Dr. Walter Roschlau Memorial Award in Pharmacology

Dr. Walter H. E. Roschlau was a distinguished medical doctor, researcher and professor, whose work included the development of the first high-efficiency artificial kidney in Canada with Canadian surgeon Dr. Gordon Murray, the development of anti-coagulants at the Connaught Laboratories, and research on blood clotting mechanisms and fibrinolysis, joining the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Toronto in 1966. 

He played a major role in teaching medical, arts & science, dentistry, pharmacy and graduate students, and was co-editor of the textbook Principles of Medical Pharmacology for the 3rd (1980) to the 6th (1998) editions. Walter was a dedicated and thorough teacher, who set high but fair standards for his students, was always available to help them, and earned the gratitude and esteem of many who interacted with him, even years after their graduation. 

The Dr. Walter Roschlau Memorial Award was established to recognize his dedication to teaching by honouring students with the best academic records in the graduating class of the Arts & Science programs in Pharmacology & Toxicology Specialist Programs. The award was co-founded and sponsored by Dr. Roschlau’s son, Michael, and by Dr. Harold Kalant, a friend, colleague and co-editor of the textbook.

Two awards worth $1000.00 each recognize the top two specialist students who have the highest academic standing across their completed Pharmacology courses.

Current Recipients

2023-2024: Simin Jin; Nicholas Kleine

JinSimin Jin has always been interested in learning how drugs work and was determined to enroll in the Pharmacology Specialist Program after her first year at the University of Toronto. In the program, Simin was exposed to fascinating pharmacology knowledge that fostered her interest in medicine. She was also provided with extensive research opportunities, including laboratory courses and research experiences with Dr. Mac Burnham, Dr. Margaret Hahn, Dr. Roger McIntyre, and Dr. Benjamin Goldstein.

Simin is honored to receive the Dr. Walter Roscholau Memorial Award and wants to thank Dr. Rochelau, her professors, TAs, and mentors who have guided and supported her. Simin is an incoming Ph.D. student under Dr. Goldstein’s supervision, focusing on the relationship between cardiovascular and suicide phenotypes in youth with bipolar disorder, and dreams to become a physician-scientist in the future. She is excited to begin this new journey, with the hope of reducing social stigma against youth with suicidality or psychiatric disorders.

KleinAfter enrolling in PCL102 during his first year, Nicholas Kleine found himself captivated by the field of pharmacology, sparking a desire to delve deeper into understanding therapeutic mechanisms of action. Throughout his undergraduate tenure in the pharmacology specialist program, his fascination evolved, particularly gravitating towards molecular cancer biology research. This passion led him to join Dr. Leonardo Salmena’s lab during his third year, where he researched novel signaling axes implicated in the metastatic progression of pancreatic cancer for the ensuing two years. Nicholas plans to continue pursuing his interest in molecular cancer biology research in his PhD at the University of Toronto’s Department of Medical Biophysics. His transformative journey within the pharmacology department has ignited a profound dedication to advancing cancer therapeutics in a future career in research.

Past Recipients

2022-2023: Zhizhi (Jessica) Xia and Genevieve Ramnarine

Photo of JessicaZhizhi, who also goes by Jessica, moved from Nanjing, China to Canada in Grade 10. She entered the University of Toronto still unsure of what she wanted to do. It was PSL190 that first exposed her to drug discovery research. From there, Zhizhi knew she wanted to study how drugs worked, in hopes of developing drugs for diseases yet to have a cure. Therefore, she pursued the Pharmacology Specialist Program. The program was tough, but she greatly appreciates the department for all the opportunities it gave her, from awe-inspiring lectures to hands-on research opportunities. Zhizhi believes the program has trained her critical thinking skills and fostered her curiosity in life science research. She is honoured to receive the Dr. Walter Roschlau Memorial Award in Pharmacology and feels greatly encouraged by it. Zhizhi will begin her graduate studies this fall in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto, where she hopes to better understand the mechanisms of disease to aid drug discovery. Before coming to U of T, Zhizhi never considered the possibility of becoming a research scientist. However, by being surrounded by professors and TAs who are always pushing her to think deeper and motivating her to work harder, the path to becoming a research scientist has become increasingly tangible each day.


Photo of GenevieveBy pursuing a Pharmacology Specialist, as well as a Physiology major and Psychology minor, Genevieve gained enormous insight into the world of therapeutics and, more broadly, human health. Genevieve enjoyed pursuing second year and fourth year research projects in pharmacology. Specifically, she contributed to work with drug loaded microparticles and zebra fish models for pain medicine. Additionally, Genevieve enjoyed sharing her experiences with others through Pharm/Tox mentorship programs, advancing her interest in working with others to achieve their goals. Using the skills she has gained throughout her undergraduate career, Genevieve will be attending the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University. Genevieve is excited for a future career as a physician where she hopes to empower patients to achieve their goals in a way that is personalized and empathetic.

2021-2022: Timofei Chernega and Andre Krunic

Photo of Timofei ChernegaThroughout Timofei Chernega's time as a Pharmacology Specialist and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Major student, he has immersed himself in the field of mitochondrial research. In his second year, he started his research career as an ROP student in Dr. Thomas Hurd’s Lab, where he studied mitochondrial purifying selection in female germline of D.melanogaster. Shortly after, he joined Dr. Ana Andreazza’s Lab where, for two years, he worked on several projects involving mitochondrial genetics and methods of assessing mitochondrial function. During his time in Dr. Andreazza's Lab, he was able to develop and optimize qPCR and dPCR methods for quantifying intracellular and circulating cell-free mtDNA, participate in several large-scale clinical studies, and publish a review regarding the potential of using RNA-based therapeutics for treatment of mitochondrial diseases.

He is very grateful to receive this award in recognition of all the hard work he put in over the past four years; it has renewed his motivation and reignited his desire to seek a career in research.


Photo of Andre KrunicBy enrolling in the Pharmacology Specialist Program, Andre Krunic aimed to learn more about the future of therapeutics. To further this goal, he undertook a third-year research project with the Belsham Lab in Physiology, investigating the determinants of central feeding regulation, as well as a fourth-year thesis with Dr. Micheline Piquette-Miller on the effects of N-acetylcysteine on rats. By using the skills gained during his time at the University of Toronto, he will be pursuing his PhD at Boston University's School of Medicine, specializing in neuropharmacology.

2020-2021: Emily Au and Hae Jin Kwak

Emily Au completed her undergraduate degree in the Pharmacology specialist and Physiology major programs. In her fourth-year pharmacology project course, she worked on a study investigating whether antipsychotics disrupt the ability of nutrients in the brain to regulate glucose homeostasis in the body. Given the metabolic side effects of antipsychotics such as weight gain and increased risk of type 2 diabetes, this project aimed to propose a mechanism by which antipsychotics cause these side effects. Emily is continuing along this line of research in the summer through an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award. With these experiences as well as great mentors, she feels prepared to pursue a Master of Science program and a career in research in the field of neuropharmacology.

Hae Jin KwakThroughout her undergraduate studies as a Pharmacology and Biomedical Toxicology Specialist, Hae Jin Kwak has grown a great passion for research. She participated in a Professional Experience Year at the Applied Health Research Centre of Unity Health Toronto, during which she supported the management of a variety of different clinical trials. Furthermore, she conducted a NSERC undergraduate research project at the Guttman Lab of the Cell and Systems Biology department. Having a particular interest in computational science, her project focused on the utilization of bioinformatic tools to conduct genome assembly and genomic analysis of Pseudomonas syringae strains. To further advance her skills in computational science, she completed her thesis project with Dr. Schapira to conduct in silico analysis of Wee1 kinase, a target protein for anticancer therapy.


2019-2020: Rachel Chalkley and Ximing Li
2018-2019: Jingyi Zhang, Joanna Yeung
2017-2018: Michael Ouk, Hayley French, Hao Yue Helena Lan
2016-2017: Isabelle Laksono, Sing Yung Regina Chu, Zhi  Hui (Charlie) Yang
2015-2016: Mable (Wing Yan) Chan
2014-2015: Alexander Yonshual Pan
2013-2014: Roman Zyla
2012-2013: Yuxiao Sonny Chen 
2011-2012: Bardia Abbasi