Dr. Kathryn G. Todd

Professor and Director of the Centre for Neuroscience

I obtained my PhD at the University of Alberta. My undergraduate degree is in Rehabilitation Medicine. I completed post doctoral fellowships in Nantes and Paris, France and Montreal, Quebec. 

I have the good fortune to work with a great group of graduate students. Below you will find descriptions of their projects and pictures of those brave enough to show their faces.


Lab Members

Mee-Sook Song – Postdoctoral Fellow

I obtained my Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the University of Alberta. My research interest is on understanding the pathology of brain cells in neurological and psychiatric disorders. Using in vitro and in vivo experimental models, neuronal death and glial activation are investigated at cellular and molecular levels. Pharmacological or genetic regulation against cellular and molecular level changes under pathological conditions is my primary goal to pursue a clinical application. I collaborate with Dr. G.B. Baker at the Neurochemical Research Unit in Psychiatry.

Aaron Lai – PhD Candidate

My area of research deals with the controversial role ofneuroinflammationinCNS pathology, withafocuson microglia. I am currently looking at bothintercellular signaling mechanisms that act as switches which may direct microglia to promote either neuroprotection or neurotoxicity. Additionally, the intrinsic differences among distinct microglial populations are also examined as a potential determining factor. I specialize in in vitro techniques anduse primary cultures as my system of study.

Kam Dhami – PhD Student

I graduated with a BSc (Honour's) in Neuroscience from the Universityof AlbertainJune 2006.  Myresearch interests include cell death by means of apoptosis, necrosis, and autophagy (the self-digestion of a cell).  In particular, I am interested in the process of autophagy.  Autophagy can be initiated during a period of nutrient starvation or depletion during which time cellular components are broken down via autophagosomes to supply the cell with nutrients.  Inflammatory processes are also absent during autophagy as opposed to apopotsis where they are present.

Currently, I am observing the effect of anti-depressant drugs on inflammatory mediators such as nitric oxide, TNF-, and IL-1 when added to activated microglia via lipopolysaccharide administration.  Different classes of antidepressant drugs are used such as tricyclics (imipramine, clomipramine), monoamine oxide inhibitors (phenelzine, tranylcypromine) and SSRIs (fluoxetine or prozac, and citalopram).  Inflammatory mediators released by microglia play a pivotal role in the apoptotic cell process, which we hope to avert, thus saving brain cell and brain function as a result.

Glenn Armitage – PhD Student

I am supervised by Dr. Ashfaq Shuaib and Dr. Kathryn Todd, and I am currently studying the role that Endothelial Progenitor Cells and Endothelial Lipase play in vasculogenesis post stroke. EPCs are a recently discovered adult stem cell population that participate in vasculogenesis, and are highly mobilized under pathological conditions where there is vascular dysfunction. Study of this population of cells could generate information highly useful in the recovery of patients who have recently had a stroke or myocardial infarction. When not doing research you will find me watching the Vancouver Canucks.

Comfort Dibal – MSc Student


Bin Dong – Research Assistant


Kim Wong -- Research Assistant





Sara Mahmoud - MSc Student

I finished my under graduate studies at the faculty of pharmacy, Cairo, Egypt. I worked for three years as a graduate student at the national research center (pharmacology department) in Egypt during which I gained lots of experience doing in vivo studies. I joined Dr Todd`s lab to get my master degree in JAN2011.  I am most interested in the metabolic disorders and how they affect the brain function, communication and signaling between different brain cell types.

Shakib Rahman - MSc Student

I am supervised by both Dr. Ashfaq Shuaib and Dr. Kathryn Todd. My research interests are the role of proteinases in disruption of the blood brain barrier in a stroke model. Specifically, I am investigating the effects of treatment with protease inhibiting drugs and the only approved thrombotic drug to determine if there are any interactions between the two. My other work includes molecular biology studies on the signaling cascade after an ischemic stroke on activation of various inflammatory mediators, proteases and their endogenous inhibitors. Currently I am working on hyperthermia and stroke, its treatment and changes in perfusion deficits after an ischemic stroke.


Former Lab Members

Lauren Jantize                                                                   Scott Hess

Melissa Kelly                                                                      Bethany Steen

Yoko Azumaya                                                                  Veronique Tanay

Bernard Sowa