Harold Leslie Atwood Zoology, Animals, Physiology, Metabolism

One of Canada’s most distinguished neuroscientists, who studies mechanisms of synaptic transmission

The Story

Atwood was among the first in Canada to study the nervous system using the neural systems of invertebrates, which have large and relatively few muscle cells and motor neurons. His research has led to significant advances in understanding how nerve cells and their synapses respond to experience and activity. Editor of "Biology of Crustacea, vols. 3 and 4, 1982 he also edited the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology between 1987 and 1991. Recent research includes studies of the effects of neurohormones and genetics on synaptic transmission in the fruit fly, as well as environmental and genetic influences on the physiology of synapses.

Atwood has studied biology in Canada, America and Scotland, and taught in Israel.

Source: Canadian Who's Who, 1993, U of T Dept. of Zoology Newsletter, November 1999. Image: U of T Dept. of Physiology website.


The Person

February 15, 1937
Montreal, Quebec
Family Members
  • Father: Carl Atwood, Professor and forest entomologist
Chair, Professor of Physiology; Director, Medical Research Council
Medical Research Council Group in Nerve Cells and Synapses at the University of Toronto
  • BA University of Toronto, 1959
  • MA University of California at Berkeley, 1960
  • PhD University of Glasgow, 1963
  • DSc 1978
  • Guggenheim Fellow, 1972
  • Forchheimer Professor, Israel, 1977-78
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada
  • Distinguished Scientist Award (Medical Research Council of Canada), 1997
  • Fry Medal (Canadian Society of Zoologists), 1997
Graham Hoyle, University of Glasgow, the leading figure of the day in comparative physiology of muscular contraction and its nervous control
Last Updated
September 17, 2015

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