Michael O. Poulter

Mike Poulter


PH.D. McGill University
B.Sc. University of British Columbia
Office:  Robarts Research Institute
p. 519.663.3450 x. 24259
f. 519.663.3789
e. mpoulter@uwo.ca
Visit: Dr. Poulter at Robarts Research Institute
See Publications by Michael Poulter on PubMed

We are interested in identifying the molecular mechanisms by which the nervous system forms, maintains and re-grows inhibitory synapses both during development and disease processes, particularly epilepsy and depression. 

My Lab works primarily on epilepsy and depression in collaboration with other labs at University of Toronto (Dr P.L. Carlen), McGill (Dr M Szyf.) and Carleton university (Drs D.C. McIntyre and H. Anisman). While these are very different diseases we have shown in recent years that GABA receptor expression is altered and may play an important role in these neurological disorders. Thus our goal is too understand how the inhibitory system changes from both a genetic and functional point of view and what mechanisms may cause these changes ( such as DNA methylation) 

To accomplish these goals, we use a combination of techniques. We do patch clamp electrophysiology on model systems like cultured neurones as well in brain slices obtained from genetically seizure resistant and prone rats. We also examine human tissue for gene expression changes in depression and suicide. In addition we use in situ hybridisation histochemistry and immunocytochemistry to study the expression of GABAA receptor subunit mRNA and protein. 

Our long-term goal is to understand how GABAA receptor heterogeneity governs the many modes of synaptic inhibition which occur in brain. Through our work we hope that we will be able to develop new pharmacological strategies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and neurological disorders. 


  • Electrophysiological analysis of synaptic and ionic currents
  • Recombinant GABAA receptor electrophysiology
  • Molecular biological gene expression profiling, DNA methylation mapping QPCR
  • Immunocytochemistry of cultured cells including GABAA receptor subunit-specific antibodies


Gavrilovici C. D'Alfonso, S. Dann, M. and Poulter M.O. Augmentation of inhibitory neuortransmission non-pyramidal neurons in the piriform cortex after amygdala kindling. In press Eur J Neurosci

Schwabe K., Gravrilovici C., McIntyre D.C. and Poulter M.O. Seizure-prone rats are highly sensitive to neurosteroid potentiation J Neurophysiol. 94, 2171-81, 2005.

Meguro R., Lu J., Gavrilovici C. and M.O. Poulter Altered GABAA receptor subunit expression in identified interneurons before and after kindling J. Neurochem. 91:144-54, 2004.

Merali Z., Du L., Hrdina P., Palkovits, M., Faludi G., Poulter M.O. and Anisman H. Dysregulation in the suicide brain: mRNA expression of Corticotropin Releasing Hormone Receptors and GABAA Receptor subunits in Frontal Cortical Brain Region J. Neurosci. 24:1478-1485, 2004.

McIntyre D.C., Hutcheon B., Schwabe K., and Poulter M.O. Divergent GABAA receptor mediated synaptic transmission in genetically seizure-prone and -resistant rats. J. Neurosci. 22:9922-9931, 2002.