Meet the team

Director

Dr Ayman ElAli is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, and principal investigator at the research center of CHU de Québec-Université Laval in Canada. He currently holds a Tier 2 CIHR Canada Research Chair in molecular and cellular neurovascular interactions. He earned a PhD (Dr rer nat) in cellular and molecular neuroscience from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, jointly with the University of Zurich in Switzerland. He performed a first postdoctoral training in vascular neurology in cerebrovascular diseases and vascular dementia at the Research Center of University Hospital of Essen in Germany, followed by a second postdoctoral training in neuroimmunology in neurodegenerative disorders at the research center of CHU de Québec-Université Laval in Canada. He is the recipient of several awards and prizes including Canada Research Chair in recognition for his research excellence, Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQS) research scholar junior 1 career award, Louise Rousselle-Trottier excellence award from the Heart and Stroke Fondation of Quebec in recognition of his research excellence in the field of vascular health, a postdoctoral fellowship of excellence from the German Research Foundation ‘Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)’, and young investigator career award from ‘Dr Werner Jackstaedt-Stiftung’ in Germany for his research in vascular dementia (VaD).

Research assistant

Mrs Anne-Sophie Allain joined the lab in 2021 as research assistant. She obtained a MSc degree in molecular and cellular biology form the Université du Québec à Trois Rivières (UQTR) in Canada. She has a strong expertise in modelling brain pathologies in animals and possess important background in various techniques. Anne-Sophie is involved in assisting in lab management, including overseeing animal protocols. She is actively providing as well professional and technical assistance to support the research projects of graduate students and is implicated in establishing new protocols and developing new research directions.

Postdoctoral fellows

Dr Daniel Manrique Castano joined the lab in 2020 as a postdoctoral fellow. He studied psychology at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Cali, and worked as a neuropsychologist at Valle in Columbia. He received a doctoral scholarship from the International Graduate School of Neuroscience (IGSN) to perform a PhD in neuroscience at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany. Daniel earned a PhD (Dr rer nat) in neuroscience from Ruhr University Bochum jointly with Duisburg-Essen University in Germany. His research expertise revolves around glial responses and extracellular matrix after brain injuries. Daniel is developing new tools to investigate astroglial scar organization after stroke and is working on projects that aims on investigating the mechanisms underlying fibrotic scar formation after stroke.

Graduate students

Mr Romain Menet joined the lab in 2018 to perform a PhD in neuroscience at Université Laval. He earned a MSc degree in health, human physiology, functional exploration and imaging from the Université d’Amiens in France. He performed an advanced research training at l’INSERM U1190 of Université de Lille in France. Romain is developing projects that aim at elucidating the role of Dickkopf-1 (DKK1), an endogenous inhibitor of the canonical Wnt pathway, in regulating short- and long-term neurovascular functions after stroke and in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Mr Maxime Bernard joined the lab in 2018 to perform a PhD in neuroscience at Université Laval. He earned a MSc degree in developmental biology, cellular differentiation and oncogenesis, neurovascular pathophysiology, ageing and neurodegenerative disorders, neuroimaging and neuropsychopharmacology from the Université de Rouen in France. He performed an advanced research training at the glia-glia and glia-neuron interaction lab of the CNRS FR3636 at the Université Paris Descartes in France. Maxime is developing projects that aim at investigating the mechanisms underlying the pro-angiogenic role of pericytes in stroke.

Mrs Natija Aldib joined the lab in 2020 to perform a PhD in neuroscience at Université Laval (co-supervisor Dr Armen Saghatelyan, CERVO research Center, Quebec, Canada). She earned a MSc degree in behavioural and cognitive neuroscience from the Lebanese University in Lebanon. She performed an advanced research training to investigate dopaminergic pathways at the experimental and clinic neuroscience lab (LNEC) at the Université Poitiers in France. Natija is developing projects that aim at elucidating the potential of novel adult stem cells in neurovascular restoration after stroke..

Mrs Leila Nasrallah joined the lab in 2022 to perform a PhD in neuroscience at Université Laval. She earned a MSc in behavioural and cognitive neuroscience form the Lebanese University in Lebanon. She worked as research assistant at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon working on various projects aiming to elucidate the pathobiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI) with an emphasis on neuroinflammation. Leila is developing projects that aim at deciphering the role of DKK1 in mediating post-stroke depression (PSD) via deregulation of the immune vascular interactions.

Mrs Esther Trudel joined the lab in 2022 to perform a MSc in neuroscience at Université Laval. She obtained a BSc degree in medical biology form the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) in Canada. She worked as clinical research assistant at the department of microbiology and infectious diseases of the research center of CHU de Sherbrooke in Canada. Esther is working on a project that aims at elucidating the role of DKK1 in affecting the pathobiology of microinfarctions associated with cerebral small vessel disease (cSVD) with a particular emphasis on regulation the impact on peripheral immune cell interaction with the neurovascular interface.

Mrs Lola Bertagnolio joined the lab in 2023 to perform a PhD in neuroscience at Université Laval. She obtained a MSc in biotechnology at the Université de Nancy in France. She performed her research project at the institute of molecular medicine, department of neurobiology research at the University of Southern Danemark studying the role of iPSCs-derived astrocytes in PARK-2 mediated Parkinson’s disease. Lola will be developing research projects that focus on investigating the role of canonical Wnt pathway in modulating the fibrotic reaction after stroke by fine-tuning the fibrogenic properties of reactive perivascular cells.

Mrs. Angie M Bustos-Rangel joined the lab in 2023 to perform a PhD in neuroscience at Université Laval. She obtained an MSc in biochemistry at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. She performed her research project at the genetic institute, department of medicine of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Her research emphasized on developing new therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) based on manipulating liver X receptor (LXR) signalling. Angie will be developing projects that aim to elucidate the role of KLF4 in regulating the vascular responses in cerebrovascular diseases.

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Alumni

– Mrs Yara El Moghrabi: Finalizing a MSc thesis in neuroscience.

– Dr Sarah Lecordier: Obtained a PhD in neuroscience and currently working at the Jackson Laboratory, USA.

– Dr Rayan Khaddaj-Mallat: Finished a postdoctoral training in neuroscience and currently working at the University of Calgary, Canada.

– Noëmie Jean LeBlanc: Obtained a MSc degree in neuroscience and currently working at STEMCELL technologies, Canada.

– Trainees : Rose Curodeau, Virginie Gagnon, Sandrine Leblanc-Savignac, Anya Hadji, Anne-Sophie Paquette, Vincent Coulombe, Elise Girard-Tremblay, Samuel Morneau-Gamache.