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Group Leader

Dr. Mahmud Bani
National Research Council Canada
Institute for Biological Sciences
Bldg M-54, 1200 Montreal Rd
Ottawa, ON K1A 0R6
Telephone: 613-993-5723

Business Contact

Stacey Nunes, B.Sc., MBA
Business Development Officer
National Research Council Canada
Institute for Biological Sciences
Bldg M-54, 1200 Montreal Rd
Ottawa, ON K1A 0R6
Telephone: 613-993-9212
Fax: 613-952-5136

Group Focus

The Group's mandate is to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurogenesis and develop neuroprotective and neuroregenerative strategies for brain injury and Parkinson’s disease. The current approach includes identification of novel therapeutic targets at the molecular level, delivery of anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic factors to reduce neuronal loss in the injured or diseased brain and development of biocompatible neuroimplants to re-establish neuronal networks and enhance functional recovery.

Team members

Research Officers: Dr. Marianna Sikorska; Dr. Mahmud Bani, Dr. Jagdeep Sandhu
Technical Officers: Dr. Maria Ribecco-Lutkiewicz; Roger Tremblay, Caroline Sodja, Patricia Lanthier, Julie Leblanc, Dao Ly, Brandon Smith, Harvey Miller
Graduate Student: Anna Jezierski

Ongoing Research Activities and Projects

Using knowledge on integrated intrinsic and extrinsic signals that control neurogenesis, we develop and test biocompatible neuroimplants, consisting of engineered cells, factors and polymers to stimulate functional recovery and neuroregenaration in the injured brain. Complementary molecular, cellular and imaging techniques are used to evaluate gene expression, cell phenotype, intercellular communication and integration of neuroimplants into the brain neuronal network.

Glia and neuroprotection
Inflammation in the brain (neuroinflammation) is a component of both acute and chronic neurodegenerative diseases. Using in vitro and in vivo models of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, our on-going research efforts are focused on understanding the effects of glia-derived cytokines and/or chemokines on neuronal viability. In particular, we are searching for metabolic pathways targeted by cytokine/chemokines in order to therapeutically modulate neuron-glia function.

Molecular neurogenomics
MicroRNAs are a highly conserved class of non-coding RNAs that act to regulate gene expression via translational repression and/or transcript degradation. We are investigating how key microRNAs control the process of neurogenesis in the context of stem cells in order to facilitate cell replacement therapies. We are analyzing the signaling pathways and underlying genetic elements responsible for side-effects caused by the long term administration of neurological medications, such as that used in Parkinson’s disease.

Partnering Opportunities

Collaborations and partnerships with academic and industrial collaborators with complementary interest and/or expertise in gene regulation, signaling pathways, stem cells, neurogenesis, apoptosis, gene delivery and cell transplantation

Expertise and available technologies

  • In vitro models of mouse and human embryonic and neural stem cells, neural progenitors, and embryonal carcinoma cells
  • Parkinson’s disease MPTP mouse model
  • Mitochondrial genetics and biology, nitric oxide-donating drugs and protein nitration
  • Plasmids, retroviral and lentiviral vectors
  • Yeast one and two hybrid screening systems for intermolecular interactions
  • Chromatin cross-linking and immunoprecipitation for the interactions of transcription factors and cis-acting DNA regulatory elements
  • Cell sorting and flow cytometry
  • miRNA array technology
  • miRNA target identification and validation
  • In vivo and organotypic cultures of motor cortex injury mouse model
  • Gene expression analyses by RT-PCR, Q-PCR, and in situ PCR


  • Microscopy imaging facility
  • Bioinformatics