Freda Miller

Neuroscience Platform


Senior Scientist, The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, 555 University Ave., Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1X8
Research Interests
Neural stem cells; Neurotrophin regulation of neuronal survival, growth and connectivity; Role of p53 family in the nervous system; Molecular regulation of neurogenesis

Research Synopsis

Detailed Description:
During embryonic development the nervous system is confronted with a problem of enormous complexity; to progress from a thin sheet of neuroepithelial cells to a network of neuronal circuitry that is able to process sensory information and generate an appropriate motor output. One of the ways that the mammalian nervous system achieves this end point is by overproducing both neurons and neuronal connections, and then eliminating those cells and/or connections that are not appropriate. However, this is not something that is limited to the developing nervous system. Many of the same cellular mechanisms remain "in place" in adult animals, thereby allowing structural and/or functional remodeling in response to physiological stimuli, and providing repair mechanisms for the injured and traumatized mature nervous system.

These complex developmental processes are determined by an intimate interplay between intrinsic cellular programs and environmental cues. Within this broad context, my laboratory is interested in understanding how growth factors and neural activity regulate the genesis, survival and growth of developing neurons and regulate the establishment of appropriate neuronal connectivity


Cell and tissue culture: Compartmented neuronal cultures, neurons, stem cultures.

Procedures:Adenovirus, gene expression analysis, immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry, microarrays, qRT-PCR, RT-PCR, signal transduction characterization, siRNA, western blot.


Analytical balances, benchtop centrifuge, blotting apparatus, confocal microscope, culture hood, culture hood, culture incubators, cryostat, deconvolution fluorescence microscope, digital microscope, dissecting microscope, fluorescence microscope, fresh tissue sectioning systems, gel apparatus, low- and high-speed centrifuge, low and ultralow freezers, microwave oven, mini vortexer, real-time/thermocycler, stirrer/hot plate, vibratome, water baths.


Zander, Mark
Fatt, Michael
Amadei, Gianluca
Gallagher, Denis
Tomita, Hideaki
Krause, Matt
Johnston, Adam
Feinberg, Konstantin
Yuzwa, Scott
Voronova, Anastassia
Yang, Guang
Cancino, Ignacio


Within the Department of Physiology:
Paul Frankland
Sheena Josselyn
Martin Wojtowicz

Committee member of national/international scientific organizations
2014-Present, Editorial Advisory Board, Progress in Brain Research
2014-Present, Audit Committee member, International Society for Stem Cell Research
2013-Present, President-Elect (Vice-President), Canadian Association for Neuroscience
2013-Present, Program Committee, IBRO Meeting 2015
2012-Present, Organizing Committee, 2013 ISDN Meeting
2012-Present, Reviewing Editor, eLife
2007-Present, Editorial Board Member, Cell Stem Cell
2011-Present, Editorial Advisor, Trends in Neuroscience
2011-Present, Scientific Advisor, Three To Be Foundation for Children’s Brain Disorders
2011-2015, Vice-Chair (2013) and Chair (2015), Gordon Conference on Neurotrophic Factors

Recent Publications


Primary: Molecular Genetics