Dr. Topolnik is researcher at the Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec and professor at the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Bio-informatics of Laval University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering. She began her academic career at Laval University in 2007 as an assistant professor, affiliated with the Robert-Giffard Research Center. She was recruited within the framework of the strategic project in biophotonics and the creation of the Center of neurophotonics. By combining her talents in research with her advanced expertise in optophysiological and optogenetic technologies, Dr. Topolnik was one of the first researchers to fill a niche in neurophotonics at Laval University. She played a major role in the development of multidisciplinary research at Laval University, as a professor of the international school Frontiers in Neurophotonics. Dr. Topolnik is a recipient of the University Faculty Award for Women in Science and Engineering from the Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) and a “Professor-Star Award” from Laval University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Dr. Topolnik’s research program focusses on the cellular and synaptic mechanisms involved in the coordination and processing of information by the cortical circuits. Her team explores how sensory information is integrated and modified by the GABAergic inhibitory interneurons, and how these processes are altered in neurological and neurodegenerative disorders, in particular epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Synaptic signaling and plasticity

The team explores the molecular and cellular mechanisms of memory formation, using recordings of electrical and biochemical activity at synapses. The two-photon microscopy, in combination with patch-clamp recordings and optogenetics, are used to study neuron synaptic activity and flow of calcium ions through pre- and post-synaptic channels.

Cellular composition and functioning of cortical circuits

The project focusses on the cortical regions responsible for memory formation, and contextual learning. The goal is to understand the cellular diversity and functional specialization of GABAergic interneurons, making up cortical circuits to understand their role in mnemonic processes.

The circuit dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases

In neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the intrinsic and synaptic properties of certain types of neurons are altered early in the progress of the disease. This leads to circuit activity imbalance and the beginning of first functional deficits. To understand the mechanisms of these changes, the team applies advanced optical techniques to genetic mouse models to monitor the abnormal brain activity with cellular resolution. The pharmacological, pharmacogenetics and immunological interventions are directed towards the restoration of synaptic, cellular and circuit function.

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Camire O, Lacaille JC, Topolnik L

Dendritic Signaling in Inhibitory Interneurons: Local Tuning via Group I Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors.

Journal Article

Front Physiol, 3 , 2012.

Abstract | Links:

Chamberland S, Topolnik L

Inhibitory control of hippocampal inhibitory neurons.

Journal Article

Front Neurosci, 6 , 2012.

Abstract | Links:

Topolnik L

Dendritic calcium mechanisms and long-term potentiation in cortical inhibitory interneurons.

Journal Article

Eur J Neurosci, 35 (4), 2012.

Abstract | Links:

Camire O, Topolnik L

Functional compartmentalisation and regulation of postsynaptic Ca2+ transients in inhibitory interneurons.

Journal Article

Cell Calcium, 52 (5), 2012.

Abstract | Links:

Evstratova A, Chamberland S, Topolnik L

Cell type-specific and activity-dependent dynamics of action potential-evoked Ca2+ signals in dendrites of hippocampal inhibitory interneurons.

Journal Article

J Physiol, 589 (Pt 8), 2011.

Abstract | Links:

Salesse C, Mueller CL, Chamberland S, Topolnik L

Age-dependent remodelling of inhibitory synapses onto hippocampal CA1 oriens-lacunosum moleculare interneurons.

Journal Article

J Physiol, 589 (Pt 20), 2011.

Abstract | Links:

Chamberland S, Salesse C, Topolnik D, Topolnik L

Synapse-specific inhibitory control of hippocampal feedback inhibitory circuit.

Journal Article

Front Cell Neurosci, 4 , 2010.

Abstract | Links:

Topolnik L, Chamberland S, Pelletier JG, Ran I, Lacaille JC

Activity-dependent compartmentalized regulation of dendritic Ca2+ signaling in hippocampal interneurons.

Journal Article

J Neurosci, 29 (14), 2009.

Abstract | Links:

Lebeau G, Maher-Laporte M, Topolnik L, Laurent CE, Sossin W, Desgroseillers L, Lacaille JC

Staufen1 regulation of protein synthesis-dependent long-term potentiation and synaptic function in hippocampal pyramidal cells.

Journal Article

Mol Cell Biol, 28 (9), 2008.

Abstract | Links:

Gobert D, Topolnik L, Azzi M, Huang L, Badeaux F, Desgroseillers L, Sossin WS, Lacaille JC

Forskolin induction of late-LTP and up-regulation of 5' TOP mRNAs translation via mTOR, ERK, and PI3K in hippocampal pyramidal cells.

Journal Article

J Neurochem, 106 (3), 2008.

Abstract | Links:

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Active projects

  • Dendritic inhibition in hippocampal circuits, from 2020-04-01 to 2025-03-31
  • Inhibitory control of hippocampal inhibitory circuits: cell types, neuromodulation and function, from 2019-10-01 to 2024-09-30
  • Investigating the contribution of Shank3 in Alzheimer's disease, from 2018-04-01 to 2023-03-31

Recently finished projects

  • Mechanisms of dendritic integration and plasticity in GABAergic inhibitory interneurons, from 2015-07-01 to 2021-06-30
  • Recherche explorant la relation entre les déficits en inhibition et l'épilepsie afin de comprendre comment garder l'activité du cerveau épileptique en équilibre, from 2020-11-16 to 2021-03-31
  • Targeting microglia-synapse interactions to rescue brain circuits elimination and cognitive dysfunction, from 2016-07-01 to 2020-03-31
Data provided by the Université Laval research projects registery