Neuroscience Research

Neuroscience is the multidisciplinary study of the nervous system and a rapidly growing area of expertise at OVC. Our biomedical researchers focus on a variety of topics including characterization of pattern formation during normal brain development, the identification and characterization of novel mechanisms of synaptic plasticity, gene expression patterns and signaling pathways activated in aging and Alzheimer's Disease, the characterization of mutant ion channels in disease and the role of sex hormones in brain function. OVC is also home to veterinary neurologists who study comparative epilepsy, electroencephalography, translational genetics of neurologic disease, neuroimaging, 3D medical modelling, neuroncology, CNS inflammatory diseases, and neurosurgical techniques.


Dr. Craig Bailey: Associate Professor

  • Development and function of the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus; Neurodevelopmental disorders including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Dr. Giannina Descalzi: Assistant Professor

  • Intersection of pain and emotion; Pain induced dysregulation of brain circuits and gene function; Chronic pain in companion and production animals; Multidisciplinary approach to determine causal relationships between circuit level changes in gene expression and behavioural pathology; Astrocyte-neuronal coupling in chronic pain; Chronic pain during development

Dr. Luis Gaitero: Associate Professor; Diplomate, ECVM

  • Neuroncology; CNS inflammatory diseases; neurosurgery

Dr. Fiona James: Associate Professor; Diplomate, ACVIM (Neurology)

  • Comparative epilepsy; electroencephalography; translational genetics of neurologic disease; neuroimaging; and 3D medical modelling

Dr. Bettina Kalisch: Associate Professor

  • Nerve growth factor signal transduction pathways; Role of nitric oxide in the regulation of expression of cholinergic genes, amyloid precursor protein, tau, low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein and apolipoprotein E; Effects of oxidative stress on the regulation of expression of these genes

Dr. Jibran Khokhar: Assistant Professor

  • Neurobiology of co-occurring schizophrenia and substance use disorders; Combining pharmacological, behavioural and pre-clinical neuroimaging methods to develop novel medications for use in "dual-disorder" patients; Uncovering the long-term effects of adolescent drug use, and how these effects might contribute to the risk for serious mental illness and addiction; Assessing the neurobiological effects of pesticide contamination in drugs of abuse (e.g., cannabis)

Dr. Neil MacLusky: Professor

  • Effects of androgens on the brain, particularly in relation to interactions with stress responses; Potential mechanisms underlying sex differences in disease; Mechanisms underlying steroid-mediated protection against neurodegenerative disease

Dr. Melissa Perreault: Associate Professor

  • Using animal model systems, in vitro and in vivo systems electrophysiology, pharmacology, pharmacogenetics, neurochemistry, behaviour to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the pathology of neuropsychiatric disorders ; Sex differences is neuropsychiatric disorder risk and symptom manifestation (depression, autism spectrum disorders); Brain wave patterns as biomarkers for neuropsychiatric disorder pathology and therapeutic efficacy; GSK-3 signaling in brain systems function and cognitive disorders (schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders, Alzheimer's disease)

Dr. Tarek Saleh: Professor

  • Central regulation of autonomic function; Application of electrophysiological and hemodynamic techniques to investigate the role of central autonomic regulatory nuclei in the control of blood pressure and heart rate; Investigating the involvement of neurochemicals and neurohormones (ie estrogen) in autonomic nuclei which have been implicated in the central component of the baroreflex in health and disease; Investigating the role of hormones in functional neuroprotection from neurodegenerative diseases such as stroke (ischemia/reperfusion)

See All Research Programs