Neuropharmacology involves the study and treatment of debilitating diseases of the nervous system, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, mental depression and drug abuse. Investigations in this field are by definition multidisciplinary in nature. They address the fundamental mechanisms underlying drug action in the nervous system, and the knowledge already gained through the research of several of our staff members should lead to the discovery of novel treatments for these disorders.
Other colleagues are studying how certain drugs act to combat arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). Infertility, a serious medical problem affecting 250,000 Canadians, is also under investigation in the Department. In focusing on male infertility, research being undertaken is aimed at improving our understanding of this condition. It also includes the development of strategies to improve methods of contraception with fewer side effects, including a male contraceptive pill.
As well, toxic effects of drugs on animal models, particularly in pregnancy and in the developing embryo are being studied.
Using molecular biological approaches including epigenomics, nanomedicine and receptor signalling, we are studying the mechanisms triggering pathological cell changes which cause cancer and many other diseases, to discover ways to control them. The possibility of using genetic elements as a new class of therapeutic agents is also being investigated.