Professor Melanie Woodin standing on a treed path next to a brick wall

Melanie A. Woodin

Professor & Dean


St. George (downtown)

CSB Appointment


Research Areas

Animal Biology, Cell Biology, Neurobiology


Ph.D. University of Calgary 2001
M.Sc. University of Toronto 1997
B.Sc. University of Toronto 1995

Titles and Honors

President, Canadian Association for Neuroscience

Primary Undergraduate Department

Cell & Systems Biology

Graduate Programs

Cell & Systems Biology

Academic or Administrative Appointments

Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science

Research Description

The Woodin Lab is focused on discovering the cellular mechanisms underlying inhibitory GABAergic synaptic plasticity in the healthy and diseased brain. We employ a multi-disciplinary approach combining electrophysiology, biochemistry, fluorescence imaging, and behaviour to understand how synapses are built, the mechanisms that underlie their plasticity, and their role in neuronal circuits. Using principles we learn from the study of the healthy brain we unravel mechanisms that lead to neurological disorders and diseases, including autism spectrum disorder, Huntington’s disease and ALS

Contact Information

Office Phone: 416-978-8646
Office: RW303B
Lab: RW302/RW303/RW323/RW318
Lab Phone: 416-978-1406

Mailing Address

Department of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto
25 Harbord St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3G5

Visit lab’s website

Recent News

Congratulations to CSB’s Graduate Student Award Recipients!

Congratulations to our Graduate Students who earned recognition for their accomplishments at our Graduate Student Awards on December 19th, 2022!…

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Discoveries and Discussions at CSB Research Day

CSB held our Research Day for the first time in 2 years on September 22nd, 2022. Over 180 students, staff and faculty gathered at the Old Mill to…

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Striatal Chloride Dysregulation and Impaired GABAergic Signaling Due to Cation-Chloride Cotransporter Dysfunction in Huntington’s Disease

Serranilla M, Woodin MA
2022, Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 10.3389/fncel.2021.817013

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Cortical interneuron-mediated inhibition delays the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Woodin MA, Kim JC, Robertson J, Zinman L, Keith J, De Koninck Y, Côté D, Gasecka A, Keramidis I, Garand D, Yang JW, Bedard S, Pressey JC, Liang X, Dargaei Z, Place KM, Aqrabawi AJ, Khademullah CS
2020, Brain, 10.1093/brain/awaa034

KCC2 is a hub protein that balances excitation and inhibition

Pressey JC, Mahadevan V, Woodin MA
2020, Neuronal Chloride Transporters in Health and Disease, 10.1016/B978-0-12-815318-5.00008-X

Autism-Misregulated eIF4G Microexons Control Synaptic Translation and Higher Order Cognitive Functions

Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis T, Niibori R, Salter EW, Weatheritt RJ, Tsang B, Farhangmehr S, Liang X, Braunschweig U, Roth J, Zhang S, Henderson T, Sharma E, Quesnel-Vallières M, Permanyer J, Maier S, Georgiou J, Irimia M, Sonenberg N, Forman-Kay JD, Gingras A, Collingridge GL, Woodin MA, Cordes SP, Blencowe BJ
2020, Molecular Cell, 10.1016/j.molcel.2020.01.006

Depolarizing GABA Transmission Restrains Activity-Dependent Glutamatergic Synapse Formation in the Developing Hippocampal Circuit

Salmon CK, Pribiag H, Gizowski C, Farmer WT, Cameron S, Jones EV, Mahadevan V, Bourque CW, Stellwagen D, Woodin MA, Murai KK
2020, Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 10.3389/fncel.2020.00036

A Novel Small Molecule Targets NKCC1 To Restore Synaptic Inhibition

Raveendran VA, Pressey JC, Woodin MA
2020, Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 10.1016/

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Ionotropic and metabotropic kainate receptor signalling regulates Cl− homeostasis and GABAergic inhibition

Garand D, Mahadevan V, Woodin MA
2019, The Journal of Physiology, 10.1113/JP276901

Alterations in Hippocampal Inhibitory Synaptic Transmission in the R6/2 Mouse Model of Huntington’s Disease

Dargaei Z, Liang X, Serranilla M, Santos J, Woodin MA
2019, Neuroscience, 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2019.02.007

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A kainate receptor subunit promotes the recycling of the neuron-specific K+-Cl−co-transporter KCC2 in hippocampal neurons

Pressey JC, Mahadevan V, Khademullah CS, Dargaei Z, Chevrier J, Ye W, Huang M, Chauhan AK, Meas SJ, Uvarov P, Airaksinen MS, Woodin MA
2017, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 10.1074/jbc.M116.767236

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Top-down modulation of olfactory-guided behaviours by the anterior olfactory nucleus pars medialis and ventral hippocampus

Aqrabawi AJ, Browne CJ, Dargaei Z, Garand D, Khademullah CS, Woodin MA, Kim JC
2016, Nature Communications, 10.1038/ncomms13721

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Single cell-derived clonal analysis of human glioblastoma links functional and genomic heterogeneity

Meyer M, Reimand J, Lan X, Head R, Zhu X, Kushida M, Bayani J, Pressey JC, Lionel AC, Clarke ID, Cusimano M, Squire JA, Scherer SW, Bernstein M, Woodin MA, Bader GD, Dirks PB
2015, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112, 851-6, 25561528

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Parvalbumin and GAD65 interneuron inhibition in the ventral hippocampus induces distinct behavioral deficits relevant to schizophrenia

Nguyen R, Morrissey MD, Mahadevan V, Cajanding JD, Woodin MA, Yeomans JS, Takehara-Nishiuchi K, Kim JC
2014, The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 34, 14948-60, 25378161

Neurons Are Recruited to a Memory Trace Based on Relative Neuronal Excitability Immediately before Training

Yiu AP, Mercaldo V, Yan C, Richards B, Rashid AJ, Hsiang HL, Pressey J, Mahadevan V, Tran MM, Kushner SA, Woodin MA, Frankland PW, Josselyn SA
2014, Neuron, 83, 722-35, 25102562

Kainate receptors coexist in a functional complex with KCC2 and regulate chloride homeostasis in hippocampal neurons

Mahadevan V, Pressey JC, Acton BA, Uvarov P, Huang MY, Chevrier J, Puchalski A, Li CM, Ivakine EA, Airaksinen MS, Delpire E, McInnes RR, Woodin MA
2014, Cell reports, 7, 1762-70, 24910435

Patterns across multiple memories are identified over time

Richards BA, Xia F, Santoro A, Husse J, Woodin MA, Josselyn SA, Frankland PW
2014, Nature neuroscience, 17, 981-6, 24880213

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Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor activation prevents disinhibition-mediated LTP in the hippocampus

Takkala P, Woodin MA
2013, Frontiers in cellular neuroscience, 7, 16, 23450426

Neto2 is a KCC2 interacting protein required for neuronal Cl- regulation in hippocampal neurons

Ivakine EA, Acton BA, Mahadevan V, Ormond J, Tang M, Pressey JC, Huang MY, Ng D, Delpire E, Salter MW, Woodin MA, McInnes RR
2013, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110, 3561-6, 23401525

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Increasing CRTC1 function in the dentate gyrus during memory formation or reactivation increases memory strength without compromising memory quality

Sekeres MJ, Mercaldo V, Richards B, Sargin D, Mahadevan V, Woodin MA, Frankland PW, Josselyn SA
2012, The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 32, 17857-68, 23223304

Refuting the challenges of the developmental shift of polarity of GABA actions: GABA more exciting than ever!

Ben-Ari Y, Woodin MA, Sernagor E, Cancedda L, Vinay L, Rivera C, Legendre P, Luhmann HJ, Bordey A, Wenner P, Fukuda A, van den Pol AN, Gaiarsa JL, Cherubini E
2012, Frontiers in cellular neuroscience, 6, 35, 22973192

Hyperpolarizing GABAergic transmission requires the KCC2 C-terminal ISO domain

Acton BA, Mahadevan V, Mercado A, Uvarov P, Ding Y, Pressey J, Airaksinen MS, Mount DB, Woodin MA
2012, The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 32, 8746-51, 22723714

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Disinhibition-Mediated LTP in the Hippocampus is Synapse Specific

Ormond J, Woodin MA
2011, Frontiers in cellular neuroscience, 5, 17, 21954377

Endogenous GABA(A) and GABA(B) receptor-mediated electrical suppression is critical to neuronal anoxia tolerance

Pamenter ME, Hogg DW, Ormond J, Shin DS, Woodin MA, Buck LT
2011, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108, 11274-9, 21690381

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GABAergic synaptic transmission regulates calcium influx during spike-timing dependent plasticity

Balena T, Acton BA, Woodin MA
2010, Frontiers in synaptic neuroscience, 2, 16, 21423502

Spike-timing dependent plasticity in inhibitory circuits

Lamsa KP, Kullmann DM, Woodin MA
2010, Frontiers in synaptic neuroscience, 2, 8, 21423494

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Disinhibition mediates a form of hippocampal long-term potentiation in area CA1

Ormond J, Woodin MA
2009, PloS one, 4, e7224, 19787049

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Coincident pre- and postsynaptic activity downregulates NKCC1 to hyperpolarize E(Cl) during development

Balena T, Woodin MA
2008, The European journal of neuroscience, 27, 2402-12, 18430034

Extracellular potassium regulates the chloride reversal potential in cultured hippocampal neurons

Balena T, Acton BA, Koval D, Woodin MA
2008, Brain research, 1205, 12-20, 18353290

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Role of activity-dependent regulation of neuronal chloride homeostasis in development

Fiumelli H, Woodin MA
2007, Current opinion in neurobiology, 17, 81-6, 17234400

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Recent advances in basic neurosciences and brain disease: from synapses to behavior

Bi GQ, Bolshakov V, Bu G, Cahill CM, Chen ZF, Collingridge GL, Cooper RL, Coorssen JR, El-Husseini A, Galhardo V, Gan WB, Gu J, Inoue K, Isaac J, Iwata K, Jia Z, Kaang BK, Kawamata M, Kida S, Klann E, Kohno T, Li M, Li XJ, MacDonald JF, Nader K, Nguyen PV, Oh U, Ren K, Roder JC, Salter MW, Song W, Sugita S, Tang SJ, Tao Y, Wang YT, Woo N, Woodin MA, Yan Z, Yoshimura M, Xu M, Xu ZC, Zhang X, Zhen M, Zhuo M
2006, Molecular pain, 2, 38, 17196111

Excitatory actions of GABA mediate severe-hypoxia-induced depression of neuronal activity in the pond snail (Lymnaea stagnalis)

Cheung U, Moghaddasi M, Hall HL, Smith JJ, Buck LT, Woodin MA
2006, The Journal of experimental biology, 209, 4429-35, 17079713

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Coincident pre- and postsynaptic activity modifies GABAergic synapses by postsynaptic changes in Cl- transporter activity

Woodin MA, Ganguly K, Poo MM
2003, Neuron, 39, 807-20, 12948447

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Trophic factor-induced excitatory synaptogenesis involves postsynaptic modulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors

Woodin MA, Munno DW, Syed NI
2002, The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 22, 505-14, 11784796

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