Dr. Lisa Robertson: Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Biology

Lisa Robertson


Robertson, Lisa 

BSc, 2003 

UTM Biology will always hold a special place in my heart, not only because I spent 13 years in the Department completing 3 degrees, but also because I am grateful and appreciative of the incredible Faculty and Staff of the Department for the mentorship and guidance that was provided during my academic journey. Below I outline the path I took from UTM as an undergraduate student to my current position as an Assistant Professor at York.

What degrees that you obtained and the research I did at UTM?

From 1999-2012 I was a student in the Department and during this time I completed three degrees. In 2003 I completed an Honours Bachelor of Science (Forensic Science and Biology Double Major with a minor in Anthropology), completing a forensic science thesis with Dr. Tim Feltis, Pathologist, Credit Valley Hospital where I examined the relationship between alcohol abuse and sudden death. I obtained a Master of Science degree (supervised by Dr. Angela Lange) in 2005 and my research involved determining the distribution and physiological effects of proctolin within the African migratory locust. In 2007 I obtained a PhD (supervised by Dr. Angela Lange) where I examined the roles of allatostatins in the locust. While completing my graduate degrees, I became deeply involved in teaching and passionate about the scholarship of teaching and learning.

How you have progressed to your current profession?

After obtaining my PhD I completed a one-year Post Doctoral Fellowship with Dr. Andrew Donini (also UTM Biology Alumnus) in his lab at York University. I examined the neural and endocrine control of ion transport by anal papillae of larval mosquitoes and chironomids. From 2013-2017, I was an Assistant Professor (contract) within the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. During this position I taught courses within both the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program and within the Biomedical Science Program. My research interests focused on biology education, and in particular, scientific writing and literacy skills, student anxiety and alternative assessment strategies, and student motivation and engagement strategies. When this contract ended, I joined the Department of Integrative Biology, College of Biological Sciences, University of Guelph from 2017-2021 as an Instructor & Course Coordinator for the large first-year biology course in the department. In the summer of 2021, I was hired into my current position as Assistant Professor at York University.

What advice would you give to undergraduate women who are interested in pursuing a career in STEM?

Don’t give up! Your path may not end up being the straight line you envisioned and filled with twists and turns (mine certainly was!) but if you are determined and passionate you will succeed. Surround yourself with amazing people that can mentor you, provide advice, and support you in your journey.


  • Biology 
  • Higher Education