Naguib Mechawar, PhD

Researcher and Leader, Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Suicide Theme-based group, Douglas Research Centre

Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University

Director, The Douglas-Bell Canada Brain Bank

Graduate Program Director, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University

Co-Director, Réseau québécois sur le suicide, les troubles de l’humeur et les troubles associés – RQSHA


Expertise: Glia, neuroplasticity, and neuroinflammation in the human brain


Naguib Mechawar, PhD, joined the Douglas Research Centre and the McGill Group for Suicide Studies in 2007. He investigates the molecular neuroanatomy of major depression and suicide, with a particular focus on the lasting consequences of childhood adversity.

Different research themes are explored in his laboratory, namely:

  • Neuroinflammation in depression and suicide;
  • Neuroplasticity in the human brain;
  • Astrocytic abnormalities in depression and suicide;
  • The lasting impact of child abuse on cerebral oligodendrocytes and myelination.

Dr Mechawar’s research is currently (2020) funded by CIHR, ERA-NET Neuron (FRQ-S), NSERC, and HBHL (CFREF).

Key Publications:

  • Tanti A*, Belliveau C*, Nagy C, Maitra M, Denux F, Perlman K, Chen F, Mpai R, Canonne C, Theberge S, McFarquhar A, Davoli MA, Belzung C, Turecki G, Mechawar N. (2021) Child abuse associates with increased recruitment of perineuronal nets in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex: a possible implication of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. Molecular Psychiatry (in press).
  • Perlman K, Chouinard-Watkins R, Tanti A, Cisbani G, Orri M, Turecki G, Bazinet RP, Mechawar N. Fatty acid dysregulation in the anterior cingulate cortex of depressed suicides with a history of child abuse. Transl Psychiatry. 2021 Oct 18;11(1):535. doi: 10.1038/s41398-021-01657-4.
  • Perlman G, Tanti A, Mechawar N. Parvalbumin interneuron alterations in stress-related mood disorders: A systematic review. Neurobiol Stress. 2021 Aug 12;15:100380. doi: 10.1016/j.ynstr.2021.100380.
  • Rahimian R, Wakid M, O’Leary LA, Mechawar N. The emerging tale of microglia in psychiatric disorders. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2021 Sep 15;131:1-29. doi:
  • Tanti A, Lutz P-E, Kim J, O’Leary L, Turecki G, Mechawar N (2019) Evidence of decreased gap junction between astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in the anterior cingulate cortex of depressed suicides. Neuropsychopharmacology 44:2099-2111.
  • Tanti A, Kim JJ, Wakid M, Davoli MA, Turecki G, Mechawar N (2018) Child abuse associates with an imbalance of oligodendrocyte-lineage cells in ventromedial prefrontal white matter. Mol Psychiatry 23:2018-2028.
  • Lutz PE, Tanti A, Gasecka A, Barnett-Burns S, Kim JJ, Zhou Y, Chen GG, Wakid M, Shaw M, Almeida D, Chay MA, Yang J, Larivière V, M’Boutchou MN, van Kempen LC, Yerko V, Prud’homme J, Davoli MA, Vaillancourt K, Théroux JF, Bramoullé A, Zhang TY, Meaney MJ, Ernst C, Côté D, Mechawar N*, Turecki G* (2017) Association of a History of Child Abuse With Impaired Myelination in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex: Convergent Epigenetic, Transcriptional, and Morphological Evidence. Am J Psychiatry 174:1185-1194.
  • Mahar I, Labonte B, Yogendran S, Isingrini E, Perret L, Davoli MA, Rachalski A, Giros B, Turecki G, Mechawar N (2017) Disrupted hippocampal neuregulin-1/ErbB3 signaling and dentate gyrus granule cell alterations in suicide. Transl Psychiatry 7:e1161.
  • Mechawar N, Savitz J (2016) Neuropathology of mood disorders: do we see the stigmata of inflammation? Transl Psychiatry 6:e946.
  • Torres-Platas SG, Nagy C, Wakid M, Turecki G, Mechawar N (2016) Glial fibrillary acidic protein is differentially expressed across cortical and subcortical regions in healthy brains and downregulated in the thalamus and caudate nucleus of depressed suicides. Mol Psychiatry 21:509-515.
  • Torres-Platas SG, Cruceanu C, Chen GG, Turecki G, Mechawar N (2014) Evidence for increased microglial priming and macrophage recruitment in the dorsal anterior cingulate white matter of depressed suicides. Brain Behav Immun 42:50-59.
  • Maheu M, Davoli MA, Turecki G, Mechawar N (2013) Amygdalar expression of proteins associated with neuroplasticity in major depression and suicide. J Psych Res 47:384-390.

Lab members:

  • Maria Antonietta Davoli (research assistant)
  • Reza Rahimian (postdoctoral fellow)
  • Marina Wakid (PhD student)
  • Claudia Belliveau (PhD student)
  • Christa Hercher (PhD student)
  • Kelly Perlman (PhD student)
  • Refilwe Mpai (PhD student)
  • Candice Canonne (PhD student)
  • Sophie Simard (PhD student)
  • Stéphanie Théberge (MSc student)
  • Rebecca Chen (MSc student)


  • Arnaud Tanti (postdoctoral fellow)
  • George Perlman (research technician)
  • Emily Clark (undergraduate research student)
  • Ashley McFarquhar (undergraduate research student)
  • Cynthia McMahan (undergraduate research student)
  • Christopher Ma (undergraduate research student)
  • Kimiya Adjedani (undergraduate research student)
  • Katharine Birkness (undergraduate research student)
  • Fanny Denux (undergraduate research student)
  • Katie Vandeloo (undergraduate research student)
  • John Kim (MSc student)
  • Qiyuan Huang (visiting PhD student)
  • Madelyn Barton (undergraduate research student)
  • Marilyn Cyr (PhD student, co-supervised by M-A Bédard)
  • Julia Devorak (MSc student)
  • Haseeb Khan (undergraduate research student)
  • Alexander Freibauer (undergraduate research student)
  • Sandra Yogendran (undergraduate research student)
  • Archchun Ariyarajah (undergraduate research student)
  • Samuel Comeau (undergraduate research student)
  • Diana Elwell (undergraduate research student)
  • Erika Freemantle (PhD student, co-supervised by G. Turecki)
  • Christa Hercher (MSc student, co-supervised by G. Turecki)
  • Alexandra Hoehne (undergraduate research student)
  • Masanobu Ito (postdoctoral fellow)
  • Donald MacIsaac (undergraduate research student)
  • Calvin Qiang (undergraduate research student)
  • Adeline Rachalski (postdoctoral fellow)
  • Stephanie Tan (undergraduate research student)
  • Ian Mahar (PhD student)
  • Marissa Maheu (PhD student)
  • Susana Gabriela Torres-Platas (PhD student)
  • Dominique Mirault (research technician)
  • Liam O’Leary (PhD student)
  • Anaïs Aghaby-Cloutier (Cegep)
  • Jasmine Kotsiopoulos (BSc)
  • Louise Toutée (BSc)
  • Mathew Apostolatos (BSc)
  • Zhiyuan Wang (BSc)