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Director: Dr. Steven Laviolette

Dr. Laviolette’s Laboratory is focused on unraveling the mysteries of the emotional brain. More specifically, we are using translational and clinical neuroscience techniques to understand how disturbances in the brain's emotional processing centres can lead to the development of serious neuropsychiatric disorders like addiction, depression, schizophrenia, PTSD and anxiety. Our team has made numerous discoveries related to how the mammalian brain is influenced by chronic drug exposure and how signaling through the brain’s cannabinoid and opioid systems can control emotional processing in specific brain circuits. Recently, Dr. Laviolette’s team has been examining how specific phytochemical constituents of cannabis, such as THC and cannabidiol, can differentially control brain pathways related to emotional processing, memory formation and cognitive dysregulation present in various neuropsychiatric disorders. Research in Dr. Laviolette’s laboratory is identifying unique molecular signaling pathways by which cannabis-derived phytochemicals may serve as pharmacotherapies for specific mental health disorders including schizophrenia, addiction, depression and anxiety.


Dr. Laviolette is the recipient of numerous national and international research awards, including, a C.I.H.R. New Investigator Fellowship, an Early Researcher Award from the Province of Ontario, the Young Investigator Award from N.A.R.S.A.D, a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, the Leader’s Opportunity Fund Award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and a Faculty Scholar's Award from the University of Western Ontario.


Dr. Laviolette currently serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Drug Free Kids Canada, is a member of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran’s Health Research and is the former Chair of the Review Committee for the Ontario Mental Health Foundation.

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Our Team:

Our research is only possible due to the dedication and talent of our amazing team of Undergraduate, Graduate and Post-Doctoral Researchers:

Current and Former Post-Doctoral Researchers:

Dr. Marieka Devuono (BrainScan Fellow)
Dr. Hanna Szkudlarek

Dr. Marta De Felice (BrainScan Fellow)
Dr. Mina Nashed (BrainScan Fellow)
Dr. Maria Del Mar Rodriguez Ruiz (MITACS Fellow)
Dr. Taygun Uzuneser (MITACS Fellow)
Dr. Enzo Perez Valenzuela
Dr. Justine Renard
Dr. Cecilia Kramar
Dr. Michael Loureiro
Dr. Aurelie Fitoussi
Dr. Ninglei Sun
Dr. Xavier De Jaeger
Dr. Shervin Gholizadeh
Dr. Alessandra Lintas
Dr. Matt Green
Dr. Huibing Tan

Current and Former Graduate Students:

Mohammed Sarikahya (Ph.D. program)
Matt Jones (M.Sc. program)

Jason Ng (M.Sc. program)
Emma Proud (M.Sc. program)
Dana Gummerson (M.Sc. program)
Roger Hudson (Ph.D. program)
Dr. Chris Norris (Ph.D)
Dr. Laura Rosen (Ph.D)
Dr. Tasha Ahmad (Ph.D)
Dr. Nicole Lauzon (Ph.D)
Tony Jung (M.Sc.)
Richard Leu (M.Sc)
Nathashi Jayawardena (M.Sc)
Christina Jobson (M.Sc)
Jing Jing Li (M.Sc)
Dinat Khan (M.Sc)
Brian Pereira (M.Sc)
Jordan Zunder (M.Sc)
Ning Chi (M.Sc)
Stephanie Bishop (M.Sc)
Brittany Draycott (M.Sc)
Danika Lyons (M.Sc)


Research Collaborators:

Dr. Walter Rushlow, Dept. of Psychiatry, Dept. of Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario

Dr. Shawn Whitehead, Dept. of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Dept. of Clinical Neurological Sciences, University of Western Ontario

Dr. Daniel Hardy, Dept. of Physiology & Pharmacology, Childrens Health Research Institute, University of Western Ontario

Dr. Ken Yeung, Dept. of Chemistry, University of

Western Ontario

Dr. Susanne Schmid, Dept. of Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario

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