Welcome from the Neuroscience Research Cluster Leader

Adil Nazarali

The activities of our clinician and basic neuroscience researchers at the University of Saskatchewan are focused on obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the development, structure and function of the nervous system. Our goal is to gain a better understanding of the causes of neurological disorders, cognitive dysfunction and nervous system disease mechanisms.

Our clinicians and basic researchers develop a dynamic synergy to bring “bench” research to the “bed side” with an ultimate goal to directly impact patient care and health outcomes. We are working to develop new treatment strategies for patients with several neurological diseases. Research is targeted to cellular and biological mechanisms of aging, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, diabetes, epilepsy, head and spinal cord injury, mental health and psychiatric disorders, multiple sclerosis, pain, Parkinson’s disease and stroke.  

The research laboratories of many of our neuroscience researchers are housed in the new Academic Health Sciences Building where we foster an interactive environment through shared space and facilities to enhance collaborative and interdisciplinary research. Our researchers utilize a range of techniques from behavioral testing, cell biology, electrophysiology, electron and multiphoton microscopy, brain imaging, molecular biology and the synchrotron light source located at the University of Saskatchewan.

You are welcome to explore our website and learn more about our researchers, trainees, research projects, news items and opportunities.  

I would be happy to hear from you, so please feel free to contact me with your questions or comments. 

Adil J. Nazarali

Dept. of Physiology and Neuroscience Cluster Presents


Dr. Victor Viau

Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, 
University of British Colombia 
Date: April 20th, 2017

Place: Room 1150 E wing, Helath Sciences Building
Time: 10:30 am

Sex differences in the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and stress habituation


Governed by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) neuroendocrine axis, stress-induced elevations in circulating glucocor ticoids are adaptive in that they allow the organism to meet the energetic demands of threats to the body. However, chronic or sustained elevations in glucocorticoids are maladaptive and are often associated with mood, metabolic, and cardiovascular disorders. Males and females are differentially predisposed to these disorders, as well as show differences in HPA responses to homeostatic threat. Evidence will be presented to underscore that there is a huge amount of substrate dedicated to registering changes in gonadal steroid hormone status to the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, the final common pathway regulating adaptive neuroendocrine responses. Stressful experiences and alterations in the serotoninergic (5-HT) neurotransmitter system are implicated as factors contributing to such mood disorders as depression. The 5-HT 1A receptor subtype is tied to the stimulatory effects of serotonin on the HPA axis, but also plays a pivotal role in the mechanism of action of antidepressants. Most basic and clinical studies on 5-HT, however, have been conducted in male subjects only. Thus, most of what we think we understand about stress, 5-HT and depression may not be the same between males and females. Pathways and mechanisms by which variations in stress HPA axis function are explained by sex differences in 5-HT 1A receptor activity will also be discussed.