Dr. Mojgan Rastegar
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics
Senior Scientist, Regenerative Medicine Program
Scientist, Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba
Senate Member, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba

Dr. Mojgan Rastegar received her PhD and DEA (Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies) from the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) Brussels, Belgium; and her MSc and BSc from Tehran University of Medical Sciences, and Tehran University, Tehran, Iran. Her first post-doctoral training was in the area of Epigenetic Control of Multi-Drug Resistance in Breast Cancer and Leukemia which was done in Indiana University Cancer Center, IUPUI, IN, USA. In Canada, Dr. Rastegar further studied the Regulatory role of Epigenetics and Chromatin Remodelling in Stem Cell Differentiation, Mammalian Development, and Brain Disorders in McGill University in Montreal, Quebec with Professor Mark Featherstone; and Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario with Professor James Ellis. Dr. Rastegar is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, and a member of the Regenerative Medicine Program at the University of Manitoba. She serves as an editor of Frontiers in Genetics (Epigenetics) and reviewer of Acta Neuropathologica, Scientific Reports, Journal of Biological Chemistry, PLOS ONE, Autism research, Molecular Pathology, Molecular cancer, and Current Genomics among others. She serves as a provincial, national and international grant reviews and has served on provincial and national review panels. Her lab applies molecular and stem cell biology techniques along with gene therapy strategies to investigate the underlying pathobiology of human disease. 

Since joining the University of Manitoba in 2009, she has published 16 peer-reviewed original research and review articles, 4 book chapters; and over 60 international, national and provincial-local abstracts and oral presentations. Dr. Rastegar has been actively involved in mentoring and instructing trainees and students at all levels, including high school students, basic science undergraduate, graduate and medical students, and her research program has been continuously supported by national (NSERC, CIHR, CFI, SRCFC) and provincial funding.  Research Image

Epigenetics in Brain Development and Disease

Dr. Rastegar's research program is dedicated to study the genetic networks and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms that control brain development and function. A clear focus is on DNA methylation and the DNA methyl binding protein MeCP2. Dr. Rastegar's laboratory applies molecular and stem cell biology techniques along with gene therapy strategies to investigate the underlying pathobiology of neurodevelopmental disorders including Rett Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. The outcome of their studies will help design novel therapeutic strategies in the future for these diseases. 

Liyanage VRB, Zachariah RM, Davie JR, and Rastegar M. Ethanol Deregulates Mecp2/MeCP2 in Differentiating Neural Stem Cells via Interplay Between 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine at the Mecp2 Regulatory Elements. Experimental Neurology 2015; 265 102-117. Doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2015.01.006

Olson CO*, Zachariah RM*, Ezeonwuka CD*, Liyanage VRB, and Rastegar M. Brain Region-Specific Expression of MeCP2 Isoforms Correlates with DNA Methylation within Mecp2 Regulatory Elements. PLOS ONE 2014; 9(3) 1-16: e90645. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090645
*equal contribution

Yasui DH, Aflatooni AO, Gonzales ML, Hu DJ, Gavino BJ, Golub MS, Vincent JB, Schanen NC, Olson CO, Rastegar M, and LaSalle JM. Mice with an Isoform-ablating Mecp2 exon 1 Mutation Recapitulates the Neurologic Deficits of Rett syndrome. Human Molecular Genetics 2014; 23(9):2447-58. Doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddt640.

Liyanage VRB, Zachariah RM, and Rastegar M. Decitabine Alters the Expression of Mecp2 Isoforms via Dynamic DNA Methylation at the Mecp2 Regulatory Elements in Neural Stem Cells. Molecular Autism 2013; 4:46. 1-21. Doi:10.1186/2040-2392-4-46

Rastegar M, Hotta A, Pasceri P, Makarem M, Cheung A, Elliot S, Adachi M, Jones FS, Park KJ, Clarke I, Dirks P, and Ellis J. MECP2 Isoform-Specific Vectors with Regulated Expression for Rett Syndrome Gene Therapy. PLOS ONE 2009; 4(8): 1-15. e6810. Doi: 10.1371

Research Publication: Google Scholar

International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF)
Investigating the Molecular Mechanisms of MeCP2 Isoform-Specific Regulation in Brain Cells ($100,000 USD)
CIHR Team Grant Canadian Epigenetics, Environment, and Health Research Consortium (CEEHRC) (Co-PI, Project Leader) (Team leader: J Davie)
Discovering the Epigenetic Signatures Associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders ($1,377,000)

Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF) ($47,550)

Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM) 
DNA Methylation Analysis of Post-Mortem Brain from a Rett Syndrome Patient
University of Manitoba Research Grant Program (URGP) 
Studying Disease-Associated Role of MeCP2 in Rett Syndrome using Clinically Relevant Biological Samples ($7,500)
Graduate Enhancement of Tri-Council Stipends (GETS) Award

Graduate Enhancement of Tri-Council Stipends (GETS) Award

Dr. Mojgan Rastegar, PhD

Area of Research:  EpigeneticsRegen Med
Genetic Basis of Devel. & Disease /
Stem Cells

ORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-3619-6116

University of Manitoba
624-745 Bannatyne Avenue, BMSB
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 0J9
Tel:   204.272.3108
Fax:  204.789.3900
Lab:  204.272.3145

Affiliated Links:


Regenerative Medicine Program



Carl Olson, Lab Research Technician

Robby Matthew Zachariah, PhD Student

Shayan Amiri, MSc Student

Vichithra R. S. Liyanage, PhD Student