Massimo Avoli, MD, PhD

Contact Information

Email: massimo.avoli [at] (Massimo Avoli)
Tel: 514-398-1955
Recent Publications: PubMed
Academic Affiliations: Neurology and Neurosurgery


Dr. Avoli’s laboratory employs electrophysiological, pharmacological and molecular approaches to analyze the excitability of the rodent forebrain in experimental preparations both in vivo and in vitro. These studies focus on the interplay of inhibitory and excitatory mechanisms, especially as they relate to the genesis of synchronicity in neuronal networks. These neuronal processes are thought to be fundamental for understanding the mechanisms underlying the generation of seizures in epileptic patients, which could lead to develop new anti-epileptic strategies. Dr. Avoli is particularly interested in the pathophysiology of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy, one of the most common forms of focal epilepsy in adulthood. Ongoing studies center on the role of GABAA receptor-mediated signaling, of neurosteroids, and of high-frequency oscillations (80-500 Hz) as well as the activity of single cells during epileptogenesis and ictogenesis in this focal epileptic disorder. Dr. Avoli employs optogenetic protocols to test the hypothesis that activation of specific cell types leads to peculiar seizure onset patterns in in vitro and in vivo preparations. These optogenetic procedures seek to identify whether and how such cellular processes might influence and halt epileptogenesis. Several of Dr. Avoli's studies originate from collaborations with his colleagues at the MNI, McGill University, and Université de Montréal (Drs. S. Baillet, G. Di Cristo, J. Gotman, and S. Williams), in Germany (Dr. R. Köhling), in Italy (Drs. G. Biagini, M. Cataldi and M. de Curtis), and in the USA (Drs. M. Bazhenov, M. Rogawski and S. Vicini).

Selected Publications

González OC, Shiri Z, Krishnan GP, Myers TL, Williams S, Avoli M, Bazhenov M. (2018) Role of KCC2-dependent potassium efflux in 4-aminopyridine-induced epileptiform synchronization. Neurobiol Dis. 109: 137-147.

Shiri Z, Lévesque M, Etter G, Manseau F, Williams S, Avoli M. (2017) Optogenetic low-frequency stimulation of specific neuronal populations abates ictogenesis. J Neurosci. 37: 2999-3008.

Shiri Z, Manseau F, Lévesque M, Williams S, Avoli M. (2016) Activation of specific neuronal networks leads to different seizure onset types. Ann Neurol. 79: 354-65.

Avoli M, de Curtis M, Gnatkovsky V, Gotman J, Köhling R, Lévesque M, Manseau F, Shiri Z, Williams S. (2016) Specific imbalance of excitatory/inhibitory signaling establishes seizure onset pattern in temporal lobe epilepsy. J Neurophysiol. 115: 3229-3237.

Lévesque M, Herrington R, Hamidi S, Avoli M. (2016) Interneurons spark seizure-like activity in the entorhinal cortex. Neurobiol Dis. 87: 91-101.

Lévesque M, Salami P, Gotman J, Avoli M. (2012) Two seizure-onset types reveal specific patterns of high-frequency oscillations in a model of temporal lobe epilepsy. J Neurosci. 32: 13264-13272.


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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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