Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal
Accueil Plan du site Courrier Portail Québec Passer directement au contenu

Claire-Dominique Walker, PhD

Director, Neuroscience Research Division, Douglas Institute
Researcher, Douglas Institute
Full Professor, Department of Psychiatry, and Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, McGill University

Areas of expertise
Stress responses, development, lactation, obesity and metabolism, neurogenesis, maternal behaviour, neuroendocrinology

Claire-Dominique Walker, PhD, and her team study the neuronal, physiological and behavioural consequences of early perturbations in the environment of the developing young. These perturbations can be mediated by maternal factors or by external stimuli. The team's most recent contribution to this field concerns the early “programming” actions of maternal high fat diet on the neonatal and adult offspring. By modifying the dopamine reward circuitry, they can lead to the developement of obesity and other pathologies such as substance abuse.

Another interest in the laboratory is to understand how early exposure to environmental stress (e.g. pain, hypoxia) can modify the morphology, function and plasticity in neuronal systems responsible for coping responses to external stressors. Claire-Dominique Walker and her team are currently investigating the role of stress-induced release of endocannabinoids on amygdalar plasticity and neuroendocrine stress responses in the adult rat. She also looks at the role of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex in determining stressor salience in nursing mothers. Unraveling long lasting alterations in these neuronal systems controlling stress responses will contribute to our understanding of long term vulnerability and resilience to stress-related mental illness.

Contact information
Douglas Institute
Perry Pavilion
Room E-2133
6875, boulevard LaSalle
Montreal (Quebec)
H4H 1R3
Phone :
514 761-6131
ext.: 4934

Fax :
514 762-3034
Research division :
  • - Neurosciences
Awards and distinctions :
  • - CCNP Young Investigator Award
[ view more awards ]
Neurophenotyping Center inauguration (in French)