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The McGirr Lab is part of a vibrant neuroscience and clinical research community at the University of Calgary. We are located at the Foothills Medical Centre and part of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education.

Calgary is one of the most livable cities in North America with excellent dining, culture, and easy access to some of the most outstanding natural beauty in the world!

My lab conducts research on mood disorders, common and debilitating illnesses affecting individuals, families and communities. Major Depression and Bipolar Disorder are a leading cause of disability worldwide, and often are associated with other physical and psychiatric conditions. Psychotherapies, medications, and alternative therapies all have an important role in treatment, recovery, and in fostering resilience, however they do not work for everyone. The McGirr Lab is working on novel treatments and strategies to improve the lives of individuals with Depressive and Bipolar Disorders.


To do this, our research group conducts several kinds of studies to better understand the neurobiology of mood disorders and improve treatment outcomes. We use brain imaging and optogenetic studies to understand cellular and network level changes to develop novel treatment strategies. We research clinically useful biomarkers in order to guide treatment decisions, and we also conduct clinical trials using non-invasive neurostimulation.


Our clinical research themes are:

1. The search for clinically useful biomarkers to guide treatment decisions in mood disorders.

2. To use non-invasive targeted stimulation of the brain to better understand mood disorders.

3. To use non-invasive neurostimulation to treat mood disorders.

We study cellular and network level changes after stress using a range of techniques: 

1. Genetically encoded fluorescent indicators of neuronal activity.

2. Optogenetic stimulation.

3. Behavioral and pharmacological studies.


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The McGirr Lab is looking for ambitious and accomplished individuals who work well in a team environment. We have opportunities for talented individuals at all stages of research training to work on our clinical and preclinical lines of inquiry.

Are you an highly-motivated junior trainee that has excelled academically and in research?

The McGirr Lab is recruiting clinical and pre-clinical scientists who are motivated to advance cutting edge research in mood disorders.

We would like to acknowledge the following sources of support for the McGirr Lab.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
The Hotchkiss Brain Institute
University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine
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