Affiliate Professor , Biology
Affiliate Professor , Chemistry and Biochemistry
Affiliate Professor, Department of Health, Kinesiology & Applied Physiology
Shimon Amir received his PhD in Psychology from McGill University. After completing his postdoctoral training at the Center for Research on Drug Dependence, Concordia University, he joined the Department of Isotope Research and Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 1986. In 1988 he joined the Department of Psychology and the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology at Concordia University and was promoted to the rank of Professor in 1991. He has served as Director of the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology from 2009-2019. He was elected to the Board of Governors of Concordia in 2007 and has served as Vice-Chairman of the Board from 2011-2016. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Academy of Science; Fellow of the American Association for the advancement of Science; Fellow of the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology; Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science; Member of the Provost Circle of Distinction; Honorary Concordia University Research Chair; and Distinguished University Research Professor.
Circadian clock genes encode transcriptional regulators that are central in the generation and regulation of circadian rhythms. Loss of function of core clock genes such as Bmal1 and Per2 is associated with loss of circadian rhythmicity and disturbances in a number cognitive, affective, and drug related behaviours. Members of my laboratory employ different animal models to study the regulation and function of clock genes in regions of the forebrain important in stress, motivation, and emotion. Using molecular, genetic, anatomical, and pharmacological methods in both male and female rodents, we study how the expression of core clock genes within functionally-defined forebrain structures is regulated by inputs from different regions of the brain; how these genes respond to behavioural, pharmacological, hormonal, and metabolic perturbations that disrupt homeostasis (e.g., changes in the external light cycle, stress, neurotransmitter manipulations, treatment with drugs of abuse, glucocorticoids, restricted feeding); and how disruption of clock gene expression within specific brain regions and cell types influence motivated and affective behaviours. Current research focuses on the role of the genes Bmal1 and Per2 within the striatum, habenula, and prefrontal cortex in depression and anxiety-related behaviours, motor functioning, and alcohol drinking behaviour.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Fonds Nature et Technologies Quebec (FRQNT), Concordia University
Schoettner K., Alonso M., Button M., Goldfarb C., Herrera J., Quteishat N., Meyer C., Bergdahl A. and Amir S. (2022) Characterization of Affective Behaviors and Motor Functions in Mice with a Striatal-Specific Deletion of Bmal1and Per2. Front. Physiol. 13:922080. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2022.922080
Ferraro, S, de Zavalia, N, Belforte, N, and Amir, S. (2021) In utero exposure to administration of valproic-acid alters circadian organization and clock-gene expression: Implications for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2021.711549
de Zavalia, N., Schoettner, K., Goldsmith, J.A., Solis, P., Ferrraro, S., Parent, G. and Amir, S. (2021). Bmal1 in the striatum influences alcohol intake in a sexually dimorphic manner. Commun Biol 4, 1227. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02715-9
Pathak.S, Liu,D., Li,T., Zheng, L., de Zavalia, N., Li, J., Ramanujam, K., Storch, K.-F.,Kaufman, R.J., Jin, V.X., Amir, S., Sonenberg, N., Cao, R. (2019) The eIF2α kinase GCN2 modulates period and rhythmicity of the circadian clock by translational control of Atf4, Neuron 104, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2019.08.007.
Ferraro, S, de Zavalia, N, Belforte, N, and Amir, S. (2021) In utero exposure to administration of valproic-acid alters circadian organization and clock-gene expression: Implications for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2021.711549de
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