- Knowledge Translation/Implementation Science
- Other. Neuropharmacology & Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
- Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy
My research involves studying the brain and mental health using two aligned but very different approaches. On the knowledge translation side, I am interested in how health professionals (with a focus on pharmacists) understand the intersection between the medical use of drugs and the non-medical use of licit and illicit substances. How might improving the knowledge base of substance use (at the trainee or continuing education level) improve health care delivery and how can we measure its impact? My other approach is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal function. This research involves protein biochemical techniques, the use of primary cultured neurons and ex vivo hippocampal slice, fluorescent and confocal imaging, and electrophysiology. Specifically receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs or growth factor receptors) in neuronal signaling. Many RTKs are crucial for neuronal development, yet their role in the developed central nervous system remains poorly characterized. Although they are not targeted directly by therapeutic agents, these receptors and their ligands (particularly brain-derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF) have been implicated in the pathophysiology and treatment of several CNS disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, depression, schizophrenia, and substance use disorders.