Welcome to The Brain & Breathing Science Laboratory

Our research aims to understand how opioids stop breathing and to find solutions for the serious opioid epidemic.

What We Do

The Brain & Breathing Science Laboratory explores the neural and physiological mechanisms regulating breathing, pain, and arousal. Using a combination of neuroscience, physiological, and genetics tools, we investigate the neural circuits, receptors, and second messengers mediating physiological and behavioural functions.

Our core philosophy is simple! Do whatever is needed to improve health, decrease morbidity and mortality associated with respiratory disorders and drug overdose.

Research Platforms

Our Research Team

We have a constantly evolving team at our lab. Get to know who they are.



Prescription use fell at a record rate, but is it enough? http://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/08/prescription-opioid-use-fell-at-a-record-rate-in-2018-new-report.html

Volunteer of the month…

April 27, 2019

View this post on Instagram Being a part of research that can directly and meaningfully impact people's lives keeps Shenhab excited about her volunteer work in Dr. Gaspard Montandon’s lab at the Keenan Centre for Biomedical Science. She helps the lab use basic science research to find a solution to the #opioidcrisis. This week, we’ll […]

Congrats Shenhab for winning the second place for second place at the UTSC Undergraduate Research Poster Forum

Dysfunctional breathing is the main cause of morbidity and mortality after traumatic injury of the cervical spinal cord1,2 and often necessitates assisted ventilation, thus stressing the need to develop strategies to restore breathing. Cervical interneurons that form synapses on phrenic motor neurons, which control the main inspiratory muscle, can modulate phrenic motor output and diaphragmatic function3,4,5. Here, using a combination of pharmacogenetics and respiratory physiology assays in different models of spinal cord injury, we show that mid-cervical excitatory interneurons are essential for the maintenance of breathing in mice with non-traumatic cervical spinal cord injury, and are also crucial for promoting respiratory recovery after traumatic spinal cord injury.