Following a Master in physiology, cellular and molecular biology at the University of Poitiers in France, Dr. ElAli earned a Doctorate (Dr. rer nat) in cellular and molecular neuroscience from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, jointly with the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Afterwards, he completed a first postdoctoral training in vascular neurology in cerebrovascular diseases at the Research center of the University Hospital Center of Essen in Germany. He then completed a second postdoctoral training in neuroimmunology in cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative diseases at the Research Center of CHU de Québec – Laval University. Dr. ElAli has joined the Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Laval University in July 2015. He is the recipient of a career award from the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQS), and has previously received several career awards and prizes of excellence, mainly from the German Research Foundation ‘Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)’, and the ‘Dr Werner Jackstaedt-Stiftung’ Foundation in Germany.

Cerebrovascular diseases mainly include strokes, which constitute a major cause of death and disability in Canadian adults. The great majority of cases are ischemic, caused by the occlusion of a cerebral artery by a blood clot. Beyond thrombolysis that aims at restoring the cerebral blood circulation by dissolving the clot, no effective disease-modifying treatment exists. Recent studies, including those performed by Dr. ElAli, have outlined the presence of a structural and functional remodelling process of the network of cells that constitutes the neurovascular unit following a stroke. This network includes endothelial cells, pericytes, astrocytes, microglia, and neurons that work together to enable the proper functioning of the brain. Emerging evidence suggests that the remodelling process decisively influences the regeneration of the injured tissue, thus providing new perspectives for the development of innovative interventions in stroke therapies.

Dr. ElAli’s research program aims to explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the remodelling of the neurovascular unit following a stroke. He is particularly interested in endothelial cells and pericytes as these two cell types constitute the core of the neurovascular unit. The endothelial cells form the blood-brain barrier that plays an essential role in maintaining the brain homeostasis. The pericytes play a crucial role in stabilization of the vascular system, and act as pluripotent cells capable to be differentiated into vascular, glial and neuronal cells. Dr. ElAli’s laboratory strategy consists of targeting specialized molecular mechanisms in the endothelial cells in order to restore the blood-brain barrier, and the function of pericytes in order to stabilize the vascular system and promote the regenerative potential of these cells. The ultimate goal of this strategy is to re-establish the integrity of the neurovascular unit as a way of regenerating the injured tissue.

2705, boulevard Laurier
Québec, Québec
Canada G1V 4G2
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Jean LeBlanc N, Guruswamy R, ElAli A

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Isoform-B Stimulates Neurovascular Repair After Ischemic Stroke by Promoting the Function of Pericytes via Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1.

Journal Article

Mol Neurobiol, 55 (5), pp. 3611-3626, 2018, ISSN: 0893-7648.

Abstract | Links:

Menet R, Bernard M, ElAli A

Hyperlipidemia in Stroke Pathobiology and Therapy: Insights and Perspectives.

Journal Article

Front Physiol, 9 , pp. 488, 2018, ISSN: 1664-042X.

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Jackson S, ElAli A, Virgintino D, Gilbert MR

Blood-brain barrier pericyte importance in malignant gliomas: what we can learn from stroke and Alzheimer's disease.

Journal Article

Neuro Oncol, 19 (9), pp. 1173-1182, 2017, ISSN: 1522-8517.

Abstract | Links:

Guruswamy R, ElAli A

Complex Roles of Microglial Cells in Ischemic Stroke Pathobiology: New Insights and Future Directions.

Journal Article

Int J Mol Sci, 18 (3), 2017.

Abstract | Links:

Theriault P, ElAli A, Rivest S

High fat diet exacerbates Alzheimer's disease-related pathology in APPswe/PS1 mice.

Journal Article

Oncotarget, 7 (42), pp. 67808-67827, 2016, ISSN: 1949-2553.

Abstract | Links:

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Active projects

  • Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec - CHU de Québec-Université Laval, Subvention, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec - Université Laval, Centres de recherche affiliés, from 2017-01-01 to 2099-12-31
  • Centre thématique de recherche en neurosciences, Subvention, Institutionnel - BDR, BDR - Centres de recherche reconnus, from 1999-06-01 to 2020-10-18
  • Laboratory of inter-cellular dynamics within the neurovascular unit in cerebrovascular diseases, Partenariat, Fondation Canadienne pour l'innovation (La), Fonds des leaders John-R.-Evans (FLJR), from 2018-01-01 to 2019-03-31
  • Role of canonical Wnt pathway in regulating the structural and functional integrity of the blood-brain barrier in the normal adult brain, Subvention, Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et génie Canada, Subventions à la découverte SD (individuelles et d'équipe), from 2017-04-01 to 2022-03-31
  • Signalisation de l’unité neurovasculaire suite aux maladies cérébrovasculaires: Implications pathobiologiques et thérapeutiques, Subvention, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé, Chercheur-boursier Juniors 1 et 2, Seniors, from 2017-07-01 to 2021-06-30
  • Signalisation de l’unité neurovasculaire suite aux maladies cérébrovasculaires: Implications pathobiologiques et thérapeutiques, Subvention, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé, Établissement de jeunes chercheurs - Juniors 1, from 2017-07-01 to 2020-06-30
  • The role of apolipoprotein E4-canonical Wnt pathway crosstalk at the blood-brain barrier in Alzheimer’s disease, Subvention, Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation of Canada, Subvention de recherche, from 2017-10-30 to 2020-10-29

Recently finished projects

  • Activation of canonical Wnt pathway as a new therapy for ischemic stroke, Subvention, Fondation de l'Université Laval, from 2016-09-15 to 2018-09-14
  • Chercheurs bousiers-Complément de salaire, Subvention, Université Laval - budget de fonctionnement, Compléments de salaire des professeurs sous octroi, from 2016-05-01 to 2017-04-30
  • Soutien aux nouveaux chercheurs de la Faculté de médecine, Subvention, Université Laval - démarrage nouveau chercheur, Soutien facultaire aux jeunes chercheurs de la Faculté de médecine, from 2016-07-01 to 2018-04-30
Data provided by the Université Laval research projects registery