Prof. Marc Ekker
Marc Ekker
Full Professor
Vice-Dean, Research and Infrastructure

STM 323
(613) 562-5800 ext. 2605

Department of Biology


Dr. Ekker's main research interests lie in the genetic mechanisms that control development, with a special emphasis on the development of dopaminergic and GABAergic populations of neurons in the forebrain. The Ekker laboratory use zebrafish and mice as experimental systems. Studies in zebrafish now focus on neurogenesis in the normal adult brain but also following neuronal death as a model for Parkinson’s disease. Targeted mutations in zebrafish are also used to understand rare genetic diseases that affect humans. Finally, the Ekker laboratory is carrying out proof of concepts studies in zebrafish to develop novel transgenic methods for the biological confinement of farmed fish.

Selected publications

  • Fazel Darbandi, S., Poitras, L., Monis, S., Lindtner, S., Yu, M., Hatch, G., Rubenstein, J. L. and Ekker. M. Functional consequences of I56ii Dlx enhancer deletion in the developing mouse forebrain.. Dev.Biol. 420, 32-42 (2016).
  • Noble, S., Godoy, R., Affaticati, P. and Ekker, M.  Transgenic Zebrafish Expressing mCherry in the Mitochondria of Dopaminergic Neurons. Zebrafish, 12: 349-356 (2015).
  • Godoy, R., Noble, S., Yoon, K., Anisman, H. and Ekker, M. Chemogenetic ablation of dopaminergic neurons leads to transient locomotor impairments in zebrafish larvae. J. Neurochem, 135, 249-260 (2015).
  • MacDonald, R.B., Pollack, J.N, Debiais-Thibaud, M., Heude, E., Talbot, J.C. and Ekker, M. The ascl1a and dlx genes have a regulatory role in the development of GABAergic interneurons in the zebrafish diencephalon. Dev. Biol., 381:276-285 (2013).

Research interests

  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Homeobox
  • Development
  • Evolution
  • Mouse
  • Zebrafish
  • Transgenic animals
  • Developmental neurobiology
  • Genome evolution
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Autism