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Stuart Cain

Research Associate

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Snutch Lab



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The primary goal of my research is to identify the mechanisms that underlie neuronal hyperexcitability disorders. Calcium channels are critical in the control of neuronal excitability and are therefore intrinsically involved in such processes. My current research focuses on the involvement of T-type calcium channels in the etiology of epilepsy, more specifically how they contribute to the pathophysiological intrinsic-cellular and network oscillations in the thalamocortical system. Altered T-type calcium channel function has been identified in both human epilepsy patients and animal models of epilepsy. These ion channels are of particular interest due to their ability to generate the intrinsic oscillatory activity and “burst” pattern neuronal firing, predicted to underlie some types of epileptic seizure. My objective is to establish how the altered function of T-type calcium channels alter the firing properties of neurons within key epileptogenic networks and how this affects network activity as a whole, by using experimental approaches from the molecular, cellular, network and whole brain level.

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BC Epilepsy and MSFHR Partner to Maximize Health Research Dollars (April 08, 2013) – Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. Press Article. Video: MSFHR Partnerships


Stuart M Cain & Terrance P Snutch (2012). T-type calcium channels in burst-firing, network synchrony, and epilepsy. Biochimica Biophysica Acta (EPub Ahead of Print: PMID 22885138)

Stuart M Cain & Terrance P Snutch (2012). Voltage-gated calcium channels in epilepsy. Jasper’s Basic Mechanisms of the Epilepsies (4th Edition). Noebels JL, Avoli M, Rogawski MA, Olsen RW, Delgado-Escueta AV, eds. Published by Oxford University Press. 66-84.

Elizabeth Tringham, Kim Powell, Stuart M Cain, Kristy Kuplast, Janette Mezeyova,Manjula Weerapura, Cyrus Eduljee, Xinpo Jiang, Paula Smith, Jerrie-Lynn Morrison, Nigel C Jones, Emma Braine, Gil Rind, Molly Fee-Maki, David Parker, Hassan Pajouhesh, Manjeet Parmar, Terry O’Brien & Terrance P Snutch (2012). T-type calcium channel blockers that attenuate thalamic burst firing and suppress absence seizures. Science Translational Medicine 4(121): 121ra19.

Stuart M Cain & Terrance P Snutch (2011). Voltage-gated calcium channels and disease. Biofactors 37(3): 197-205.

Laurence S David, Esperanza Garcia, Stuart M Cain , Elana M Thau, John R Tyson, & Terrance P Snutch (2010). Splice-variant changes of the Ca(V)3.2 T-type calcium channel mediate voltage-dependent facilitation and associate with cardiac hypertrophy and development. Channels 30(4): 375-389.

Stuart M Cain & Terrance P Snutch (2010). Voltage-gated calcium channels in epilepsy. Epilepsia 51(5): 11-11.

Stuart M Cain & Terrance P Snutch (2010). Contributions of T-type calcium channel isoforms to neuronal firing. Channels 4(6): 44-51.

Kim L Powell*, Stuart M Cain*, Shreerang Siredsai, Caroline Ng, Laurence S David, Mervyn Kyi, Esperanza Garcia, John Tyson, Christopher A Reid, Melanie Bahlo, Simon J Foote, Terrance P Snutch & Terence J O’Brien (2009). A mutation in the rat Cav3.2 T-type calcium channel gene that has splice variant specific effects on channel function and absence seizures. Journal of Neuroscience 29(2): 371-380. *Co-First Authorship

Stuart M Cain, Torsten Ruest, Sally Pimlott, David Wyper, Jim Patterson, Deborah Dewar & Graeme J Sills (2009). High resolution micro-SPECT scanning in rats using 125I β-CIT: Effects of chronic treatment with carbamazepine. Epilepsia 50(8): 1962-1970.

Stuart M Cain & Trevor J Bushell (2008). mGlu4 potentiation of K2P2.1 is dependent on C-terminal dephosphorylation. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 37(1): 32-39.