Azrieli Centre for Autism Research (ACAR): Transforming autism research, training and care -- improving lives via Open Science

Wayne Sossin

Wayne Sossin

Wayne Sossin, PhD, is a James McGill Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at The Neuro, where he also leads the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Group.

He joined the Azrieli Centre for Autism Research (ACAR) in 2021. 

What drives your research?

I have always been fascinated in how the brain works, starting with a lifelong interest in the molecular mechanisms underlying memory. This led me to a great interest in synaptic plasticity, which is not only critical for memory, but also for neurodevelopment.

More and more of the processes I studied turned out to have important roles in development. This naturally led me to study neurodevelopmental conditions, including autism more specifically.

I want to understand the specialized brain functions that cause neurodevelopmental conditions like autism. Foremost, my lab studies a very neuronal-specific mechanism to transport mRNAs to synapses and then translate them on demand. The mRNAs are stored in RNA granules.

Many of the proteins that we study, such as the protein lost in Fragile X syndrome, regulate this process. And so, a better understanding of this process - and how it is affected when it is disrupted - will lead to a better understanding of brain development.

How will your research improve the lives of autistic individuals? 

My research is fundamental. We try to understand the processes of brain development that are affected in autism. I think this gives insight into which avenues show the most promise for therapeutic interventions in the future.

How has ACAR helped to advance your research? 

The Azrieli Centre for Autism Research has supported my work and allowed me to hire a new student as part of my team. It has greatly increased my knowledge about autism - allowing me to gain new insights into my own work and further advance my research impacts in this field.


Wayne Sossin, PhD, received undergraduate degrees in Biology and Computer Science from MIT, and a doctorate at Stanford in Biological Sciences with Richard Scheller. He did post-doctoral work with Dr. Schwartz at Columbia University in the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior before being appointed Assistant Professor at The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) at McGill University in 1993, where he is now a James McGill Professor.

Sossin has been an EJLB Scholar, CIHR investigator, and a FRSQ Checheur Nationaux. He has published over 125 papers on the molecular and cellular processes underlying memory formation and maintenance, with a particular interest in the role of persistent protein kinases and the regulation of local translation in this process.

Sossin has a growing interest in neurodevelopment through both understanding the role of local protein synthesis in this process and the recent identification of calpain 15 as an important protein, mutated in neurodevelopmental conditions. He was recently named group leader of the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Group at The Neuro.

Research Areas

Neurodevelopment, Memory, Synaptic plasticity, Protein Synthesis

List of Selected Publications

Zha C, Farah CA, Holt RJ, Ceroni F, Al-Abdi L, Thuriot F, Khan AO, Helaby R, Lévesque S, Alkuraya FS, Kraus A, Ragge NK, Sossin WS. 2020 Biallelic variants in the small optic lobe calpain CAPN15 are associated with congenital eye anomalies, deafness and other neurodevelopmental deficits. Hum Mol Genet. ;29(18):3054-3063. 10.1093/hmg/ddaa198

Anadolu MA and Sossin WS (2020) Focusing on mRNA Granules and Stalled Polysomes Amidst Diverse Mechanisms Underlying mRNA Transport, mRNA Storage, and Local Translation. Oxford Handbook of Neuronal Protein synthesis In Sossin (Ed) Oxford Press.

Ferguson L, Hu J, Cai D, Chen S, Dunn TW, Pearce K, Glanzman DL, Schacher S, Sossin WS (2019) Isoform specificity of PKMs during long-term facilitation in Aplysia is mediated through stabilization by KIBRA. J. Neurosci. 39:8632-8644

Sossin WS (2018) Memory synapses are distinguished by distinct molecular complexes: A proposal. Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience doi: 10.3389/fnsyn.2018.00005.

Sossin WS and Costa-Mattioli M (2018) Translational Control in the Brain in Health and Disease. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a032912

Graber, TE Freemantle, E Hebert-Seropian, S Anadolu, M MacAdam, R Shin, U #Lacaille, JC #Sossin, WS Co-corresponding authors. (2017). UPF1 governs synaptic plasticity through association with a STAU2 RNA granule. Journal of Neuroscience. J Neurosci. 2017 Sep 20;37(38):9116-9131

Hu J, Ferguson L, Adler K, Farah CA, Hastings MH, Sossin WS, Schacher S. (2017) Selective erasure of distinct forms of long-term synaptic plasticity underlying different forms of memory in the same postsynaptic neuron. Current Biology, 27(13):1888-1899.e4.

Graber TE, Hebert-Seropian S, Khoutorsky A, David, A Yewdell JW, Lacaille J-C, Sossin WS. (2013) Reactivation of stalled polyribosomes in synaptic plasticity. PNAS. Oct 1;110(40):16205-10.


Email: wayne.sossin [at]

Phone: 514-398-1486


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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.



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