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Contact Information

Robin Parks, Ph.D.

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

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

100. Parks, R.J. and E. Gussoni (2018) Building immune tolerance through DNA vaccination. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Sep 25;115(39):9652-9654. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1813461115.
101. Giberson, A.N., B. Saha, K. Campbell, C. Christou, K.L. Poulin, and R.J. Parks (2018) Human adenoviral DNA association with nucleosomes containing histone variant H3.3 during the early phase of infection is not dependent on viral transcription or replication. Biochem. and Cell. Biol. 96(6):797-807.
102. Warman Chardon, J., B.J. Jasmin, R. Kothary and R.J. Parks (2018) Report on the 4th Ottawa International Conference on Neuromuscular Disease and Biology - September 5-7, 2017, Ottawa, Canada. Journal of Neuromuscular Diseases. 5(4):539-552.

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. (available online ahead of print).
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 (available online ahead of print).
110. Saha, B. and R.J. Parks (2020) Identification of human adenovirus replication inhibitors from a library of small molecules targeting cellular epigenetic regulators. Virology (in press).

Diseases, conditions and populations of interest

Brain and neuromuscular disease; Cancer; Common cold; Muscular dystrophy; Neuromuscular disease

Research and clinical approaches

Gene therapy; Molecular and cellular biology; Viral therapy