The Team

Dr. Diane Lagace

Principal Investigator

Diane is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. She obtained her PhD in Pharmacology at Dalhousie University and completed postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where she became a leader in the field of adult neurogenesis. Her CIHR/NSERC funded lab is defining the molecular mechanisms that underlie neural stem cell proliferation, differentiation, and proper integration into existing neural and synaptic circuits in naïve and the stroke-injured brain.    

She is an active member of the OHRI Neuroscience Program; the founder and past Director the University of Ottawa Animal Behavioral Core Facility.  Since coming to Ottawa she has been especially focused on making discoveries for improving stroke recovery and has multiple projects ongoing, while also being the Ottawa basic science site leader for the Canadian Partnership in Stroke Recovery and pillar lead for the Stroke Research Council for the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Institute.   When not in the lab, you can find Diane spending time with the other love of her life - her family!  


Yingben Xue

Lab Manager

After working as a research associate at McGill University in Montreal, Yingben moved with his family to Ottawa where he took up a position as the lab manager of the Lagace lab. Yingben is a key player involved in all the projects in the lab and provides vital and well-appreciated support to all members in the lab. When not in the lab, you can find Yingben out with his family exploring new hiking trails and camping in the great outdoors.


Patricia Barra de la Tremblaye

Postdoctoral Fellow

After completing a postdoctoral fellowship in Pittsburgh, Patricia decided to return to uOttawa to further her research career by joining the Lagace lab as a postdoctoral fellow. Currently, Patricia is working to identify what cells are recruited in the motor cortex when performing behavioural tasks following a stroke. When not in the lab, you can find Patricia enjoying time with family and volunteering with extracurriculars.


Alena Kalanina

PhD Candidate

Upon completing her MSc at Trent University in Peterborough, Alena decided to continue pursuing her love for research by joining the Lagace lab. She is presently a PhD candidate in the lab and sees this as the next step in her career in biomedical research. Currently, Alena’s project in the lab is working to identify the roles of autophagy in adult neurogenesis. When not in the lab, you can find Alena keeping actively engaged in human rights and environmental issues.


Damian Chwastek

MSc Candidate

Damian’s interest in neuroscience research was realized during his time in uOttawa’s TMM program and he is currently working to pursue this interest with his graduate studies in the lab of Dr. Lagace. Damian is currently working on elucidating intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms underlying the neurogenic response following stroke. When not in the lab passionately reorganizing his lab bench, you can find Damian at home channeling his inner Martha Stewart and baking cheesecakes for the lab.


Mikael Ladouceur

Honours Student

Upon entering university, Mikael received a URS from uOttawa to come work in the Lagace lab. This initial fellowship, followed by being awarded two NSERC awards led to Mikael returning to work in the lab for another three years, with him now completing his honours project in the Lagace lab. His current project looks at the role of optogenetic activation of subventricular zone derived astrocytes to promote sensorimotor recovery. When not in the lab, you can find Mikael searching for new spots to feed his love for rock climbing.


Aisha Hufnagel

Honours Student

Aisha recently began working in the Lagace lab as a summer student and is now completing her honours project in the lab of Dr. Lagace. After a co-op term in the lab of Dr. Dale Corbett, Aisha decided to continue pursuing her interest in stroke research by joining the lab. Currently Aisha is looking at the role of  neural progenitor survival and vascular changes post-stroke and their role in recovery. When not in the lab scruffing mice, you can find Aisha out around Ottawa competing in ultimate frisbee games.

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Veronique Lafrance

UROP Student

Once she graduated from high school, Veronique joined the Lagace lab to work as a USRA scholar and is presently completing a UROP in the lab. She is currently in her second year of undergraduate studies at the University of Ottawa in the Biomedical Science program. Veronique is currently working on looking at changes in home cage behaviour following stroke. When not in the lab, you can find Veronique spending time with friends and travelling.