Martin Wojtowicz

Neuroscience Platform


Department of Physiology, Medical Sciences Building, Room 3214, 1 King's College Circle , Toronto, Ontario Canada M5S 1A8
Research Interests
Mechanisms and Functions of adult neurogenesis in the mammalian brain.

Professor Emeritus as of January 1, 2016.   Accepting undergraduate students, but not graduate.


Research Synopsis

Keywords: Synapse, Hippocampus, Neuronal Plasticity, Adult Neurogenesis, Learning and Memory, Mechanisms of Cognitive Aging, Alzheimer’s disease, Stroke.

Detailed Description: Mechanism of long-term neuronal plasticity in rat brain. Research is directed towards understanding of long-term changes in brain circuit organization and synaptic connections during learning. Experiments are done primarily in vivo or in brain slices with the use of immunohistochemical, electrophysiological, ultrastructural, pharmacological techniques. These are supplemented by targeted behavioural tests. Questions under investigation are: a) What are the molecular and physiological factors controlling the rate of neuronal production and growth in the adult brain? b) What is the role of new-born neurons in the dentate gyrus ? c) What are the differences between young and old neurons co-existing within the adult brain structure? d) Is cognitive decline with aging caused by decrease in hippocampal neurogenesis? e) Can decline in adult neurogenesis explain some of the cognitive changes seen in Alzheimer’s disease, stroke or cancer patients treated with chemotherapy?


Cell and tissue culture: Brain slice, hippocampal slice cultures.

Procedures: Behavioural tests, electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry, in vitro electrophysiology, radiotherapy, RIA, stereotaxic brain surgery, voltage clamp.


Confocal microscope, culture hood, dissecting microscope, electrophysiology rig, fixed tissue sectioning system (vibratome), fluorescence microscope, fresh tissue sectioning systems, micropipette puller, pressure osmometer, vibratome.


Dr. Ch. Merkley, postdoc
C. Castro-Restrepo, M.Sc. candidate
F. Nasri – M.Sc. candidate
N. Lakshman, M. Ahmed - 498 Project students
K. Budnicki, D. Chatterjee– ROP 299 project students
Ms. Yao Fang Tan – lab manager, researcher


Within the Department of Physiology:
Dr. Beverly Orser
Dr. P. Brubaker

Outside the Department of Physiology:
Dr. Sue Becker - Psychology/McMaster/Canada
Dr. Gordon Winocur - Psychology/Baycrest/Canada
Dr. David Cechetto - Anatomy & Cell Biology/UWO/Canada

Committee member/Officer of national or international scientific organization:
Member - Society for Neuroscience, Canadian Association of Neuroscience, Canadian Physiological Society, Southern Ontario Neuroscience Association

Recent Publications


Wojtowicz, J.M. Adult Neurogenesis. From circuits to models. Behavioural Brain Res., 2012, 227, 490-496.

Wojtowicz, J.M. Adult Neurogenesis in the Hippocampus: Lessons from Natural Populations. In: Neurogenesis in the Adult Brain I. Eds: Seki,T., Sawamoto,K., Parent, J.M., Alvarez-Buylla,A., 2011, chapt. 10, Springer.

Barker, J. M., Boonstra, R., Wojtowicz, J.M. (2011). "From pattern to purpose: how comparative studies contribute to understanding the function of adult neurogenesis." Eur.J.Neurosci 34  963-977.

Wojtowicz, J.M. Neurogenesis-based regeneration and cognitive therapy. Is it feasible? In: Cognitive Neurorehabilitation, Evidence and Application, Second Edition. Eds: Stuss, D.T., Winocur, G., Robertson, I.H., 2008, chapt. 20, 348-359.

Abrous, N., Wojtowicz, J.M. Neurogenesis and the hippocampal memory system. In: Adult Neurogenesis. Eds: Gage, F.H., Kempermann,G., Song, H., 2008, chapt. 21, 445-465.


Department of Physiology