Roderick McInnes

Roderick McInnes

Department of Biochemistry (Not Accepting Graduate Students)

Retinal degenerations

Roderick R. McInnes, OC, MD, Ph.D., FRSC
Senior Investigator, Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital
Alva Chair in Human Genetics,
Professor of Genetics,
Professor of Biochemistry, McGill University
3755 Côte Ste-Catherine Road
Office: Rm F-15; Lab: Rm F-628 (6th fl.)
Montreal, Quebec H3T 1E2
Tel: 514-340-8110; Lab: 514-340-8222 Ext 6155
Fax: 514-340-7945
rod.mcinnes [at]

1978 - Ph.D., McGill University

Dr. McInnes's Publications Indexed on PubMed



Roderick R. McInnes, OC OOnt MD, Ph.D. is the Alva Chair in Human Genetics, Professor of Human Genetics and Biochemistry, and Senior Investigator at the Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital, all of McGill University.

Prof. McInnes was previously the Head of the Program in Developmental Biology at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, and a University Professor at the University of Toronto, an HHMI International Research Scholar, and the Inaugural Scientific Director of the Institute of Genetics of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). He has made important contributions to understanding the molecular basis of retinal and eye development, the identification of genes and processes associated with retinal degeneration, and knowledge of synaptic proteins that modulate ion channels in the nervous system. He is one of three coauthors of the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th editions of the classic textbook Thompson and Thompson’s Genetics in Medicine, for which the co-authors received the 2015 American Society of Human Genetics Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education. In 2010, Dr. McInnes was President of the American Society of Human Genetics. From 2009- 2021 (March) he was the Director of the Lady Davis Institute and until 2017, Canada Research Chair in Neurogenetics. In 2017-2018 he served as the Acting President of CIHR. He received the Paul Armstrong Lecture Award from the CAHS for leadership in advancing health sciences, and the Research Canada Leadership in Advocacy Award for championing health research at the national level in 2019. Dr. McInnes is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS). He was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2008 and made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2009, and an Officer of the Order in 2021.

Research Interests

Our lab is interested in two major questions in biology and medicine. First, in inherited neurodegenerations, we wish to understand what is happening in the mutant neurons, in the years to decades between their birth and their death years to decades later. After decades of normal function, why do the neurons suddenly die? To address this question, we are identifying molecular mechanisms that contribute to or protect against the death of mutant photoreceptors (PRs) in inherited photoreceptor degenerations (IPDs) using mouse models of these diseases. Understanding of these mechanisms is likely to suggest therapeutic opportunities that will slow or arrest PR death. Second, we wish to understand the roles of “accessory” proteins in the regulation of ion channels in neurons, particularly at synapses. Our focus is on two such proteins that we discovered, Neto1 and Neto2. The Neto proteins are multifunctional, as indicated by their loss-of-function phenotypes, which include defects in axon guidance, seizures in some genetic backgrounds, defects in memory and learning, and abnormal regulation of neuronal excitability. To date, we have identified at least 5 ion channels or other neuronal proteins whose activity is or appears to be regulated by a Neto. Elucidation of the role of the Netos in the brain is increasing our understanding of a surprisingly broad range of fundamental neuronal processes.

Selected Publications

Bramall, A. Wright, A., Jacobson, S. and Mclnnes, R. R. (2010). The genomic, biochemical, and cellular responses of the retina in inherited photoreceptor degenerations and prospects for the treatment of these disorders. Annual Review of Neuroscience 33, 441-472.

Ng, D., Pitcher,, G. M., Szilard, R. K., Sertié, A., Kanisek, M., Clapcote, S. J., Lipina, T., Kalia, L. V., Joo, D., McKerlie, C., Cortez, M., Roder, J. C., Salter, M. W., & McInnes, R. R. (2009). Neto1 is a novel CUB-domain NMDA receptor interacting protein required for synaptic plasticity and learning. PLoS Biology 7, 278-300.

Erclik, T., Hartenstein, V., Lipshitz, H. D. and McInnes, R. R. (2008). Conserved role of the Vsx genes supports a monophyletic origin for bilaterian visual systems. Current Biology 18, 1278-1287.

Publications (complete list) - Roderick McInnes



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