Meet our Connaught Scholars

Life Sciences Representative

Denise Belsham is a Professor of Physiology, Medicine, and Ob/Gyn at the University of Toronto, Canada. She has served as Acting Chair and Vice Chair of the Department of Physiology. She has over 25 years of neuroendocrine research in obesity, circadian rhythms, and reproduction. The main focus of her laboratory is to understand, at the molecular level, how the hypothalamus achieves its diverse physiological functions. With this in mind, she developed an array of over 250 clonal neuronal cell models from the hypothalamus, now in over 600 labs worldwide, and started a biotech company to distribute the lines, CELLutions Biosystems. She was the Chairperson for the International Congress of Neuroendocrinology held July 2018 in Toronto, and currently is the President of the Pan American Neuroendocrine Society. She has served on the Canadian CIHR, as well as many international, grant review committees. She has also served on many Editorial Boards for top endocrine journals. Recently, she was awarded the “Sustained Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Excellence” for her contributions towards the careers of the over 125 trainees from her laboratory. She is particularly proud that many of her trainees have been young women, well poised to pursue advanced scientific careers for which she serves as a role model, due to her combination of an exceptional scientific program in neuroendocrinology, her success as an elite female entrepreneur with two successful start-up companies (and a third underway), as well as raising twin boys over the past 19 years. Her career has been supported by the MRC/CIHR for 30 years, and NSERC since she arrived in Toronto in 1996. She has held a CRC in Neuroendocrinology. She has published over 120 peer-reviewed papers in her field and is invited to present her work globally.