Albert Lab

Albert Lab

Paul Albert profile picture

Contact Information

Paul Albert, PhD
613-562-5800 8307

OHRI (Neuroscience)
451 Smyth Road
Ottawa, ON K1H-8M5

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Paul Albert

Senior Scientist, Neuroscience
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Professor, Medicine
University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute

Research Interests

The overall goal of our research is to understand the mechanisms underlying depression, including post-stroke depression, and the therapeutic actions of antidepressants.  We examine genetic and environmental factors that lead to depression including genetic polymorphisms, chronic stress, and epigenetic modifications in human brain tissues and in mouse models of depression.
By unraveling the actions of genetic and environmental risk factors on gene expression, behavior, and antidepressant response in mouse knockout, stress or optogenetic models we will shed light on the mechanisms for mental illness, and how antidepressant treatments can be improved.

Since serotonin and dopamine activity are implicated in anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, we have focused on their key regulators: the serotonin (5-HT)1A and dopamine-D2 receptor genes.  We have identified key DNA elements that control 5-HT1A receptor expression, cloned the novel regulators that target these elements, and identified gene polymorphisms and DNA methylation changes that affect their regulation.

Going forward, we are using our mouse models of genetic or injury defects that lead to human depression to understand what causes resistance to antidepressants, so we can target brain stimulation to the right areas to overcome this resistance.

Brief Biography

Dr. Albert obtained his B.Sc. in Physiology/Biochemistry from McGill University, Montreal (1980) and his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Harvard University, Boston (1985) under Dr. Armen H. Tashjian, Jr. on Stimulus-secretion coupling in rat pituitary cells.  He did post-doctoral studies with Drs. Herbert and Olivier Civelli on molecular cloning of serotonin and dopamine receptor genes.  He became Assistant Professor, then tenured Associate Professor in the Dept. of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill University (1989-95), and then moved to Ottawa as CIHR/Novartis Michael Smith Chair in Neuroscience, University of Ottawa.  He is currently Full Professor of Medicine and Senior Scientist and the Associate Director of Neuroscience at OHRI.

Selected Publications

Five Key Publications

Albert lab members in bold
Publications archived at: ResearchGate

1. Vahid-Ansari F, Zahrai A, Daigle M, Albert PR (2024) Chronic Desipramine Reverses Deficits in Cell Activity, Norepinephrine Innervation, and Anxiety-Depression Phenotypes in Fluoxetine-Resistant cF1ko Mice. J Neurosci 44. PDF

2. Turcotte-Cardin V, Vahid-Ansari F, Luckhart C, Daigle M, Geddes SD, Tanaka KF, Hen R, James J, Merali Z, Beique JC, Albert PR (2019) Loss of adult 5-HT1A autoreceptors results in a paradoxical anxiogenic response to antidepressant treatment. J Neurosci 39, 1334-46. PDF

3. Vahid-Ansari F, Daigle M, Manzini MC, Tanaka KF, Hen R, Geddes SD, Beique JC, James J, Merali Z, Albert PR. (2017) Abrogated Freud-1/CC2D1A repression of 5-HT1A autoreceptors induces fluoxetine-resistant anxiety/depression-like behavior. J Neurosci 37, 11967-11978. PDF

4. Zahrai A, Vahid-Ansari F, Daigle M, Albert PR (2020) Fluoxetine-induced recovery of serotonin and norepinephrine projections in a mouse model of post-stroke depression. Transl Psychiatry 10:334. PDF

5. Vahid-Ansari F and Albert PR (2018) Chronic fluoxetine induces activity changes in recovery from post-stroke anxiety, depression and cognitive impairment. Neurotherapeutics 15, 200-215. PDF.

Diseases, conditions and populations of interest

Research and clinical approaches