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.

2705, boulevard Laurier
Québec, Québec
Canada G1V 4G2
43 entries « 5 of 5 »

Lei S, Pelkey KA, Topolnik L, Congar P, Lacaille JC, McBain CJ

Depolarization-induced long-term depression at hippocampal mossy fiber-CA3 pyramidal neuron synapses

Journal Article

J Neurosci, 23 (30), 2003.

Abstract | Links:

Topolnik L, Steriade M, Timofeev I

Hyperexcitability of intact neurons underlies acute development of trauma-related electrographic seizures in cats in vivo

Journal Article

Eur J Neurosci, 18 (3), 2003.

Abstract | Links:

Topolnik L, Steriade M, Timofeev I

Partial cortical deafferentation promotes development of paroxysmal activity

Journal Article

Cereb Cortex, 13 (8), 2003.

Abstract | Links:

43 entries « 5 of 5 »
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Active projects

  • Dendritic inhibition in hippocampal circuits, from 2020-04-01 to 2025-03-31
  • Global signals in dendrites of GABAergic inhibitory interneurons : mechanisms and function, from 2022-10-01 to 2027-09-30
  • Imagerie et interrogation des circuits cérébraux chez les animaux en comportement, from 2023-02-01 to 2024-05-24
  • 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
Data provided by the Université Laval research projects registery