Neurobiology and Development

Neural Circuit Development

Under the direction of Artur Kania

Research Unit

The function of our nervous system is to translate sensory stimuli such as pain into voluntary movement. The basic units of nervous system output are motor neurons which transmit the summation of the motor system’s activity to muscles. Interest in the assembly of the motor system has been spurned by the susceptibility of motor neurons to neurodegenerative diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, developmental defects associated with movement disorders and the search for spinal cord injury therapies. 

To understand how the motor system is assembled, members of the Neural Circuit Development Research Unit are using genetic and cellular manipulations in mouse and chick, and have identified two classes of proteins, called netrins and ephrins, that motor neurons use to connect to their targets. They are studying how these signals are integrated which is a major question in neurobiology. Significantly, the same signals are involved in cancer and neurological disorders and our experiments are aimed to get insights into those conditions.

Artur Kania

Research Unit Director

  • Director, Neural Circuit Development Research Unit, IRCM
  • IRCM Research Professor
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Medicine (Division of Experimental Medicine), Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, and Department of Biology, McGill University 

Other affiliations

  • Reviewing Editor, The Journal of Neuroscience
  • Section Editor, Neuroscience
  • Member, Quebec Pain Research Network, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé

Degrees and relevant experience

  • PhD in human and molecular genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, USA (1991-1996)
  • Predoctoral fellow, Human and Molecular Genetics, Dr. Hugo Bellen’s laboratory, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, USA (1991-1996)
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Thomas M. Jessell’s laboratory, Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Columbia University, New York, USA (1996-2000)
  • Associate researcher, Dr. Thomas M. Jessell’s laboratory, Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Columbia University, New York, USA (2000-2004)
Artur Kania
Research Unit Director
Farin Bourojeni
PhD student
Chao Chang
PhD student
David Cotnoir-White
Research Associate
Louis-Philippe Croteau
Postdoctoral fellow
Ahmad Gebai
PhD Student
Meirong Liang
Research Assistant
Shima Rastegarpouyani
PhD student
Brian Roome
PhD student
Charleen Salesse
Postdoctoral Fellow
Xinying Zhang
M.Sc. student
Céline Chéneau
Executive Assistant


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Contact information

Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM)
110, des Pins Avenue West
Montréal, Québec  H2W 1R7

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Neurobiology and Development