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Contact Information

Robin Parks, Ph.D.

Heidi Hickey
(Research Administrative Assistant)
Tel: 613-737-8899 x72794

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Robin Parks

Senior Scientist, Regenerative Medicine Program
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Professor, Department of Medicine
University of Ottawa
Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology
University of Ottawa
Director of PhD Research, Department of Medicine
The Ottawa Hospital
Co-Director, Centre for Neuromuscular Disease
University of Ottawa

Research Interests

  • Development and characterization of adenoviral vectors for use in gene therapy.
  • Exploring exosomes as biomarkers and therapeutic delivery vehicles for motor neuron disease, including spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  
  • Improving the efficacy of adenovirus-based oncolytic viruses for treatment of cancer.  
  • Expanding our knowledge of basic adenovirus biology, and identifying novel drugs to combat adenovirus-induced disease.      

Major Research Activities:  

Our research interests range from characterizing various aspects of basic adenovirus (Ad) biology to exploring the efficacy of Ad-based vectors for the delivery of therapeutic genes in animal models of genetic or acquired disease. Ad is the most commonly used gene delivery platform for gene therapy applications, and our goal is to improve our understanding of Ad biology to enhance its safety and efficacy as a gene delivery vehicle. More recently, we explored the use of exosomes, small nano-sized particles released from all cells in the body, as potential biomarkers for motor neuron disease – to aid in disease diagnosis and monitoring response to therapy.  Given that exosomes are naturally involved in cell-to-cell communication, we are also exploring exosomes as a means to deliver therapeutic proteins to diseased cells in cell culture and animal models of human disease.  

Joining the Parks Laboratory Research Team:  

We are always looking for talented and motivated graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to join our research team.  Please send your curriculum vitae and brief statement of research interest to

Brief Biography

Dr. Parks completed a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Guelph (Guelph, Ontario), working on biochemical and genetic characterization of poxvirus replication and recombination. In 1996, Dr. Parks began a Postdoctoral Fellowship with Dr. Frank L. Graham, in the Departments of Biology and Pathology, McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario), working on the development of novel adenoviral vectors for use as gene delivery vehicles for gene therapy applications. Dr. Parks joined the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in January 1999.

Selected Publications

Last 3 Years

103. Saha, B. and R.J. Parks (2019) Histone deacetylase inhibitor suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid suppresses human adenovirus gene expression and replication. J Virol. 93(12). pii: e00088-19. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00088-19.
104. Del Papa, J., J. Petryk, J.C. Bell, and R.J. Parks (2019) An Oncolytic Adenovirus Vector Expressing p14 FAST Protein Induces Widespread Syncytium Formation and Reduces Tumor Growth Rate In Vivo. Molecular Therapy Oncolytics. 14:107-120.
105. Zhang, Y., C.Y. Han, F.G. Duan, X.X. Fan, X.J. Yao, R.J. Parks, Y.J. Tang, M.F. Wang, L. Liu, B.K. Tsang, E.L. Leung (2019) p53 sensitizes chemoresistant non-small cell lung cancer via elevation of reactive oxygen species and suppression of EGFR/PI3K/AKT signaling. Cancer Cell Int. 2019 Jul 19;19:188. doi: 10.1186/s12935-019-0910-2.
106. Han, C.Y., D.A. Patten, S.I. Kim, J.J. Lim, M.K.Y. Siu, Y. Han, E. Carmona, R. Parks, C. Lee, K.K. L. Chan7, J.-L. Ku, E.A. Macdonald, B. Vanderhyden, A.M. Mes-Masson, H.Y. S. Ngan, A. Cheung, Y.S. Song, M.-E. Harper and B.K. Tsang. p53 promotes chemoresponsiveness by regulating Hexokinase II gene transcription and metabolic reprogramming in epithelial ovarian cancer. Molecular Carcinogenesis 2019 Sep 4. doi: 10.1002/mc.23106. 
107. Saha, B., O. Varette, W.L. Stanford, J.-S. Diallo and R.J. Parks. Development of a novel screening platform for the identification of small molecule inhibitors of human adenovirus. 2019. Virology 538:24-34.

108. Poulin, K.L, E.R. McFall, G. Chan, N.B. Provost, C. Christou, A.C. Smith, R.J. Parks (2020) Fusion of large polypeptides to human adenovirus type 5 capsid protein IX can compromise virion stability and DNA packaging capacity. J Virol. 17;94(17):e01112-20.
109. Del Papa, J., R.G. Clarkin, R.J. Parks (2020) Use of cell fusion proteins to enhance adenoviral vector efficacy as an anti-cancer therapeutic. Cancer Gene Therapy doi: 10.1038/s41417-020-0192-9.
110. Saha, B. and R.J. Parks (2020) Recent Advances in Novel Antiviral Therapies against Human Adenovirus. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 1284.
111. Jennings, M.R. and R.J. Parks (2020) Antiviral Effects of Curcumin on Adenovirus Replication. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 1524; doi:10.3390/microorganisms8101524.
112. Tzelepis, F., H. Kaur Birdi, A. Jirovec, S. Boscardin, C. Tanese de Souza, M. Hooshyar, A. Chen, K. Sutherland, R. Parks, J. Werier, and J.-S. Diallo (2020) Oncolytic rhabdovirus vaccine boosts chimeric anti-DEC205 priming for effective cancer immunotherapy. Molecular Therapy Oncolytics.
113. Jennings, M.R. and R.J. Parks (2020) Curcumin as an antiviral agent. Viruses 12:1242;

114. Saha, B. and R.J. Parks (2021) Identification of human adenovirus replication inhibitors from a library of small molecules targeting cellular epigenetic regulators. Virology 555:102-110. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2020.07.007.
115. Warman-Chardon J, Jasmin BJ, Kothary R, Parks RJ. (2021). Report on the 5th Ottawa International Conference on Neuromuscular Disease & Biology -October 17-19, 2019, Ottawa, Canada.J Neuromuscul. Dis.8(2): 323-334
116. Rene, CA. and Parks, RJ. (2021). Delivery of therapeutic agents to the central nervous system and thepromise of extracellular vesicles.Pharmaceutics. In Press.
117. Ard, R., J.-C. Maillet, E. Daher, M. Phan, R. Zinoviev, R.J. Parks and S.H. Gee. (2021). MARCKS domain phosphorylation regulates the differential interaction of Diacylglycerol Kinaseζ with Rac1, RhoA and Syntrophin. available at bioRxiv In Press.
118. Ard R, Maillet JC, Daher E, Phan M, Zinoviev R, Parks RJ, , Gee SH. (2021). PKCα-mediated phosphorylation of the diacylglycerol kinase ζ MARCKS domain switches cell migration modes byregulating interactions with Rac1 and RhoA.J Biol Chem. In Press.
119. Collard, M.S., J. Warman-Chardon and R.J. Parks,. (2021). Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Therapeutic development and the search formolecular biomarkers, Submitted.

Diseases, conditions and populations of interest

Research and clinical approaches