Collaboration has been the main driving force behind our projects for many years.  Here is a short list of the current projects going on at NewNeuron:



Organotypic Slice Cultures

Here we describe a technique for studying hippocampal postnatal neurogenesis in the rodent brain using the organotypic slice culture technique.
This method maintains the characteristic topographical morphology of the hippocampus while allowing direct application of pharmacological
agents to the developing hippocampal dentate gyrus. Additionally, slice cultures can be maintained for up to 4 weeks and thus, allow one to study
the maturation process of newborn granule neurons. Slice cultures allow for efficient pharmacological manipulation of hippocampal slices while
excluding complex variables such as uncertainties related to the deep anatomic location of the hippocampus as well as the blood brain barrier.
For these reasons, we sought to optimize organotypic slice cultures specifically for postnatal neurogenesis research.

Project Attachments:

1.  cultured progenitors in dentate gyrus


Targeted Brain Irradiation


Image-guided irradiation has been our method of choice to reduce neurogenesis in the adult brain of rodents. The technique is clinically relevant since brain irradiation is commonly used to treat brain tumors and the collateral damage of this therapeutic procedure may involve inadvertent irradiation of the hippocampus in patient's brains. Our data can help to understand the physiological consequences such as cognitive deficits or memory loss. See our publications, (Tan et al., 2011, for example).

Project Attachments:

1.  MR images (purple) are merged with CT scans (green) to visualize the brain of each rat in 3D. The irradiaiton beam is positioned at the hippocampus to deliver a prescribed dose of irradiation.




Collaboration has been the main driving force behind our projects for many years

We rely on our collaborators to devise and perform ingenious behavioural tests applicable to animals and humans. Such tests are the ultimate outcomes of our experiments.


1. The Winocur lab at Trent University  has the facility to test learning and memory functions on rats and mice. The animals can be ordered on site or shipped from Toronto. In several studies the animals were ordered from Toronto, treated with irradiation in the veterinary hospital at Guelph University, and later shipped to Trent.


2. The Becker lab at McMaster University has a facility to test animals and humans. In the ongoing study the animals are treated by exposure to various stressful stimuli. The effects of such stress on adult neurogenesis will be examined in our laboratory in Toronto. Relevance to human stress is always on our mind and the experiments are designed to resemble the procedures that can be applied to human subjects. Sleep and food deprivation, exposure to white noise, or a threatening stimulus are a few examples of stressors that are being used.


3. The Orser lab at the University of Toronto specializes in neuronal mechanisms underlying brain inhibition and anaesthesia. Their interests overlap with ours since GABA the major inhibitory transmitter is also a putative trophic factor for neuronal growth. Their expertise in pharmacology and ionic mechanisms of GABA-ergic transmission is being applied to our collaborative study on the effects of delta-GABA receptors in adult neurogenesis.






  • J. Martin Wojtowicz
  • Yao-Fang Tan
  • Flora Nasri
  • Dr. Olga Shevtsova