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Peter Helli


Dr. Helli is a full-time assistant professor in McMaster University’s School of Nursing.  He has been teaching anatomy and physiology to undergraduate students in the McMaster/Mohawk/Conestoga Collaborative BScN Program since 2010.  Dr. Helli also acts as course planner and instructor for level two pathophysiology and has taught pathophysiology to students in the accelerated BScN Program.

Select Publications

  • Janssen LJ, Mueed I, Hirota J, Ghayur MN, Kahan A, Hirota S, Helli, P., & Hernandez J. (2007) Excitation-contraction coupling and signaling in smooth muscle.  In:  Jean-Pierre Savineau (Ed.), New Frontiers in Smooth Muscle Biology and Physiology.  Fort P.O.: Transworld Research Network, pp. 57-83.

  • Beca S, Helli, P.B., Simpson JA, Zhao K, Farman GP, Jones PP, Tian X, Wilson LS, Ahmad F, Chen SR, Movsesian MA, Mnganiello V, Maurice DH, Conti M, Backx PH. (2011) Phophodiesterase 4D regulates baseline sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ release and cardiac contractility, independently of L-type Ca2+ current. Circ Res. 109(9): 1024-30.
  • Helli, P.B., & Janssen LJ. (2008). Properties of a store-operated non-selective cation conductance in airway smooth muscle. Eur Respir J 32: 1529-38.
  • Hirota S, Helli, P., & Janssen LJ. (2007) Ionic mechanism and Ca2+ handling in airway smooth muscle.  Eur Respir J. 30(1): 114-33.
  • Hirota S, Helli, P.B., Catalli A, Chew A & Janssen LJ. (2005).  Airway smooth muscle excitation-contraction coupling and airway hyperresponsiveness.  Can J Physiol Phramacol. 83(8-9): 725-32.
  • Helli, P.B., Pertens E & Janssen LJ. (2005).  Cyclopiazonic acid activates a Ca2+ permeable, nonselective cation conductance in porcine and bovine tracheal smooth muscle. J Appl Physiol. 99(5): 1759-68.
  • Liu C, Zuo J, Pertens E, Helli, P.B., & Janssen LJ. (2005).  Regulation of Rho/ROCK signaling in airway smooth muscle by membrane potential and [Ca2+]iAm J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 289(4): L574-82.
  • Janssen LJ, Catalli A & Helli, P.B., (2005). The pulmonary biology of isoprostanes.
    Antioxid Redox Signal. 7(1-2): 244-55.
  • Helli, P.B., Catalli A & Janssen LJ. (2004). The bronchodilators 8-iso-prostaglandin E2 and prostaglandin E2 induce K+ current suppression via thromboxane A2 receptors in porcine tracheal smooth muscle.  Eur J Pharmacol. 501(1-3): 179-84.
  • Beca S, Helli, P.B., Simpson J, Jones P, Chen SR W, Conti M & Backx PH (2010). Phosphodiesterase 4D (PDE4D) Enhances Myocardial Contractility by Regulating Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Ca2+ Load.  Circulation. A2041


  • 2008 - 2010 Pfizer / Heart & Stroke Fellowship Award, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada ($40,000 per annum)
  • 2007 - 2009 CIHR / TACTICS Fellowship Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research ($40,000 per annum)
  • 2007 Heart & Stroke Richard Lewar Centre for Excellence Fellowship Award, University of Toronto ($25,000 per annum; declined)
  • 2004 - 2007 Altana Pharma / FIRH Studentship Award, Altana Pharmaceuticals, Canada ($21,000 per annum)


Dr. Helli obtained a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree through the Biomedical Sciences Program at the University of Guelph.  Thereafter, he completed his Ph.D. at McMaster University under the supervision of Dr. Luke Janssen, in affiliation with the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health (St. Joseph’s Hospital).  Dr. Helli's graduate work focused on elucidating the cellular mechanisms contributing to airway smooth muscle hyper-responsiveness utilizing patch-clamp electrophysiology and calcium imaging techniques.

After completing his Ph.D. in 2007, Dr. Helli began postdoctoral studies with Dr. Peter Backx at the University of Toronto’s Heart & Stroke / Richard Lewar Center of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research (HSRLCE).  His research interests were in developing a better understanding of the role that phosphodiesterases play in the pathogenesis of heart failure utilizing transgenic mouse models.

Dr. Helli's current interests lie in the scholarship of teaching and learning, which focus on students’ perceptions of learning in undergraduate anatomy & physiology and student attitudes/perceptions of use of technologies in undergraduate anatomy & physiology.


Undergraduate Teaching

2014 (Term 1)    BScN Program, McMaster University

HTH SCI 1H06 (Human Anatomy & Physiology)

Nursing 2LA2 (Introduction to Integrated Pathophysiology for Nursing)

Nursing 2PF3 (Introduction to Integrated Pathophysiology for Basic Accelerated)

CI 2S03, Intro to Statistics for Nursing

2015 (Term 3)    

Nursing 3PF1 (Introduction to Integrated Pathophysiology for Accelerated) (Academic year 2014/2015)

Graduate Teaching

2015 (Term 2)

NUR 761 (Pathophysiology for PHCNP Programme) (Academic year 2014/2015)


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