled:“Effect of cold acclimation on troponin I isoform expression in striated muscle of rainbow trout” Authors: Sarah L. Alderman, Jordan M Klaiman, Courtney A Deck and Todd E. Gillis.
- July 2012. Review chapter written by Dr. Gillis entitled: “Evolution of the Regulatory Control of the Vertebrate Heart: The Role of the Contractile Proteins” published in ”Ontogeny and Phylogeny of the Vertebrate Heart”
Research in the Gillis Lab