Hsiao-Huei Chen profile picture

Contact Information

Hsiao-Huei Chen, PhD
6135625800x8133
hchen@uottawa.ca

Research Activities

The brain controls how much we eat, when we feel fed, and how our body uses the calories consumed. Modern fat-rich diet undermines this brain function and contributes to over-eating and obesity.  More than one third of Canadians are obese.  Obesity causes diabetes, elevating the risk of stroke and atherosclerosis. Anxiety affects 12% of Canadian population and anxiety disorders are prevalent in people with obesity-associated type 2 diabetes.  My laboratory is working to identify the common molecular links between metabolic disorders (diabetes and atherosclerosis), stroke and anxiety in order to develop common therapies to restore healthy brain function. The techniques used in the laboratory include molecular biology, cell culture, in vitro (brain slice) and in vivo electrophysiological recording and pharmacological . The animal models used include several cell-type specific transgenic or knockout mice, middle cerebral artery occlusion and photothrombosis for stroke studies, bone marrow transplantation for atherosclerosis.

Metabolic syndromes are also tied with neurological disorders, including schizophrenia and autism. We have identified new genetic models of these two disorders. Using AAV viral vectors and optogenetic methods together with patch-clamp recording of acute brain slices , we are investigating how neural circuits involved in these two disorders are affected in our genetic knockout mouse models. Pharmocgological intervention on these preclinical mouse models will be evaluated by electrophysiology, behaviour studies and biochemical analysis of cellular signalling.