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.