Department Head, Associate Professor
Abbotsford campus, B360
Phone: 604-851-6377email Anthony
My name is Anthony (Tony) Stea and I am the Department Head for the Biology Department at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). I have been here since 1996 and in that time have taught and mentored many bright and engaged students. UFV facilitates a close connection between faculty and students and supports the unique hands-on learning approach we employ for our Biology students. I teach cell biology courses on metabolism and biochemistry (BIO201) and on gene regulation and signal transduction (BIO202) to our second year students. These courses allow students to learn about the cellular and molecular mechanisms of life using both theoretical and practical approaches. I teach upper level (3rd + 4th year) students in two courses; Developmental Biology (BIO312) and Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology (BIO305/BIO306). My developmental biology course focuses on the mechanisms of human development from fertilization to birth by referring to historical and modern studies on model organisms. One of my main teaching interests in this course is the potential uses and controversies surrounding stem cells. Much of my education and research has centered around vertebrate animals (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals) and in my BIO305/306 courses we look in depth at the diversity and adaptations in these fascinating creatures.
My research started at McMaster University where I studied a respiratory control organ called the carotid body for my Ph.D. I published many papers elucidating the cellular mechanisms by which this organ is able to sense oxygen levels in the blood and trigger changes in breathing (e.g. Stea A, Jackson A, Nurse CA. P.N.A.S, 89: 9469-9473 – 1992). I then worked at the University of British Columbia researching the roles of important proteins in nervous system signaling. I determined the roles of several key calcium ion channels in particular neurons in the brain (e.g. Stea A, Soong TW, Snutch TP. Neuron, 15: 929-940 – 1995). I have mentored students doing research at UFV for more than 20 years. My students have done a variety of interesting projects including; studying the effect of pesticide pollutants on rainbow trout embryo development, studying the toxic effect of insecticides on in vitro cultures, studying the prevalence of genetically modified food ingredients in processed foods, studying the toxic effects of antipsychotic drugs, etc. About 15 years ago, I began some research on a group of insecticides called pyrethroids which are synthetic forms of a natural chemical found in certain plants (e.g. Chrysanthemum). A student I had at the time determined that pyrethroids affect calcium ion channels and we published a research paper on the topic (Hildebrand ME, McRory JE, Snutch TP, Stea A. (2004) Mammalian voltage-gated calcium channels are potently blocked by the pyrethroid insecticide allethrin. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 308(3):805-13). That student, Mike Hildebrand is now an associate Professor at Carleton University. I continue to mentor students doing studies on pyrethroid insecticides (along with other projects) to further determine the toxic effects of these commonly used chemicals and to give our undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in hands-on research.