Picture of Dr. Thomas Fisher

Dr. Thomas Fisher MSc, PhD, BSP Department Head, Physiology

Research Areas

  • Osmotic regulation of ion channels and vasopressin secretion
  • Ca2+ channel targeting and function in neuroendocrine secretion
  • Mechanisms and significance of gliotransmitter secretion

About Dr. Thomas Fisher

Post-doctoral Research

Neuroscience Research Group, Montreal General Hospital/McGill University, Montreal.
Department of Physiology and Biophysics, The Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA

Present Research Funding

  • Ca2+ channel targeting in neuroendocrine cells, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (2009-2014)
  • Structural and functional adaptation of supraoptic neurons to sustained hyperosmolality, Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnership Program, including matching funds from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (2009-2011)
  • An osmosensitive K+ current that regulates vasopressin release, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (2008-2011).
  • Noradrenergic activation of glial release of ATP and its role in regulation of plasticity at hypothalamic glutamatergic synapses, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2005-2010; co-investigator with J.S. Bains, University of Calgary)

People In The Lab

Current Graduate Student

Vimal Bansal - Expected Completion 2016


Xuan Vo "Ca2+ channel subunit composition in neuronal somata and terminals. Noradrenaline-evoked release of ATP from glial cells"

Former Graduate Students

Swarupa Chakraborty
Daoyi Wang Completed Feb 2011 "Ca2+ channel trafficking in neuroendocrine cells"
Naima Mumtaz Completed Jan 2011 "Acute and chronic adaptation of supraoptic neurons to changes in osmolality"
Wenbo Zhang PhD  Completed 2009 "Characterization of a novel osmosensitive K+ current in supraoptic neurons"
Xiaoyu Xu  MSc Completed 2006 "CASK and Mint1 in Ca2+ channel clustering and function in chromaffin cells"
Blanc Star MSc Completed 2005 "Dehydration increases the density of L-type Ca2+ channels in supraoptic neurons"
Xiaohong Liu MSc Completed 2004 "An osmosensitive and voltage sensitive cation current in supraoptic neurons"

Former Post-Doctoral Fellow

Kosala Rajapaksha 2004-2006 "Alternative splicing of Ca2+ channel mRNA. Noradrenaline-evoked release of ATP from glial cells"

Recent Summer Students

Peter Rye* 2009 Mechanisms of osmotically-induced MNC hypertrophy.
Petra Dolman** 2008 Regulation of VP secretion during chronic dehydration.
Catherine Lacny 2008 Mechanisms underlying glial regulation of VP secretion.
Brent Wilkinson 2007 Osmotically-induced structural reorganization in the SON.
Jeff Wilkinson** 2007 Mechanisms underlying glial modulation of VP secretion.
Jeff Wilkinson* 2006 Mechanisms of NA-induced ATP release from glia.
Lauren Beliveau* 2005 Study of secretion from MNCs and glia using FM1-43.

* Recipient of a NSERC Summer Research Award

** Recipient of a Heart & Stroke Foundation Summer Research Award

Honours and Awards for Lab Members

  • Congratulations to Daoyi for having an image chosen for the cover of the Journal of Neuroendocrinology, October 2009!
  • Congratulations to Daoyi on being chosen to represent the University of Saskatchewan at the CIHR Student Health Research Forum 2009!
  • Congratulations to Wenbo on receiving a CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Award, 2007-09!


Selected Publications

Wang, D, Yan, B, Rajapaksha, WRAKJS, and Fisher, TE (2009) Expression of voltage gated Ca2+ channels in glial cells of the rat neurohypophysis. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, in press.

Zhang, W, Wang, D, Liu, X-H, Rajapaksha, WRAKJS, and Fisher, TE (2009) An osmosensitive voltage gated K+current in rat supraoptic neurons. European Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 2335-2346.

Wang, D, Rajapaksha, WRAKJS, Davies, JN, Chen, L,  Zamponi, GW, and Fisher, TE (2008) Novel splice variants of rat CaV2.1 that lack much of the synaptic protein interaction site are expressed in neuroendocrine cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 283, 15997-16003.

Zhang, W, Star, B, Rajapaksha, WRAKJS, and Fisher, TE (2007) Dehydration increases L-type Ca2+ current in rat supraoptic neurons. Journal of Physiology, 580, 181-193.

Liu, XH, Zhang, W, and Fisher, TE (2005) A novel osmosensitive voltage gated cation current in rat supraoptic neurones. Journal of Physiology, 568, 61-68.

Gordon, GRJ, Baimoukhametova, DV, Hewitt, SA, Rajapaksha, WRAKJS, Fisher, TE, and Bains, JS (2005) Noradrenaline triggers release of glial ATP to increase postsynaptic efficacy. Nature Neuroscience, 8, 1078-1086.

Fisher, TE, and Bourque, C. W. (2001) The function of Ca2+ channel subtypes in exocytotic secretion: new perspectives from synaptic and non-synaptic release Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, 77, 269-303.

Fisher, TE, Marszalek, PE, and Fernandez, JM (2000) Stretching single protein and sugar molecules into novel conformations using the atomic force microscope Nature Structural Biology, 7,719-724.

Fisher, TE, Carrion-Vazquez, M, Oberhauser, AF, Li, H., Marszalek, PE, and Fernandez, JM (2000) Single molecule force spectroscopy of modular proteins in the nervous system. Neuron, 27, 435-446.

Fisher, TE, Carrion-Vazquez, M, and Fernandez, JM (2000) Ca2+ channel immunoreactivity on intracellular membranes in neuroendocrine axon terminals. FEBS Letters, 482, 131-138.

Fisher, TE, and Fernandez, JM (1999) Pulsed-laser imaging of Ca2+ influx in a neuroendocrine terminal. Journal of Neuroscience, 19, 7450-7457.

Wilson, GF, Richardson, FC, Fisher, TE, Olivera, BM, and Kaczmarek, LK (1996) Identification and characterization of a Ca2+-activated nonspecific cation channel and current underlying prolonged repetitive firing in Aplysia neurons.Journal of Neuroscience, 16, 3661-3671.

Fisher, TE and Bourque, CW (1996) Calcium channel subtypes in the somata and axon terminals of the magnocellular neurosecretory cells of the rat supraoptic nucleus. Trends in Neurosciences, 19, 440-4.

Fisher, TE and Bourque, CW (1995) Distinct w‑agatoxin‑sensitive calcium currents in the somata and axon terminals of a mammalian central neuron. Journal of Physiology 489.2, 383-388.

Fisher, TE and Bourque, CW (1995) Expression of voltage gated calcium channels in the magnocellular neurosecretory cells of the rat hypothalamus. Journal of Physiology 486.3, 571-580.