About Us

The Cox Systems Biology Lab is located at the University of Toronto in the Physiology department and is headed by Dr. Brian Cox. The aim of our research group is to apply a diverse interdisciplinary approach to the study of reproductive biology and development, and to this Dr. Cox brings his training in biochemistry, environmental chemistry, toxicology, developmental biology and bioinformatics, as well as several years working on antimicrobial drug development in the private bio-tech sector.

Dr. Brian Cox portrait

Dr. Brian Cox takes his kids for a spin in the new family car.

Our research is largely focused on placenta biology and pathology. Currently our group has two main projects, the study of human pathologies of the placenta and the specification and development of the trophoblast lineage.

Lab Philosophy

We foster an open, creative and collaborative environment. Members of the lab are encouraged to discuss their projects with each other and develop ideas together. Dr Cox's mentorship style is to help foster independence. Students are encouraged to learn to organize their time and projects and set realistic experimental goals.

Electronic Laboratory Notebooks

The Cox Systems Biology Lab uses electronic laboratory notebooks (ELN). This system of note keeping is essential to working with large data sets and facilitating the open and collaborative environment that the group fosters. Electronic notebooks enable capturing of writing, tables, images and other data types and sources into a relational database.

The notebook is accessed though secure web servers enabling data access using a variety of electronic devices and locations. Our group uses the eCat laboratory notebook. This software also has an integrated inventory tracking and management system. All fields are searchable, which enables the retrieval of relevant data and materials even when spread over multiple users, timelines or experiments.

Summer Students

We like to have summer students work in the lab as they are our future graduate students. Summer students are also opportunities for senior graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to develop mentorship and project development skills.

Website Art

blue and purple abstract watercolor painting by Magda Wojtyra and Marc Ngui

One of the paintings made for the website (click to see larger). More work from the same artists: Bumblenut Pictures and Happy Sleepy.

This website was designed by RNA Studio, an artist design team who are huge fans of science and make "art websites for scientists and other heroes".

The background art was inspired by the function of the placenta and the systems biology research approach of the lab. The art is a digital collage of paint and ink art made using various techniques, including wet on wet watercolour and straw blowing, as well as digital elements (the white nodes and lines). The final graphic was adjusted to repeat seamlessly, and a single file is positioned to highlight a different portion of the art on every page.

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